Hi, I’m Bettina. What I'm working on : Forget to slouch. Relaxing is freedom. Choose life.

Articles tagged “yoga pose”

Is Kundalini Yoga Supported by Science?

Once upon a time one of my yoga teachers would end class with a 12 minute hold of this Kundalini yoga pose:

Kundalini Yoga Power Pose

It looks easy until you’re five minutes into it.

And then your arms are shaking and you can’t believe your arms have turned into two monster trucks or giant elephants.

I had no idea why he loved that pose so much, but he also had a penchant for 3-minute planks and other practically obscenely hard yoga practices.

But now I have a clue–this posture is a “power pose.”

Power Posing

In the video below social psychologist Amy Cuddy talks about “power posing” — how posing your body powerfully influences not only how others perceive you but also how you see yourself.

In short, Prof. Cuddy’s research suggests that physical poses can change the amount of testosterone and cortisol in your body. Simplistically translated, more testosterone means more confidence and more cortisol means more stress. “Power poses” increase testosterone and decrease cortisol and, thus, increase confidence and decrease stress.

Practically speaking, your body language changes your mood.

Her research shows that if you just assume a power pose for just two minutes, you can change your feelings about yourself.

If you wrap your arms around yourself, this protective gesture makes you seem weak.

If you expand your body in space by standing with your hands on hips, shoulders back to open the chest, chin up, and feet spread, like Wonder Woman, you can increase your confidence.

Another power pose?

Runner Crossing the Finish Line Power Pose

Prof. Cuddy showed a slide of a runner crossing the finish line–arms up in the air.

See how similar that is to the kundalini yoga pose above? Case closed.

These are power poses, made to make you feel confident and less stressed. Not a bad way to end a yoga class.

We yogis have always known that your body affects your mind, and now science proves that your body language can shape who you are.

Image credits from top to bottom: Pink Lotus, Ted.com, and Go Wow Team

My Gratitude for Yoga Teachers

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana - One-Legged King Pigeon Pose I

 

Even though I practice yoga mostly at home and strongly support my students to do so, we all need a yoga teacher.

We all tend to get used to a certain habit of doing things that may or may not serve our bodies.

Maybe this way of doing things once served us, but it no longer does, like an old sweater we’ve loved to death and is now coming apart at the seams, too small, and no longer represents our true style.

It takes an outside perspective to challenge us on our habits. For your yoga practice, this is your teacher–someone who watches you with no judgment and only wants you to try another, and perhaps better, way.

Watch the video below to learn what habit I’ve had for the last TWELVE years of my yoga practice that I recently learned to see with new eyes, thanks to a discerning yoga teacher.

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ACTION STEPS TO FIND YOUR OWN YOGA BLIND SPOTS :

1. Bring your attention to all parts of your body after you practice. Notice where you may still feel tight or somehow stuck.

2. In your next yoga class, ask your yoga teacher to give you feedback about this part of your practice.

For example, if your wrists hurt, are your hands not aligned every time you come into downward-facing dog?

Your teachers’ outside perspective can help you unlearn habits that don’t serve you (anymore).

Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation!

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

Photo by David Martinez via Yoga Journal