Once upon a time one of my yoga teachers would end class with a 12 minute hold of this Kundalini yoga 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.”
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?
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