A 5-minute Office Yoga® sequence for strength and confidence.
Research has proven the positive effects of using power poses to enhance inner strength and confidence. A power pose is a body posture or position that creates a more assertive, powerful stance. These poses are often characterized by strong, extended, and open body movements. Examples include opening the chest (Pose #1, Cactus Arms), widening the wingspan (Pose #3, Warrior 2), and spreading out the stance (Pose #7, Star Pose). The aim of a power pose is to change your posture to create an increased sense of energy and power throughout the entire body. Power posing is an excellent tool to use when you want to feel confident and assertive – for example when preparing for an interview or entering an important meeting, sales call, or first date.
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at the Harvard Business School, is one of the most renowned researchers on the subject matter of power posing. She summarizes her research findings in her TED Talk, “Your body language may shape who you are.”
Cuddy’s work provides evidence for the range of benefits produced from implementing power poses to build ego strength. Her research concludes that power posing can change levels of important hormones in the brain, chemically inducing changes in our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. More specifically, power posing can increase testosterone levels, leading to increased feelings of confidence, and can decrease cortisol levels, leading to decreased anxiety and increased ability to handle stressful situations. Thus by simply changing the posture of our bodies through power posing, we can actively influence how confident, strong, and relaxed we feel. In just a few minutes, power posing can empower us to enter intimidating situations feeling more assertive, confident, and relaxed.
Cuddy’s research shows that people are greatly influenced by non-verbal cues “Our non-verbals govern how other people think and feel about us,” Cuddy says. The body language we present provides cues to other people about how we feel about ourselves and how comfortable or confident we are in a given situation. What’s more, studies have shown that in communicating, these nonverbal cues can be even more important than the actual words spoken – human nature causes people to constantly make subconscious judgments and decisions about others all the time based simply on body language.
Non-verbal cues also influence how we feel about ourselves. In his book, “How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” Robert A. Emmons mentions that forcing a smile can improve mood. Just as our minds, thoughts, and feelings can change our bodies; so can our bodies, hormones, and chemical interactions change our minds. This reciprocal interaction between our bodies and minds gives us the ability to actively change the way we think and feel through the way we carry ourselves. Body language can easily be adjusted throughout the day to increase confidence, strength, and capacity to handle stress in any situation.
“Sure, your personality and your emotional state will impact your confidence levels, but it’s obvious that assuming better body language, taking up space, and expanding your physical presence can play an important role as well.”
The work place, by nature, is a great environment to utilize power posing. In order to excel in our jobs, we need to feel confident, relaxed, and assertive. Whether walking into an important meeting, asking for a raise, or giving a presentation, confidence and stress management are crucial to success. A Power Pose sequence can thus prepare you to walk into any room with confidence, poise, and control.
THE OFFICE YOGA SEQUENCE
This 5 minute Office Yoga® Power Pose sequence is specifically designed to leave you feeling confident, strong, relaxed, and grounded.
Poses 1 and 2 warm up the shoulders and open the chest. The chest is often associated with vulnerability; when we feel intimidated our posture becomes closed off; the shoulders round forward and the chest closes off to “protect” ourselves. Cactus arms and hands clasped behind the back draw the shoulders down and back to reverse intimidated posture, opening the chest and heart center for confident and effective communication.
Poses 3, 4 and 5 fully open the upper body, reclaiming your power while also engaging the strength of the legs for stability and grounding.
Pose 6, Half Moon Pose (ardha chandrasana) challenges the body and mind through balance on one leg. Balance poses require focus (drishti), steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha). This helps focus the mind and body on the task at hand.
Poses 7, 8 and 9 reset and repeat the open expression and balance elements while starting to turn the attention inward.
Pose 10, Goddess Pose (utkata konasana), brings you back to grounding and strength, requiring the quadriceps and abductors to engage, with both feet firmly planted on the floor.
The final pose, Mountain Pose, finishes with feet together and hands joined at the heart center. This offers you a final moment to turn inward, absorb the benefits of the work you have done, and move forward with confidence, poise, and clarity.
You can do this Office Yoga® Power Pose sequence at any time to boost your confidence and ability to handle stressful situations. It is especially helpful if you are feeling nervous or intimidated. So set aside 5 minutes and delve into this beautiful series. It will leave you feeling empowered, grounded and ready to enter any situation.
Research written by Kelly Ann Basin- Marital and Family Therapist- CIIS
Sequence written and created by Maryam Sharifzadeh- Founder and CEO of Office Yoga®; MA in Sports Management- University of San Francisco
Edited by Suraiya Luecke – Bachelor of Neurobiology; Bachelor of Public Health; Minor in Global Poverty & Practice – UC Berkeley
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