A ‘Power Pose’ is a way of positioning your body in a specific posture to help you feel more powerful and confident. This idea gained notoriety in 2012 with Amy Cuddy’s explosive TED Talk, ‘Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are.’ She begins by asking the audience to pay attention to their bodies. Try this now yourself. Do a quick scan of your body, head to toe. Are your shoulders relaxed? Or hunched up? Are you sprawled out, taking up space? Are you shrinking your body to avoid contact with the person next to you? All of these configurations have an unconscious impact on how you feel.
When we feel powerful, we expand our bodies to make ourselves bigger. In the reverse, when we feel powerless, we contract our bodies to make ourselves smaller. This is universal across all cultures. Primates do the same. As a woman, this comes with a health warning! Men tend to take up more space and adopt higher power poses. Whereas women take up less space, because to quote Cuddy, “women feel chronically less powerful than men.”
Women readers – there’s hope. Consciously adopting a powerful physical pose can convince your mind that you are as, or more powerful, than your male counterparts. Your testosterone levels will go up, and your cortisol/your stress response will go down. As Cuddy says, “It’s not fake it till you make it, it’s fake it till you become it.”
As an avid power poser, I’ve used the ‘Wonder Woman’, the ‘Statue of Liberty’, the ‘Pharaoh’, all to good effect. Then, through my Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher training, I discovered the ultimate in power poses. Two of which I share below as 3-minute superforce meditations. Get ready to feel fierce sister!
Often, when we face a challenge, our ego gets hijacked by fear. It starts to run riot with thoughts like: What will they think of me? What if I fail? I really can’t do this. This is too much for me. I’ll be judged for x, y or z… Your ego is obsessed with the external world and how you are perceived.
A powerful response is to eradicate your ego, to quiet its shouting in your head. This will reduce concerns about how you look to others and refocus your energy on harnessing your inner-resilience, your sense of calm, so you face your challenge with quiet confidence and trust in you, despite your natural nerves.
Ego Eradicator uses a staple Kundalini breath called Breath of Fire. Its benefits include:
Breath of Fire is rapid, rhythmic and continuous. You inhale through your nose, you exhale through your nose. Mouth closed. Your inhale and exhale should be equal. Try it:
A quick trick is to start by panting with your tongue out like a dog, then close your mouth and maintain this rhythm through your nose.
You can follow this guided clip of Gabby Bernstein facilitating Ego Eradicator in L.A.
Or this entertaining example from Russell Brand – as he says, “And who needs it [their ego eradicated] more than me?”
This is one of my favourite Kundalini meditations. It gives me an immediate boost – a literal injection of feminine power. I’ve used it in advance of workshops, public talks, board presentations, media interviews, you name it. I also find it an excellent tool when I need to address an issue with a person and I want to stand in my own confidence. Even on a shitty day, it can help you feel part-goddess.
Choose a track from Rhythms of Gatka drum by Mata Mandir Singh. I like Enter the Lion or Dances of the Sword for this.
“This meditation can help you to realise the power you have as a woman. If you can make your body physically standardised and have the mental power to cover the standard of it, you can move anything. What is it that moves? Mind over body. It’s a simple development. It’s something you should not forget.”Yogi Bhajan
The beauty of both of these power poses is they can be done anywhere – in your home, office, toilet cubicle, wherever. You’ll feel the impact immediately. And more power to you when you do!
Do you use power poses? What are your favourites? Share below or feel free to tag me on insta!
I’m Jen Murphy, award-winning blogger and wellness advocate for working mothers. I created Working Mother Wellness as a platform for mums to share our wellness experiences. Sign-up to build your own Working Mother Wellness toolkit. You will receive updates on Kundalini yoga and meditation practices, wellness tips, and info on upcoming workshops and programmes.