Recently I watched a wonderful TED Talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” (available on Netflix, TED, and YouTube). I found this talk not only helpful information to share with our clients but invaluable for us as teachers.
Her research shows a strong connection between your posturing, and not only how you’re perceived by others, but how you feel about yourself. Her talk discusses evidence that the body can help shape the mind. She demonstrates how simple perceived role changes can produce dramatic results in the brain and in our lives.
What do I mean by role changes? Well, assuming a high-powered posture can make you feel more assertive, powerful, and comfortable. These high-powered postures in the primate world equate to a role change, from a follower to a leader position. Dr. Cuddy’s research shows posture can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in your body, controlling stress and fear. More surprising is that posturing even has an impact on our chances for success.
Dr. Cuddy suggests adopting a high-power pose for two minutes prior to a stressful experience such as a job interview, a date, or a presentation. Basically, “fake it until you make it.”
I find it so exciting that there’s more research everyday proving why teaching Pilates, GYROTONIC®, CORE™, and TotalBarre™ is so important for health and wellbeing. We work on helping people stand tall and take up space, which is associated with high-power posturing. We help train the body to not hunch, slouch, or fold-up, so that it appears small and vulnerable.
I certainly have had the experience of leaving a workout session feeling more confident and capable! What this research show is that this feeling can be carried throughout the day and helps in all aspects of life.
And finally, teaching can be nerve racking with a new group or new material. Teachers can utilize this high-powered posturing to project themselves as assertive, confident, and ready to share knowledge with students. Remembering this when preparing to sit for a certification exams could make all the difference in testing.
So reach your arms up, stretch out, and take up space, because you will be posturing for success!