Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on empowered body language links the physical and mental, explaining how the movement of our limbs can alter the neurological makeup of our mind. Empowered posture naturally creates empowered mental patterns, even cuing the release of certain pivotal hormones like testosterone or cortisol, which affect everything from mood to heart rate.
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
In yoga practice, we create shapes with our body…but it’s more than that. How do poses, like body language, shape who you are? They can affect your mood, reactions, and eventually mental habits. A deep backbend for example constricts the lungs, shortening the breath and activating a natural fight-or-flight response in the brain, increasing stress hormones and adrenaline production. It will energize (and possibly empower) you; it is also an opportunity to practice breathing through anxiety, building memories and neural pathways that last beyond the physical practice.