Are you interested in body language? I am. I’m fascinated that body language isn’t just about the basic folding your arms when defensive or touching your hair when flirting, it’s so much more. The non-verbal communication of how you move your body can make or break your first date, a job interview and whether or not people like you. It has a massive effect on the quality of your life.
But it’s not just about how other perceive you, it has an equal impact on how you perceive yourself. How you move your body effects how you feel about yourself. When you slouch, fold your arms and physically get small it makes you feel week, vulnerable and like a victim. Counter to that, when you expand, open up, and stretch, it makes you feel dynamic, powerful and in charge of your destiny.
This isn’t just a theory.
It has been proven that just 2 minutes in a powerful stance will have a radical effect on your levels of testosterone and cortisol, increasing your sense of power and decreasing your reactivity to stress (see Amy Cuddys’ powerful TED talk for more details of the research).
With that in mind, here are a collection of yoga poses that take up space, allow you to expand, and make you feel Powerful!
1. Start by standing with your feet apart, hands on hips - let’s call the Wonder Woman Pose.
Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths.
Every inhale stand taller, every exhale push your feet deeper into the floor.
2. Stretch your arms up above your head in a V shape, turn your gaze up and smile. Breathe.
This is the natural pose of any moment of victory, and it can’t help but make you feel victorious.
I’m going to call it Victory pose. This is particularly good for practicing before a job interview or first date, but try not to be seen!
Take 5 deep breaths; allow the feeling of victory to flow through your body.
3. Take hold of your right wrist with your left hand. Bring your feet together.
Press your hips over to the right and arms over to the left, keeping both feet firmly grounded on the floor.
You are making the shape of a crescent moon. This should feel marvelous in the rib cage. Try not to lean forwards or back, staying central as if you were sliding between 2 panes of glass.
Take 5 deep breaths and lift your pelvic floor.
Repeat to the other side, starting by holding your left wrist with your right hand.
4. Step your feet wide apart, turning your heels inwards, toes outwards.
Let your knees bend and follow the line of your toes, so that they’re not moving forwards but out towards the sides.
Come down as low as you can without sticking your bottom out behind you, or collapsing into a forward bend.
Pulse around here, slightly lifting up as you inhale, dropping lower as you exhale.
Take your arms up above your head, dropping your shoulder blades away from your ears.
Bend your elbows out to the side, spreading your fingers out wide and keeping your hands strong - this is called Cactus arms.
Keep your gaze strong and straight in front of you.
Take 5 deep breaths and lift your pelvic floor.
5. Keeping your feet wide apart, change your foot positioning so that your left foot is directed straight forward, and your right foot is pointing 90 degrees to the right.
Take both arms out to the side, palms facing downwards and shoulders away from the ears, fingers strong.
Whilst maintaining an upright torso, bend your right knee so that it lies directly above your ankle. Check that it is not over shooting you ankle by looking to see your big toe is still in eye sight.
Bring your tummy gently in, lift your pelvic floor, and gaze out past the tips of your right hand fingers.
Take 5 deep breaths.
6. Keeping your feet wide apart, with your foot position being left foot straight forward, right foot out at 90 degrees, we’re going into Triangle pose.
Start with your torso central and tall, tummy strong. Arms come out to both sides, palms facing downwards. Gaze at your right big toe.
Slide your left hip over towards the left, and then keeping both arms straight (as if they were running a broom handle along them) tip your right hand down to the inside of the right leg, palm facing outwards. Your left hand will automatically be held high towards the sky.
Slowly turn your gaze towards the left finger tips, and allow the left shoulder blade to drop back, opening up the front of your chest and throat. You may even life to allow your left hand to fall back behind you, so you feel your chest opening up towards the sky.
Take 5 breaths and lift your pelvic floor.
Repeat the whole thing to the other side.
7. If you’re feeling here in Triangle, you can always add a crazy little Half Moon Pose to brighten up your day.
Take your weight into your right foot, bending your right knee. Drop your right hand to the floor just ahead of your big toe, and fix your gaze on your right big toe. As you shift your weight forwards, press the right hand into the ground and lift the left foot up high behind you - perpendicular to the floor. The left hand will naturally elevate with it.
When you feel ready, slowly turn your gaze up to the left finger tips, allowing your chest to open and letting your left finger tips pull you up higher towards the sky.
I hope you are feeling extraordinarily powerful right now!
Take 5 full, deep breaths, then drop back down and repeat to the other side.
You might want to finish buy getting your legs into the air one way or another. You can either lie on the floor with your legs up the wall, a great way to reverse the blood flow in your lower body. or you can go into a shoulder stand.
If you are comfortable with your practice and want to take a full wheel pose, then do. Otherwise, lie down on your back, spread your arms and legs wide, palms facing upwards, toes dropping outwards, and shoulders away from ears.
This is your best friend in the world, Savasana. Relax.
Close your eyes, let your body get heavy and feel the breath moving your tummy up and down. Feel the breath moving in and out through the nose.
Watch as thoughts swoop in to you mind and distractions play out their merry show for you, then bring your attention back to your breath and how it feels.
Stay in that space for as long as you can.