At my yoga class on Monday evening, my instructor talked about getting big and feeling big. About spreading out your arms, jumping up and yelling and how this makes you feel amazing. We talked about sitting up straight and how your posture affects how you feel. But, we talked about in a very yogi-way. In the sense of feeling love and letting love out. But, getting big and feeling big is more than a yogi-ism.
Now that we’ve raced through House of Cards, the boyfriend and I are forced to sift through Netflix for something new to watch and luckily he stumbled upon Ted Talks Life Hacks. The first one we watched was “Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” Amy began by talking about body language. How we all already know that body language affects how we interpret one another and how others interpret you. For example, they say when you have your arms crossed you don’t seem as welcoming to strangers. But then she went on to discuss low power versus high power poses. How making yourself bigger (arms on hips or just simply spread out) gives off a feeling of power and that crossing your legs and hunching over is a low-power pose.
And I agree. I definitely see the difference in these poses. Amy went on to say that not only do these postures affect how others interpret you, but it can change how you interpret yourself. By taking a low-power pose, you’re going feel low power. By taking a high-power pose you’re going to feel more confident.
Which brings me to Lean In.
As I’ve stated before, Lean In isn’t a bra-burning, man-hating book or philosophy. It simply states facts about the culture that we (both men and women) have created and how women can be more successful in business within in that culture. One example that Sheryl Sandberg makes is in reference to these high power versus low power poses.
She points out that generally speaking, men usually assume more high-power poses naturally. They spread their legs and keep their arms out, it just comes naturally (something to do with testosterone, I don’t know just watch the Ted Talk at the bottom of this pose 😉 ). Women on the other hand, we typically keep our legs crossed and our arms close to our bodies – taking up as little room as possible. Because that’s what is lady-like. But, as a result women feel less powerful compared to men because of the pose they take. Kind of interesting, right?
The problem is, I don’t exactly see myself spreading out my legs the next time I’m in a meeting. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and well, it’s just not going to happen. Amy Cuddy, in her Ted Talk offers an alternative. She says, for example, before you walk into an interview it’s important to get big. Whether it’s outside, in your car or in the bathroom, take 2-5 minutes to get big. Spread your arms out and legs out in a star-like posture. Feel confident. Cuddy goes so far as to say fake confidence, because eventually by faking it and acting it, you’ll actually feel it. Don’t reserve this for certain instances, I think taking time to get big should be an important part of your routine.
In my yoga class, we get big. whether it’s a warrior 1 or a transition, we are always spreading our arms out. And this resulting feeling of confidence, happiness and power is part of the reason why we do it. So, not only am I suggesting you join my yoga class and read Lean In, take a peek at Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk. It’s pretty fascinating and she dives more into this “fake it till you feel it.”