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Can Power Poses Really Change Your Life?

Can Power Poses Really Change Your Life?

It’s funny how in the quest for knowledge, things have a way of coming full circle. It is why I  advocate to always be seeking out a greater understanding in your fields of interest and also seeking out new knowledge too.

It is interesting to see dietitians and fitness coaches rejecting the latest advances in diet and nutrition, because it’s not what they were taught. Well sorry guys, our understanding is advancing every single day.

Years ago I read a book (people used to do that once, before tabbed browsing) by Tony Robbins. Tony is a guy who has been very successful as a motivational speaker, author and success coach. In this book there was the idea that you could change you body language and change your life. One exercise that you can try to illustrate this is when you are feeling ordinary, just smile for no reason. You will find that it is almost impossible to not feel at least a little uplifted.

Tony Robbins is also big on NLP. When I read the book, I took it as gospel that what he was saying was correct and verifiable. Turns out that these days, it has been pretty much debunked as pseudoscience. I obviously needed to check the veracity of my sources a bit better.

That’s a bit disappointing, but no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater here. We’re following a path that comes full circle here. It turns out that the idea that you change your body language you change your life is in fact valid.

There is a TED talk by a social psychologist named Amy Cuddy (I have added it at the bottom) who has talked about power poses.  These are poses  that for whatever reason improve your confidence. I have added a power pose photo to illustrate.


Power Pose

The thing is about social psychologists (unlike promoters of NLP) is that they actually do this crazy thing called “research”. Can you believe that? Not just positing an opinion, but actually making sure that what they claim is correct.

When it comes to the power poses, what they did was a couple of things. Firstly they measured testosterone and cortisol levels of test subjects before and after the test subjects adopted the power poses for two minutes. What they found was that their testosterone levels rose and their cortisol (a stress hormone) levels fell.

The second thing that they did is get the test subjects (and a control group of course) to have a job interview. The test subjects did the power poses prior to to the job interview while the control group didn’t. I’m sure you can guess what happened here. The people who did the power poses were perceived to be better candidates than those who didn’t.

Amy says that in general the use of power poses can improve your confidence and change your life.

Now this little piece of knowledge closed off the circle for me about a particular yoga pose. This is a Kundalini yoga pose. It’s  a type of yoga that is supposed to raise your energy levels. Apparently the belief is that there is a coiled serpent at the base of your spine that Kundalini yoga allows you to unleash.. yada, yada, yada.

Thing is the root chakra of yoga approximately aligns with the sex organs. The ancient yogis had no idea about testosterone but the knew something happened in the body around certain centres. The chakras roughly align with major glands of the body.

So if we follow this argument along a bit, we can guess that if modern science has found that particular power poses can raise testosterone and lower cortisol, then ancient yogis would have discovered this too, even if they didn’t know what testosterone was.

And with that in mind I rediscovered the Kundalini  eagle pose. I had discarded  it as useless. There is a lot to do with yoga and I am all about stripping out the  non essential. Well it turns out that what I thought was non essential is far from it. It’s actually a power pose.

The description of the benefits of the Eagle pose include “Strengths your Aura and Magnetic Field”, “Gives you charisma, charm, magnetism and presence,” Gives you the ability to influence others”. Naturally I had dismissed this as mystical mumbo  jumbo, but clearly the yogis knew it did something, even if they didn’t actually know what it was.

I’d better show you the eagle pose:

eagle pose


So thanks to a Ted talk I have managed to tie the idea of changing your body language to change your life with the true purpose behind a mysterious pose. I have only just begun to do the eagle pose again, s0 time will tell. But at least I know why I’m doing it now.




About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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