Did you know that researchers at Harvard have shown that a power pose can shift your mood in only 2 minutes?
College students were asked to either sit or stand in open or closed positions. Their saliva was collected before and after each pose, and they were asked to hold for 2 minutes. Amazingly, they found that in only 2 minutes of time, significant changes occurred in their body chemistry.
For example, one closed pose was sitting in a chair with both legs crossed and arms crossed as though shielding their body. After 2 minutes, stress hormones, such as cortisol, shot up and positive hormones, such as testosterone, diminished.
Conversely, an open pose, or power pose, such as standing with legs wide apart and arms open, created the opposite effect. Stress hormones were reduced and energy-producing and immune-strengthening hormones, such as testosterone (ladies we need a certain amount of testosterone in our bodies for peak performance too, so this is not just for the guys), were elevated.
So if you are feeling low or feeling down, strike a yoga power pose and hold it for 2 minutes to shift your mood.
Yoga breathing, exercising, and visualization are all helpful tools for mood management. Combining the power pose (and knowing that the position, itself, is helping you) a yoga posture, and breathing with a powerful visualization can give you one of the fastest mood turnarounds that you can imagine.
If you’d like a little guidance on the power of visualization, check out this video by the brilliant Vishen Lakhiani:
You choose: be a Warrior of Peace, a Super Woman, a powerful goddess, or your favorite superhero. This step is important as it will enhance the effects of your power posing.
Once in the pose, don’t wimp out! Stand tall and courageous, head up, chest lifted, feeling powerful in your legs, and play the part. Letting your mind wander and ruminate is not part of this game. However, you may be surprised that you will still be able to shift your mood, even if you don’t get all of the steps down.
Here is how to get into the power yoga pose, Warrior II:
- Stand tall, like your favorite superhero or goddess.
- Stand with your feet about 4 – 5 feet apart.
- Turn your left foot out to about a 90-degree angle.
- Turn your right foot at about a 45-degree angle.
- Bend your left knee – keep the center of your knee pointing in the direction of your toes. If your knee goes beyond your ankle, you are lucky! That means you are flexible enough to take a wider stance! Or if you don’t want to wider stance go ahead and bend your knee less so that it is directly over your ankle.
- Lift your arms out to the side in a T-position.
- Keep your body facing forward, and turn your head toward the left.
Now, dive into the experience.
Embody your superhero or goddess as you plant your feet firmly into the ground.
- Lift up through the top of your head.
- Imagine the wind blowing through your hair as you imagine yourself standing on the top of a mountain surveying the world in all of your power and glory.
- Breathe deeply and evenly.
- Believe in you. Believe in yourself. You are powerful beyond measure.
- Hold for 30 – 60 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
Over time, work up to holding each side for 2 minutes. Wow. That’s a powerful way to shift your mood.