In 2012 Amy Cuddy gave a TED talk that became a sensation… and is now the second most viewed TED talk that has ever been recorded. It’s become such a sensation because the information she shares might actually change your life.
Amy Cuddy is a researcher out of Harvard who studies posture and it’s impact on your blood chemistry, mood, and how you are perceived by others. In her TED talk she discusses her amazing research on nonverbal behavior, body language, posture and how people can literally “fake it until they make it”- i.e. acting strong and powerful until their brain believes it to be true. She has demonstrated a significant change in hormone levels: increased testosterone (our confidence/dominance hormone) and decreased cortisol (our stress hormone) after just 2 minutes of what she calls, POWER POSING. This means that after doing a power pose, people have more confidence, and feel more assertive and powerful and are perceived as being better candidates for jobs during double blind experiments looking at hiring practices. Sounds great right? So how can you make it happen for yourself?
First of all… What is a POWER POSE? It’s tall, upright posture, shoulders thrown back and hands overhead or on your hips with an open chest – think Wonder Woman, Superman or company CEO standing at the head of a conference table. Amy Cuddy’s research suggests that posing like a superhero for just 2 min can actually trick your brain into thinking and acting like you are a superhero. Furthermore, over time it stops becoming something that you trick your brain into- it becomes something you believe.
Now- let’s talk about some of the main principles of Pilates and the characteristics they share with superhero postures: Elongated spine, open chest, focus on upright… How many of you have heard one of your instructors say- “sit tall”, “shoulders down and back” or “grow a little taller”? Joseph Pilates knew a thing or two about strong, balanced bodies and those principles are the backbone of his practice.
Now, over 70 years later, A woman named Amy Cuddy is showing that applying the Pilates method and principles in our day-to-day life can actually improve our mood, change our blood chemistry, optimize the way others see us, and more importantly, how we feel about ourselves. I encourage you all to take these principles with you when you leave our studio and carry them with you throughout your day… because it can change your life in ways you may have never anticipated when you walked through the doors of Pilates in the Grove.
So I leave you with her closing comment from what I consider a life changing TED talk and encourage you to bring just two minutes of POWER POSES to your day- because the world deserves to see the best version of who you are!
“Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes. So, this is two minutes. Two minutes, two minutes, two minutes. Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this, in the elevator, in a bathroom stall, at your desk behind closed doors. That’s what you want to do. Configure your brain to cope the best in that situation. Get your testosterone up. Get your cortisol down. Don’t leave that situation feeling like, oh, I didn’t show them who I am. Leave that situation feeling like, I really feel like I got to say who I am and show who I am… Thank you.“ -Amy Cuddy
Stephanie Sprout DPT