Can your body determine your business success?
Are you networking with key influencers and brushing up your negotiating skills? That’s great, but when it comes to successful business leadership, your body may be letting you down.
The way that you sit, stand and move directly influence your business success. How? Harvard professor Amy Cuddy noticed that female MBA students lagged behind their male counterparts when it came to the critical hands-on components of the course. Observing student body language, Cuddy observed that the men adopted ‘Power Positions’, strong, confident stances, while many of the women displayed closed, ‘low status’ postures.
Wondering if there was a link between posture and classroom success, Cuddy devised a simple experiment. Students were asked to stand in ‘power positions’ for a short time and then tested for cortisol (a stress hormone) and testosterone.
The results were astonishing – cortisol levels plummeted and testosterone levels soared. That’s a powerful chemical cocktail that makes you feel confident and powerful. This dramatic chemical change altered the way students behaved, making them more effective and successful participation in class activities.
As Cuddy puts it “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes”. If standing tall can make you feel powerful, it’s no surprise that yoga poses can have a significant effect on how you feel and, consequently, how you behave. If you’ve ever tried yoga, think of the strength and confidence you experienced in powerful standing poses like Warrior 1, or the stability and groundedness of Tree Pose.
A carefully crafted yoga practice can move your body in ways that have a lasting effect on your thoughts and feelings. If you want to achieve business success, it’s essential to work with your body as well as your brain – the two are so intimately linked that neglecting your body can have a big impact on your business decisions. More and more women are discovering that yoga not only helps them manage stress levels and stay healthy, but can also help them to become, confident and successful entrepreneurs.
Top 3 Power Poses for Women Entrepreneurs
- Warrior 1: From standing, step your left leg back about 1.3m. As you inhale, bend your front knee and raise your arms over head. Ground your back heel into the floor as you reach the fingertips upwards. Hold for 4 smooth breaths, then repeat on the other side.
- Tree Pose: Standing with your feet together, lift your right foot, placing the sole into the inner left thigh. Inhale to raise your arms over head. Hold for 4 smooth breaths, then repeat on the other side.
- Horse Stance: Stand with your feet 1.3m apart, toes pointing outwards. Inhale to raise your arms, then exhale and bend your knees to come into a ‘sumo’ half-squat, bringing your palms together at the heart. Inhale to straighten the legs and sweep the arms up to the sides until the palms meet overhead. Repeat 6 times.
About Nikola Ellis
“I get to do all my favourite things every day. As the Founder and Principal Teacher at Adore Yoga, I’ve been immersed in yoga for over 20 years and have studied with leading international teachers around the globe. I specialise in yoga therapy – applying yoga to everyday problems.”