You know the feeling. You have an important meeting or critical presentation coming up and just the thought of it makes you tense.
Isn’t there something we can do in order to reduce this tension?
The good news is, yes!
When you are feeling nervous why not try a chest-opening pose? It’s very easy to practice both at home and in the office and is very effective at reducing stress.
Let’s get started
1. Sit on a chair
2. Gently stretch your spine, and bring your hands together behind your back
3. Extend your chest obliquely upward and point your eyes at the ceiling
4. While enjoying this pleasant stretch, hold the pose for a few minutes (this is critical)
Rather than quit after 10 seconds as is common in some stretching poses, the trick is to hold the pose for two or three minutes. That way, we can ease the tension in our bodies and positively affect our mood.
The science behind it
Let me introduce some research by Amy J. C. Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School since her work supports this theory nicely.
According Professor Cuddy, the tension in the chest from holding this pose for two minutes can change the amount of hormones in the body. Tests show testosterone, which is connected to the one’s strength and confidence, can increase by as much as 20 percent. Whereas cortisol—a hormone mainly related to stress—can be reduced by as much as 25 percent.
Conversely, if you try to shrug your shoulders, and keep this curved posture for about two minutes, evidence shows that the testosterone in your body will reduce by 10 percent, and cortisol will actually increase by 15 percent.
Give it a try
This is just a two-minute exercise, it doesn’t cost anything and it can have a very positive impact on your daily life, so why not take advantage of it at the office, or in any other business-related environment where you feel tense.
As Professor Cuddy also pointed out, as a result of feeling confident we tend to assume a dignified posture, but the reverse is also correct. This means that assuming a powerful pose and opening your chest, brings confidence as a result.
As you read this article, what is your posture like? If usually you sit shrunken down in your seat, your mind will also be restricted. On the contrary, if we learn to take a dignified posture in our daily routine, our confidence will naturally come out.
Yoga for business
These simple yogic exercises can be explained like this: improving the mind through the usage of the body. This is the first article of a series where I will introduce some yogic exercises that will lead to a comfortable business life. There is no need to think too deeply, just enjoy the journey and put into practice those postures that better suit your nature.