“To project both strength and warmth at once, is rare— so rare, in fact, that we celebrate, elevate, and envy those people who manage it. We even have special names for this ability. The ancient Greeks called it ‘the divine gift,’ from which we get the word ‘charisma.’ ” - “Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential”
Wherever you are sitting right now, if you are not radiating charisma, take a 4 minute break to watch this video for a body and brain boost (yes, a free yoga class in less time than it takes to make a pot of coffee). Quickly become more balanced and ready to take on your day by transforming your own physiology.
Perhaps you read in my previous article about the research conducted by Amy Cuddy, PhD, on how holding your body in “power poses” (such as arms up in a big V shape) alters your hormone levels, leaving you feeling strong and confident.
However, we can’t just walk around with overwhelming pride and no humility to balance. Darwin describes this extreme in “The Expressions of the Emotions of Man and Animals.” “A proud man exhibits his sense of superiority over others by holding his head and body erect. He is haughty, or high, and makes himself appear as large as possible; so that metaphorically he is said to be swollen or puffed up with pride.” Such a superiority complex builds barriers between people. Having a healthy ego, or sense of “self,” is correlated with the ability to connect with others and make a positive difference in the world we live.
The Dalai Lama posted on Facebook and Twitter--how much do you love that he's on social media?!--that “warm-heartedness reinforces our self-confidence.” His influential teachings emphasize kindness, tolerance and living a good life from the heart above all else. Dr. Cuddy says that a projected sense of warmth elicits trust, which is the conduit of social influence. She continues to explain, “you can’t connect unless you feel strong and authentic.” This view paints a deeper picture of confidence than the human “pride” Darwin observed. Instead of building barriers, the tools of yoga build bridges between the mind, body and beyond.
Connecting is what yoga--which means “union"--is all about. The practice of yoga takes the science of the “power poses” from Cuddy’s research to a new level by incorporating ancient wisdom that emphasizes compassion, love and having an open heart. A complete yoga practice uses the physical poses to cultivate mindfulness, or being immersed in the present. In the present moment, free from dwelling on the past or fretting about the future, a feeling of unity can be accessed. The physical provides this powerful means to connect.
Your body is the most extraordinary instrument you will ever own. Through holding your body in empowering poses combined with a felt sense of warmth from within, you can reveal your “divine gift"--even while at your desk.