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Monday, October 29, 2012

Power sitting

What is your body doing right now? Are you making yourself small, legs crossed, arms hugging your body? Are you expansive and taking up space?

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, says in this Ted talk that your body language affects not only how others see you but how you see yourself. Cuddy describes power poses that have been demonstrated to change the chemicals in people's brains, increasing testosterone, which makes a person feel confident, and lowering cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

What does this mean for meditators?

The traditional meditation posture -- straight back (strong but not rigid), level head, open chest -- have a lot in common with the power poses Cuddy cites, the ones that increase confidence. Confidence is one of the qualities cultivated through meditation -- by examining the habits and old beliefs that undermine our ability to tap into our true, brilliant nature.

So maybe the benefits of meditation aren't just a result of working with the mind but of learning to carry ourselves in a way that our biochemistry contributes ... the interdependence of bodies and minds.