Goddess? Warriors? Five-pointed star? What’s your power yoga pose?

Power yoga poses

In the practice of yoga, we experiment with physical shapes. We move our bodies into inversions both small and large—child’s pose and headstand. We play with heart opening postures and twists. Ever notice how your energy or mood shifts after a certain posture? Well, there is a science behind it.

Science of body language

Amy Cuddy delivered an engaging TED talk about how our body language informs our decisions and how other people feel about us. In her TED talk, she references her study that was published in Psychological Science. Participants were asked to replicate a high power pose (like Wonder Woman) or low power pose (like curling into a ball). After the participant held the power pose for two minutes they were given the choice to gamble (demonstrating risk tolerance) and had salivary samples taken. The results showed significant differences between participants that held the high and low power poses.

% chose to gamble Testosterone Cortisol
High Power Pose 86% 20% increase 25% decrease
Low Power Pose 60% 10% decrease 15% increase


Simply POSING created physiological changes!

This concept can be applied to all physical abilities. Let’s say you are suffering in a fibromyalgia flareup and can’t sustain the traditional physical expression of goddess pose. You can recreate goddess or five-pointed star on the ground, like you are making a snow angel. Use blankets and props to make the posture restorative and as comfortable as possible.

Take the concept off the mat. As you ride up the elevator at work or are sitting at the bar waiting for your date, take up space! Imagine your presence growing. You might be surprised how that affects your mood!


Carney DR, Cuddy AJC, Yap AJ. “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance.” 2010: Psychological Science 
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Originally published 1/20/14.