Power Posture and Pain

Beyonce doing her Power Pose
Recently some friends posted a link to Amy Cuddy's Ted talk about posture and power. Earlier this year, Cuddy, a Havard MBA professor, was interviewed by Wired, who summarized her research:
The Harvard psychologist recently completed a study demonstrating that positioning our bodies a certain way doesn’t just tell people we’re powerful, it actually makes us more powerful. And she has the data to prove it: Standing tall directly influences our biochemistry, increasing testosterone, decreasing cortisol, and generally making us feel dominant. So pull back those shoulders and stretch out. Stand like Superman and you’ll become the Man of Steel.
Amy Cuddy in Super Woman Power Pose
My posture has always been an issue for me. My friends who posted this talk would tell me to do yoga, and in the long term, that might very well help. (However, I have such a constellation of neck / head / ptsd issues that a year of yoga isn't likely to sort out. I worked with a yoga pain specialist for a while last year and it was extremely slow going.)

More than anything, though, this talk got me thinking about how for many of us, it's not just the relationship between power and posture, as pain is another factor in this equation. Pain contributes to bad posture and often leaves us feeling powerless. By changing my posture in the ways encouraged in the videos, I might well raise my testosterone, but I'm also likely (because I'm very familiar with the ptsd stress-pain loop) to increase my cortisol.

It hurts just to look at these images.
As a teacher, I'm often aware of students' posture only as it pertains to pain. I can look at a student and tell they are in pain and where from the way they hold their body. I can look at old photos of me and tell you if they are post/pre accident by my face and posture. If I do notice power poses in the classroom, it's only to be annoyed by it.

P.S. My stinky dog snores and is doing so right now under the table.

See more of my 31 days posts.

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