Performance-Enhancing Yoga Postures – part 1

A few months ago there was a great article on PsyBlog called 10 Simple Postures that Boost Performance. It’s a quick and dirty overview of the fact that while we’ve always known that our moods impact our body language, our body language also impacts our moods (and thus, according to them, our behaviour).

If you haven’t already pondered this truth, try your own little home experiment. Sit up nice and tall, shoulders back, head looking straight forward. How do you feel? Probably pretty good. Now slump your shoulders forward, hunch your back, and look down. Now how do you feel? Besides a little tension in your back, probably a little more down, maybe less confident. It’s subtle, you probably aren’t going to bring yourself out of a deep depression by sitting up straight, but it certainly has an impact.

In yoga, we put our body into different positions and experience what that does to us. I’m going to take a look at a couple of their suggestions, and match in some yoga poses.

Yep, this will be a series, so consider this part one.


They suggest extending your limbs in a wide, expansive pose to feel more powerful. How about Warrior II?

It’s called Warrior for a reason. With your feet planted strongly into the earth and your arms extended straight out to the sides, feel the warmth and power in your belly that radiates in and out with each breath.


They suggest tensing your muscles to increase your willpower. Firm, strong muscles may decrease your experience of pain and help you resist temptation. A good pose that will get all your muscles nice and firm? Chaturanga dandasana.

Chaturanga dandasana is a very challenging pose, and one thing I can tell you for sure is that your muscles will be firm. Don’t forget to breathe, though! It’s easy to get a little too tense in this pose – feel your external muscles strong and firm, while your insides stay soft with room for breath.