Our body language is a message we convey to the world, and it speaks for us before we even open our mouths. Not only do other people make judgments on us based on how we hold ourselves, but we also make judgments on ourselves. Posture can literally influence how we feel. This is why body language is so important in situations where first impressions matter, like a job interview. Think about it: Would you be more likely to hire someone with crossed arms who appears uncomfortable—or someone who takes up space and exudes confidence?
Remember all the times your parent, partner, or yoga teacher reminded you to stop slouching? They weren’t just asking you to adjust your physical body, but also your energy. Hunching forward sends messages of heaviness, meekness, and insecurity to both the world and your own nervous system. Poor posture collapses the spine and therefore your overall sense of Self. It is hard to open the heart when you’ve formed an armor around it. Sitting tall and taking up space expresses assuredness, openness, and receptivity.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy popularized the science of body language with her popular Ted Talk, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are”. In the talk, she shared research proving that our minds change our bodies and our bodies change our minds. She introduced the concept of “power posing,” which she later wrote about at length in her book, explaining that making ourselves bigger not only conveys confidence to the outside world, but can actually make us feel more confident inside.
What more important time to feel confident than right before a job interview? Most of us do a great job preparing our brains for an interview by doing things like learning about the company where we’re hoping to work or practicing our responses to possible questions. Body language research tells us that we can also prepare our bodies, too. Practicing yoga, and particularly these power pose-like shapes, can also help you feel more self-assured.