You’re probably already familiar with the term “Body Language”. This is a commonly used term for a specialized study of the human body; movement, gestures, posture and stance.
The advanced study of the human body and movements is called Kinesics. It was founded by Ray Birdwhistell, an anthropologist that was intrigued by the way human beings use their bodies to communicate and express emotions. Today it is studied as a specialized subject and profession.
We won’t be expanding so much to look at the teachings of Kinesics today. Instead we’re going to take a look at the overall conclusions that research and studies have shown, in regard of our way of communication through posture and movement.
What you can’t express with words, express it with movement…
How many times have you found yourself overwhelmed with emotions, but whatever you say you feel it is not enough to express what is inside?
Or how many times have you been in a situation where you are slouching, fidgeting, you don’t know what to do with your hands, and so on.
Ask your-self, what were you feeling at that time?
What message were you sending out to your interlocutor?
Did you know that scientists have proven that your posture has an enormous effect on the way you feel?
One of the most recent experiments was conducted by a social psychologist Amy Cuddy, on what has become known as “Power posing”. She explained the results of her research and experiments in a TED talk “Your body language shapes who you are”. The most important conclusion Amy made is that you can change and reshape your characteristics if you “Fake it, till you become it”.
Now, this is a study that focuses mostly on gesture and movement, but if you look at it carefully, you’ll find it logical to conclude that all your movements express your inner thoughts and emotions. Especially movements in which you are directly communicating with someone.
We move our body through various intentional and unintentional poses and gestures. Unintentional, being the movements you make and you’re barely aware of them. Intentional movements are made with mindfulness and awareness.
So, the next time you’re communicating with someone, try paying attention to what you’re doing with your body. Are you sending a positive or a negative message across with your body?
You can do an experiment yourself. For about half an hour take on an over-exaggerated hunching posture of your back, move around as if your body parts are heavy. Make sure you’re aware of the way you are moving around.
How do you feel after that half an hour?
Then, do the opposite. Stand up straight with an open chest. Feel as if your body is as light as a feather and enjoy each and every action you take, even the smallest one, and maintain a mindful approach.
How do you feel after a certain time?
You know, I do this very often. If I’m starting to feel down or tired for some reason, I start slouching my shoulders. But thankfully, I’ve learned to become aware of it very quickly and I remind my-self to stand up straight and open my heart, and regain my mindful approach. I promise you, results are immediate!
So what’s posing got to do with it?
Welllll…. Posing’s got everything to do with it actually! Posing is; embracing different kinds of postures. These postures have to be in accordance with the self-validation and embodied emotions theories.
The self-validation theory says that assuming a certain type of posture, you’re reflecting your own perception of yourself. So if you are moving around with your arms crossed, hunching your back, insecure of your movements, you are reflecting your lack of self-confidence. Whereas, if you are standing up tall, arms open, feeling good and secure with your gestures, you are showing how confident you are.
The embodied emotions theory says that for every emotion, we have a mental image of a certain movement. This is where dance and movement comes in. At BMDS, we talk a lot about how dance can help you express your inner emotions, the good ones and the bad ones alike.
Through my experience in working with pro’s such as Bodybuilders and Fitness Models, I’ve learned that we all have our own inner styles of movement. Until a person is able to find their own style of movement, they will feel awkward.
Obviously, the correct posture; standing up tall, heart out, arms open, and a confident stroll is the same for everyone. But in the case of posing, a Bodybuilder or a Fitness Model, takes on her/his own style which makes them feel good in their own skin. In this way they express their own self-confidence and emotions, which then enables them to communicate with the audience effectively.
Love your space!
Another very important part of movement is the use of space. If you are posing, dancing or even holding a speech in a very large space, you need to exaggerate your movements and gestures and you need to use the entire space you are in. Keeping it small and locking your-self in the one third of the space will not allow you to communicate effectively. Just as you need to speak clearly to a large audience, you also need to make your movements clear.
A final word from my experience in working as a Movement Coach
I’ve had tremendous fun working with female and male Fitness Models. I helped set the presenters in preparing for their big WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Inc.) Competitions. It has been great getting them to feel comfortable in their own skin so they can go out on stage and crush it!
One of the things I do with them is to help them visualize the crowd and where they will be when they get out on stage. I look forward to this amazing journey ahead.
Any thoughts or questions? Please post them below in the comments.