Category Archives: Breathing

Alexander Technique Your Power Pose and Confidence in the Work Place

This article was published in CareerBliss and written by Ritika Trikha.  I was a guest expert speaking about women owning their full height and how it affects their confidence in the workplace.  When I work with my Alexander Technique clients, they discover their true height which is much less work than the typical Stand Up Straight posture.  My clients who have to walk into meetings and communicate their expertise learn how to Own the Room with their Power Pose.  They are far more aware of their body language, how they tense when they are nervous, and how to release and open.  Read the article below:

 

Are Taller Women More Successful At Work

Taller Women More Successful At Wok?

by Ritika Trikha

Researchers do concede, though, that there may not be a direct link between height and success.

However, “tall people may have greater self-esteem and social confidence than shorter people,” according to Timothy A. Judge, PhD, of the University of Florida who led the study referenced above.

“The process of literally ‘looking down on others’ may cause one to be more confident,” he says in the Journal article.

This got us thinking – do tall women potentially have an edge in the workforce, especially when it comes to working in male-dominated offices?

We spoke with psychology experts and several women who are perceived to be tall (and some who count themselves among the short) and talked to them about how their height has impacted their career.

Here’s how to make your height work for you:

Posture Says it All

When we feel anxious or lack confidence we tend to slouch down. Curl up in a ball. Drop our heads—try to take as little space as possible.

“This pattern makes [tall women] look and feel ‘less-than,’ nervous, and withdrawn,” says Sharon Jakubecy, certifiedAlexander Technique teacher and performance coach.

Instead, taking up space (e.g. standing in a power pose) is a great way to project more confidence and assertiveness.

“At work in the office, the woman who walks at her full height and allows her chest and shoulders to have an easy openness will be the most confident of all her colleagues, including the men,” Jakubecy says.

You can’t help but take notice of a tall woman’s strong posture.

It’s a Great Networking Ice Breaker

“While some people might think that tall people come off as more intimidating, on some levels I’ve found that it makes me more approachable,” Lara Levin, a 5-foot-11 senior account executive at Allison + Partners says.

Generally speaking, most people “will not comment about how short someone is,” Levin says, and “while it’s not the most original conversation starter, people always ask me about my height.”

“Then they always ask if I played sports in high school or college, which opens up the door to talk about hobbies and be relatable to clients and people that I meet while networking,” Levin says.

What an easy ice breaker when you’re networking — use it to your advantage!

Own Your Height – Tall, Short or In-Between

Nearly all women we spoke with told us that height is an amplifier, but confidence comes from within.

For tall women who feel insecure about their height, Casey Bond, a 5-foot-9 content manager at Consumer Track offers this piece of advice:  “Sometimes you have to ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’”

It was this mentality that helped Bond feel more comfortable at a recent business dinner with a group of very petite coworkers. “In those instances, you can feel a bit like Sasquatch!” she says. “But what I’ve learned is that others perceive you to be the way you perceive yourself, and if you project confidence, others will see it.”

This means owning up to your height, short or tall.

“I round up to 5 feet, and I look very young,” says Sharon Rosenblatt of Accessibility Partners. “As a result, I’ve had to boost up my professionalism both on the phone and in person to make up for my apparent immaturity. As a result, I speak up more than my taller friends in social settings.”

So, if you want to be successful, forget how tall you are relative to those around you in the office, especially men.

“What a woman does with her height and whether she embodies her full height will determine her experience of confidence, power, and success at work and in life,” Jakubecy says.

Damaging Mistakes People Make with Breathing

I just finished an Alexander Technique session with a client who is returning to lessons after about a year. He has been experiencing lower back pain. What stood out to me while we were catching up was not only how he was carrying his head forward of his body but also that he was working very hard to breathe in and then holding his breath.  (RELEASE YOUR BREATH AND FIND YOUR VOICE AT THE RESONATE WORKSHOP JAN.31 – MAR. 7)

When I asked him what he noticed when he was inhaling, he recognized that he was lifting his shoulders and tightening his neck. After he breathed in, he identified the huge amount of muscular effort he used to hold the breath in. His leg muscles tightened. His abdominal muscles clenched. AND, His lower back was overly arched and gripped. This habit made his lower back hurt.

I then showed him the video below:

He was able to see that his neck and shoulders were not supposed to work in order to receive breath. I put my hands around the bottom edge of his ribs so he was aware of the movement of his back and ribs with his breath. Here is the trick: Let breath out (instead of breathing in)

“Sharon! I feel so relaxed!!! Letting breathing out is so calming. I am always working so hard to breathe in.”

Check if you are making these mistakes with your breathing:

1) Breathing in by lifting your chest and shoulders. This requires many muscles in upper body to grip and tighten and prevents your diaphragm from moving properly in order to take in breath.

2) Holding in breath after the inhale. Holding your breath actually requires your muscles to work unnecessarily. You will also start to feel frantic, panicky, anxious, and/or nervous.

3) Controlling the breath. Your body breathes better than you do. If you are breathing in deeply, you are interfering with your body’s natural breathing coordination.

These mistakes can not only cause physical pain but also evoke nervousness, fear, and anxiety. Letting breath out releases muscles and allows your body to take care of you. Your BODY breathes better than you.

If your breathing seems difficult and your body is tense, the Alexander Technique may be the solution.  Find out more about Alexander Technique can help you, your breath, and your voice during the RESONATE workshop January 31 – Mar 7 in Los Feliz.

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