Take Up Your Space

An interesting thing happens to your body when you are experiencing moments of happiness, celebration and pride. Simply, you take up more space.

When a competitive sports team (and their fans) are victorious, when you see a loved one after a hiatus, when you are applauded in front of a room full of peers, your body naturally responds to this stimulus by making itself bigger. Amy Cuddy’s famous ‘Power Poses’ build on this and the related concept that by intentionally taking up a posture of power, you can actually trick your mind into feeling these emotions almost on demand.

Spinning off of this idea, I begin all of my programs by coaching people through what I call an ‘anchor posture’. This is essentially a neutral posture that isn’t overly aggressive, but which encourages individuals to stand tall and wide, filling out their unique physical framework.

Allow me to expand on this. Each individual has a unique physical frame. This is made up of a skeletal structure, muscles and skin. Your skeleton determines the length of your arms, legs and how tall your head extends above your shoulders. Your muscles allow the skeleton to be supported and lengthened. Through a series of ‘stacking’ exercises, I encourage my clients to feel energy running from their feet into the ground (or if seated, from their buttocks against the chair), and from the tops of their heads to the sky. This oppositional energy allows you to be as tall as you can be. Similarly, I encourage my clients to feel an energy running outwards on a horizontal axis from one shoulder to the other – this allows you to fill out your width.

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When my clients try it out, I ask them how they feel. The reactions I get are unanimous – standing in this charged posture, my clients feel simultaneously more confident, more present, and more powerful in their own right.

You may notice, I am not asking people to stand with their feet wider than hip width or to puff up their chest in an exaggerated way. I am simply asking them to fill out the frames they already own. I am asking them to take up their space. 

If you think of the many circumstances in which you are standing or sitting throughout the day, few allow for big power posing opportunities. But almost all of them allow for you to take up your space. Whether you are in an important meeting, interview, making a sale or at a social event, this first and relatively simple anchor posture is often one of the most useful and applicable components of my program.

I personally use it all throughout the day, especially when I begin to feel tired, or if I feel my mind wandering. I encourage you to experiment with this notion. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

Rachel Cossar