Interesting facts: In 1952, anthropologist Birdwhistell (1918 –1994) claimed that all body movements have a specific meaning and obey body grammars compared to spoken communication. He classified our gestures, for instance, in kinemes, which is equivalent to a phoneme, and suggested that with some training, people could develop skills such as reading others like a book or conveying messages like a billboard!
Power: Body language is a type of nonverbal communication in which physical behaviours are used to convey information. A 'fluent' body language is delivered when we are fully aware of our postures, facial expressions, gestures, eye moviment and have a good capacity to use the space around us. If we never develop our body awareness, we are at risk of using excessively unconscious communication even when trying to deliver a message directly!
Why is body language so important?: Because many decisions are based on unconscious levels, which is interpreted and created in the right hemisphere of the brain dominant at perceiving non-verbal indications related to emotions, yet if we don't deliberately try to improve our body expression, we are at risk of being perceived as 'incongruent'. e.g. we've met someone and are not 100% if we like that person or not, even though 'apparently' there was nothing wrong with them! Some psychologists use the term honest signals interchangeably with unconscious communication because these involuntary behaviours often convey emotions while body language can be faked––to an extent!
Solution: According to extensive research, being present makes body language efficient (because of our honest signals!). To be present is a skill! Any skill, by definition, requires 'practice'. If we think about it, most of us practised 'non-presence for our whole lives, which can escalate into a bigger problem.
Including yoga in your routine at least twice a week can teach any person to return to the body every time thoughts swipe them out of the room! The benefits are worth a try: to be present in relationships expands love, but the opposite kills trust and attraction. (Did you ever felt sorry for the couple at the next table looking at their phones while eating their food?)
Awareness exercises such as paying attention to our toes are transferable skills and powerful when applied to meetings, relationships and building rapport. Being present is about paying full attention to what is happening rather than being lost in your thoughts, is about becoming an 'active listener' as oppose to nodding without processing what the person is telling and showing you, is about making people feel comfortable and loved when you are with them. Presence or emotions can't be faked. If you're not fully present in a situation or conversation, others can sense it via subtle signs like micro-delayed reactions. They may feel insulted or think that you're inauthentic, which prevents trust at a gut level!
If we don't feel satisfied or self-confident, this can also send non-verbal signals, and it is not possible to happy at all times. Still with a solid yoga practice, negative emotions often gain new, more empowering meanings. So the next time you need to use your body to work, your message will be delivered at a conscious and higher level!
Give it a go!