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Power Dynamics

Updated: Aug 24

What is power and why does it matter to me any way?


I am a true believer that an insight into human psychology can help you get the best out of many life situations. It can also safeguard you against some of the more negative effects that are EXTREMELY COMMON in humans relationships. We gain a small insight on the tendencies of human behaviour based on what others are doing and allow us to make a conscious decision on the actions we take next.

The moment this way of thinking materialised for me was in secondary school, I was around 12 years old. I had a habit of visiting the careers advisor and having a different career in mind every time (geologist, air-hostess, gardener, midwife, etc.) at this point in time I was settled on psychologist.

I came across an experiment that involved people and a double door...


The experiment showed that if one door was propped open, or there were a stream of people using the open door, no one would use or even check if the other door was open, even though it would allow more people through.

How many times in life have we queued outside an open door because there was already someone waiting that hadn't checked?

It's simple but from that moment on and still now, I check to see if the second door is open. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Anyway, it's not the door that's important. It's the thought process (or lack of) that is important. (Debatably) interesting but what to doors have to do with me or with yoga anyway? Well... that brings us to a few other concepts, some of which will not be explored in this blog, but carry on reading if you are interested.

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Social dominance and the construction of hierarchies (for GoT fans think Khaleesi). Studies have shown that ‘subordinates’ consistently underperform against their ‘superiors’ when roles are randomly assigned. In other words how well you do (performance) is not always based on merit. We are primed to trust and listen to people that we view in positions of power, to our own detriment.

This applies to you when you are on your yoga mat too. There is usually a teacher or two at the front of the class and they are suggesting or asking that you make a certain shape. The benefits of the practice are intertwined with how well or how poorly you perform a certain shape.

We've been there, that feeling of elation when the body complies and the feeling of less when it won't.

The truth is that you don't have to make the shapes to benefit from Yoga. It's about learning to understand yourself. What makes you tick, what triggers the less positive sides of your personality. How you can learn to increase your confidence so that you feel TRULY COMFORTABLE making decisions for yourself and your community.

Think about it the next time you're in class and you hear "we're all individual, it doesn't matter what shape you make. Now, Point your second toe on your left foot forward and place your hands directly under your shoulders with your chin 3 inches away from your chest and hold for 5 breaths."...

...The yoga equivalent of mindlessly standing outside the closed but unlocked door.


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