Yesterday I saw a talk by psychologist Amy Cuddy about body language, and specifically what she called “power posing.” It’s a good talk, and I recommend watching the whole thing, but the idea that really got my attention was this single hook: “Standing like Wonder Woman for 30 seconds a day can change your life.” From a pop science point of view, that’s new and crazy, but from an exercise point of view it’s a total gimme. Of course standing like Wonder Woman for 30 seconds a day will change your life. It’s called yoga.
Back when I had real office jobs, one of those jobs was at a personal fitness place, writing box copy for treadmills and catalog entries for health supplements and, yes, manuals and video scripts for yoga programs. I’d never really done yoga before, but the more I studied it the more I loved it. I won’t speak to any of the more mystical claims, but as a pure exercise program it’s shockingly effective. My wife and I do yoga regularly (she much more regularly than I), and it’s a great way to wake up and stay fit and keep your body doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Yoga builds confidence and strength–not the kind of strength that helps you lift cars over your head, but general, sometimes even invisible strength inside your body, in the muscles responsible for balance and posture and breathing. If you’ve never worked those muscles before, you’ll be shocked at how much better it makes you feel. Even sitting becomes more comfortable. Trust me–most of the minor inconveniences we face in our bodies come from how out of shape they are. Even basic yoga can make a huge difference (if you stick with it, which is always the catch).
So: with all this in mind, I commented on twitter/facebook that it would be fun to run with this Wonder Woman idea and put together a whole yoga routine full of superhero poses, and call it LARPercise. This got a much bigger reaction than I expected, with people tossing out suggestions and offers to help, and the more I think about the more I think that this is a thing that should totally happen. The use of licensed characters means it will never be published or official, but it could be a fun web page and it’s perfect for an 8am Con panel, if nothing else. I don’t have the time to take off from writing my other books to give this the mental energy it would take to do it by myself, though, so let’s crowd source this thing.
Do you know yoga? Or do you just have google and some time to kill? Let’s use this page, and the comments below, to aggregate ideas about which yoga poses could be rethemed toward which superheroes. As you research yoga you’ll see that some of the poses have pretty standard English names (like Downward Dog), but others have a lot of variations, and some places use only the Indian names, and basically no two yoga places will use exactly the same terminology; this makes it hard to talk about the poses without images, but it’s also exactly what we’re doing, so I won’t complain Start with some basic sites like this and this, and let your imagination run wild.
To get the ball rolling, I would suggest some of the following:
Wonder Woman: this is the classic Lynda Carter pose, feet apart, hands on hips. This is a basic variation on Mountain pose, which is a fancy name for “just standing there,” but trust me–if you do it right, it’s an indispensable start to a yoga routine.
Superman: this could be the other standard variation of Mountain, sometimes called “Raised Arms Position.” You stand with feet close together, arms raised straight up, neck tilted back to look up at the ceiling. Throw in some moves where you bring one hand to your chest, and you look exactly like Superman flying around. Done and done.
Aquaman: I’m not in love with this one, but we have to do something with Downward Dog, and it does kind of look like a dive. I’m open to better ideas on this one.
Hulk Smash: my wife immediately suggested this one when I pitched the idea. Triangle pose has one hand planted on the ground, and if you clench that hand into a fist it does feel surprisingly like you’re smashing the street to cause an earthquake. Awesome.
That’s all I’ve got right now. Obviously we need something for the Warrior poses, and if you can come up with cool names for Cat/Table/Cow I’ll be impressed. Give me your comments, toss in your own ideas or fix my lame ones, and I’ll add them up here as we go.
This is going to be fun.