A few days ago I rediscovered something that I used to feel regularly when I was going to tai chi classes regularly, namely, that openness feels different in my body than being closed. I first noticed it in my face, especially the eye region. It was almost as if I went from squinting to looking out into the world in a relaxed way. Then I started to feel it around my breastbone, as if that area was opening up. Then I felt it in other parts of the body as relaxation. My hands opened up, my shoulders dropped, my legs felt more solid but less tense.
Amy Cuddy and her colleagues at Harvard Business School (here is the TED talk) have discovered that our body language not only communicates with others. It communicates with us, too, and can change the way we feel. For example, the use of what they call “power poses” (the Wonder Woman pose is a well-known one) for only two minutes can reduce the level of stress hormones in the body and increase the level of testosterone. From that, I am tempted to believe that opening and relaxing my body may help me encounter the world more openly or with greater curiosity. Something (else) to test.