What would you say is the one thing Arnold Schwarzenegger, diaphragmatic breathing, oozing sex appeal, and the new you all have in common? Stick around and I’ll clue you in.
The other day, I stepped out for a walk and had a ground-breaking epiphany. I realized that by pushing my lowest rib out, my posture automatically corrected itself. By just thinking of one thing, everything fell into place. My shoulders pulled down and back, my chin and lower abdomen pulled in, the crown of my head pulled up, AND MY BREATH suddenly engaged my diaphragm. Ah, and I also immediately felt MORE vital, MORE empowered, and MORE serene. Who’da thought just one thought could do all that?!?
So what bearing does this have on the phenomenon that is Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well it occurred to me as I was watching Arnold, his Netflix documentary, that his posture is unfailingly impeccable… when he sits, when he walks, when he stands. Footage he reveals from his past as legendary bodybuilder turned A-list actor turned Governor all reveal his steadfastly upright and strikingly confident carriage. Not once does his lowest rib give in.
I personally cannot think of a career path so fascinating as that of Mr. Schwarzenegger. Recapping what is widely known, he accomplished the remarkable feat of transitioning from a seven-time Mr. Olympia champion bodybuilder to a world-famous Hollywood icon (as a foreigner whose English was basic and thickly accented) and ultimately became the sole governor in California’s history to implement the most political reforms ever within the span of just seven years. Could we possibly attribute his extraordinary confidence to his posture and breathing? Could this be his secret awesome sauce for success?
If I haven’t lost you yet, it gets better, promise. No one is born with confidence. It is something we build up on our own. Google provides thousands of tips on how to gain more confidence. But, ahhh, I’ve got the easiest, quickest, most effective tip of them all 😉. We know well that the confidence we exude plays a massive role in how attractive and magnetic we come across to others. But most don’t realize that how confident we appear is massively dependent on our posture and breathing. First and foremost, correct, or diaphragmatic, breathing—a result of proper posture— promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and boosts overall wellbeing. Proper posture allows for proper breathing and can also influence us psychologically, filling us with a sense of self-assuredness and openness and therefore boosting our mood. By consequence, a stronger presence can then help us exude more self-security, professionalism and authority, positively impacting our personal and professional interactions. Conversely, when we slump and draw in, we are likely to feel or appear weak, lethargic or glum.
Mr. Schwarzenegger has spoken out about social media as a major culprit in sowing seeds of insecurity. “Social media has caused a crisis of confidence because people lose their sense of purpose scrolling feeds all day. They’re told to be scared, and they’re told they aren’t good enough.” Let’s not forget that being on our phones is also conducive to bad posture. He’s also acknowledged the link between his popularity and his being a living embodiment of The American Dream—someone who manifested tremendous success from scratch. “When I came here I had literally nothing – I only had the dream and the determination to never stop until I achieved what I set out to achieve – whether it was the ultimate body building champion or a career in politics.” He had a dream and the drive to carry it through, but if I may, he also had the right posture.
By applying and making a habit of something so disregarded as impeccable posture, we can transform our lives more than we imagine. I don’t believe I exaggerate when I say that every diaphragmatic breath is a gift of energy, strength and beauty to our body, mind and soul. And diaphragmatic breath can be accomplished with one simple thought: lowest rib out.
I’ve always been a poor breather. I often tend to hold my breath (maybe to hyper-tune into my thoughts). And being the unfortunate beneficiary of a genetic marsupial pouch—or protruding lower abdomen—I’ve also made it second nature to eternally hold my stomach in. But as an impatient non-fan of hours of yogic inflating and deflating the belly ongoingly until it feels natural, I much prefer my time-saving gambit that is: lowest rib out.
Try it, and watch your lowest rib transform your world.