November 20th, 2013

gorilla thoughtful

Nonverbal Communication Lightman Style

We're on season 3, watching the last season of Lie to Me. The first season is perhaps the best, with plenty of good information mixed in about how to read people's emotions on their faces and bodies. The second season turns into a FBI story, and the third season is more police oriented---they were trying for a larger audience but apparently didn't get it. Only dorks like me who are curious about nonverbal communication stick with it.

The lead character, Cal Lightman, is a great study in body language. I don't know the actor's name but I am impressed. He does this thing I call the "Lightman Flop" which is to say that he jumps up into the air and lands on people's couches in a sprawled position that says "I own this place" and also "climb aboard" to any attractive women. He also shows his distrust of various characters with a toothy "smile" that isn't friendly at all---it's more of a snarl, and he is showing his teeth as if to say "Look out, I bite". One other notable thing that Cal the character does is he is very relaxed, intentionally relaxed. Being able to shrug off tension, to grimace and then release the face, is something most of us could use some practice at. Watching his swaying walk and the way his mouth hangs open when he is listening carefully has me experimenting with new ways of relaxing myself, and of conveying that I am paying my full attention. One of the recent episodes in season 3 showed him training a cop to fool lie detection specialists, and the main tidbit I took from it is "relax your cheeks" and keep after it, to avoid showing emotions that you don't want to show.

There's a lot that is said out loud in this program to teach people about nonverbal cues, but there is more that is not said, it is simply modeled, and it is up to the watcher to identify it.

Yoga for the Person who Does Dishes at a Low Sink

No time to work out, you say? Have to clear out the sink? OK then, try this. The asana for dishwashing is the Fierce pose, Utkatasana. Basically you put your feet hipwidth or narrower and parallel, and bend your legs like you were going to sit into a chair. But there is no chair. Keep your spine straight, not hunched, head up. Pull in your belly. Put your weight into your heels. Drop lower into your seat. Arms go straight overhead for the full expression of the asana, but you can wash a few dishes in between. This asana is warming, and if you persist for more than a minute or two your breathing and heart rate will increase, and your legs will begin to burn. You can hold it longer than you think you can. This asana is one of the best for back pain, both the kind that is between your shoulderblades, and the low back kind.