Appearing Effortless

Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Many of us had the same impression while watching Britain’s Royal Wedding today. Kate Middleton’s grace and presence seemed effortless. In my mind, I was rationalizing her upbringing, her schooling, her social experience as what accounts to her effortless grace. Commentators in the TV media also remarked comparably – that not only does she exude ease, she attracts like-ability as a result.

Each of us has those times when we wish to come across with presence and grace. Similarly, to some, this is natural – based on upbringing, social experiences and/or education in comportment. But for the rest of us, what is a crash course in poise?


Marlborough College isn’t in the future for us non-royals, so for us to get a sense of creating, maintaining and developing poise, we must consider other avenues. What we are identifying is actually the way people move, their mannerisms, their confidence and their comfort.

Here is a simple list of things to focus on:

1. Breathe. One of the most basic functions of life is one that is least focused on – breathing. Focus your attention on the formation of breath – the diaphragm. It helps put a visual into your body of energy coming in and energy releasing. Take 10 minutes to visually follow your own breathing patterns. Don’t be surprised if the breathing slows down.

2. Smile. This isn’t a fake look to put on your face. It’s deeper. It starts with enjoying the moment from within and letting it ooze out of your feelings onto your face. Break a grin and let the mouth open up.

If enthusiasm isn’t the mood you’re experiencing, then let either humility or curiosity take you into poise. When in moments of humility or curiosity, instead of smiling, focus. Strong eye contact is key to staying present instead of going inward. It allows us to direct our energy from our breathing to those around us.

3. Move, when given the option. We are creatures designed to move vs. staying in one spot. Continue the feeling from the above descriptions by letting your legs, arms, feet and hands all feel the rhythm you’re experiencing. Start the movement early and it won’t become a rhythm that gets out of hand. Ease and poise are the opposite of sudden, loud gesture and rhythm. Ease and poise are both fluid.

Let movement happen in the limbs so it isn’t forced to happen in the neck or shoulders. The limbs will stay fluid. Your breathing and focus keep your movement purposeful and graceful. Keep breathing!

Certainly there are many more things to consider, like balance, mental clarity, etc. Yet the above 3 steps help us perform smoothly. Practice these things on your own while getting up from bed, taking morning and afternoon breaks, when going about your daily tasks and when retiring for the evening.
You will soon notice effortlessness. Welcome to your own royal state!

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On April 29th, 2011, posted in: Kate Middleton, Marlborough College, poise by