I've had a few opportunities as of late to model for drawing sessions doing exclusively gesture poses. I discussed gesture poses briefly in a recent entry, but I'll go into more detail here. I'm writing this with sketching in mind, but much of what I say here can be generalized to photography, as well.
The intent behind gesture drawings is to capture the essence of the pose- the basic lines, form, and movement. To aid artists in doing this, I try to make my poses coherent, with everything from weight distribution to limb placement, working together to form a single, unified gesture. Oftentimes, I have a mood or emotion in mind for a given pose.
Because gesture poses tend to be more strenuous than longer poses one may hold, I try to rotate through which limb is being strained. I shift the bulk of my weight from one leg to the other. If I've had an arm stretched out in to space or supporting weight, I generally let it rest in a more relaxed position for the next pose. If I arch dramatically back for one pose, I'll leave my torso in a more neutral position, or else curled forward in the next pose. By the end of a run of gestures, I'm generally aching fairly evenly all over.
I take the time in one pose to scheme for the next one. I start with a general idea of what I'd like to do, then refine it. Are all of the various pieces working together? Am I going to be stressing a limb which is already burning? Is the pose adequately different from those that I've already struck? How will I rotate, to maximize both variety and favorable angle for the artist(s) who are working? By taking the time to consider all of these factors, I can quickly move from one well-executed pose to another.
If there's interest, I'll shoot a series of self-portraits of a few gesture poses, and go into further detail on each pose. Of course, feedback or additional suggestions are always welcome.