Conscious Proprioception -Awareness of the Body’s Position, Motion, Alignment & Balance.
How much of your sense of proprioception are you aware of?
“The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium.”
The basic idea:
Various ‘sensors’ located throughout the body generate information that is sent to the brain for ‘interpretation’. Sensory feedback concerning position, motion and balance is processed for the sense of proprioception.
The brain uses this information to send signals around the body to maintain a ‘functional posture’ - a program running in the background to move the body as ‘required’.
When we can consciously sense/feel/see:
The relative position of the parts of our body.
The motion of our body.
Our equilibrium—whether we are balanced or not.
Knowing the physiology of proprioception is not necessary to increase awareness of this sense, so I will not go into further details here although I feel it fair to say that the different mechanisms and various proprioceptors (‘sensors’) involved are not fully understood.
Increased awareness of the body’s positioning an balance comes with focusing on the right anatomy and working from the body’s Base-Line.
Base-Line Hypothesis of Human Health and Movement. (part 2)
Position, Motion, Equilibrium.
To describe the position of something you need a reference.
→ The position of the rest of your body is relative to your Base-Line.
To describe a motion (a change in position) a reference is also needed.
→ All movement should originate from your Base-Line muscles.
→ The linea alba being our primary guide for body alignment and balance.
The Body Map in Our Mind.
I believe we have the innate knowledge of what the body is capable when functioning at optimal. Of where our full range of natural movement should take us.
Imagine a 3-D representation of the body demonstrating fluid movement through innumerable positions within the largest possible body bubble.
A moving map in the mind of our full spatial potential.
Proprioceptive information received by the brain is applied to this ‘body map in the mind’.
Sensory feedback from the pelvic floor muscles should align with the Base point of the map.
Sensory feedback from the rectus abdominis muscles should align with the Line that orientates the map.
All proprioceptive feedback can be accurately placed onto the map when the body has a full range of natural movement. Ability aligns with potential.
Base-Line. From where the rest of the body extends.
Sensory feedback does not align with the ideal map when physical restrictions are present. The body is crumpled. The map distorted. A distorted map sends motor commands to the ‘wrong’ muscles, adding to imbalance and misalignment.
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Active engagement of the Base-Line muscles creates a positive feedback loop, increasing awareness of the:
Voluntary activation of muscles - building the brain—body connection.
Body map in the mind—sensing our potential.
Proprioceptive feedback that is compared to the map—seeing the sparkles.
Something to be experienced to be truly understood. (see below for technique tips)
I’m not the first to try and describe the sensation of proprioception but words aren’t so easy. The sensory experiences of chakras and qi?
To sense, to feel, to visualise, to awaken, to see, to be aware of, to instinctively know.
Connecting with My Base-Line.
The key to unlocking my sense of proprioception was focusing on my Base-Line muscles along with a good breathing technique.
Activating my pelvic floor muscles.
The solid Base at the root of all movement.
Then my rectus abdominis muscles engaging and elongating, section by section, from pelvis to chest.
The central Line supporting the rest of the body.
The roll-down action became my fundamental move as I learned to activate my Base-Line—thinking ‘stronger and longer’ as I breathe in.
Feeling my ‘core pillar of strength’ forming the longest possible arc.
With the support of my Base-Line muscles in place I found I could roll down a little further. I started to feel ‘releases’. They felt good.
I began to instinctively move, feeling more releases and gaining a little more movement each time. It felt ‘right’.
Swinging my arms, stretching my fingers. Adjusting my legs, bending my knees, flexing ankles and toes. Shifting my weight from heel to toe, side to side. Moving my mouth and jaw, rolling my eyes (as if I don’t get enough practice!), pulling faces, sticking my tongue out.
Whatever feels natural.
The possibilities are endless on the way to a full range of natural movement.
I did experience pains whilst moving and releasing. They were ‘old’ pains—I knew them, they were familiar. - my ‘healing pains’ releasing ‘stored trauma’ - (to be expanded later posts).
At some point I became aware of:
A Sense of Visuals.
Loci, shapes and patterns.
Flowing, flashing, pulsing. Always on the move.
Slightly out of reach, unable to be pinned down. A visual experience.
Activity in the visual centre of my brain, something played out on my retinas, or what? I don’t know what the process is, but I assume I’m not the only one who sees them.
A representation of proprioceptive feedback from my body.
A mental image of the current position and motion of my body in colour and light.
Constantly moving, bright and vivid in places where the proprioceptive feedback is clear and my body free to move.
It feels like there’s no feedback from areas of my body where my range of movement is restricted—blank spaces/missing information in the streaks and waves.
Focusing on my main muscles of movement increases the sparkles.
I have a mental image, a representation of my anatomy—especially the connective tissue structures that run through, surround and connect these muscles.
Feeling for balance in my trapezius muscles extending from midline to head and arms.
A Sense of Presence and Potential.
I now have a conscious awareness of my body’s presence in space that I previously lacked. I was clumsy and accident prone but had no idea what I was lacking.
I can see my ‘body map in the mind’. (see above). A peripheral outline of where a full range of natural movement should be able to take me. A 3-D shadow of my potential.
I can feel what my body should be capable of. The potential for dynamic alignment where all movement is smooth, controlled and pain-free.
I used to think the human ‘machine’ was a poor design. But I was wrong, it was years of poor usage that had made life so painful.
I am aware of relative alignment of my midline anatomy and can sense the ‘target line’ of the median plane. Feeling how to move to work towards balancing my body and regaining my full range of natural movement.
Things I’ve Come to Believe.
Some sort of sensory feedback from “connective tissue” is a major contributor to our sense of conscious proprioception.
A lot of currently unexplained pain in the world is due to the tensions of physical restrictions in connective tissue and the myalgia of imbalance that comes when the main muscles of movement are not adequately utilised.
Connecting with the body’s Base-Line is the key to better health for so many these days. (better health to be expanded on in later posts).
I was a wreck when I started. I’m now into year three of working towards a full range of movement and dynamic alignment. Every day feeling and moving better than ever before.
BLH—Definition of Conscious Proprioception:
“The ability to sense the position of your body in space and to feel where your natural range of movement should take you.”
Think about activating your main muscles of movement and becoming aware of the sensory information they provide. A positive feedback loop to develop your sense of ‘conscious proprioception’, the innate connection between body and mind.
1. Inward Focus.
Whatever helps you relax and lose a little of the outside world. Close your eyes and think of your Base-Line muscles at the core of all movement, the central pillar from where the rest of the body extends.
Technique: Breathing with your Base-Line
2. Use Your Main Muscles of Movement.
Think about using your main muscles movement whatever you are doing, whatever position you are in.
Pelvic floor, rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus, rectus femoris, trapezius.
Consider the relative position and condition of each of these muscles. Tap into the sensory feedback from your body.
Move around, feeling for balance between the left and right of each of the main muscles of movement. Explore your range of movement supported by your Base-Line.
Adjust your body as feels natural, thinking about your midline anatomy as your guide for alignment, beginning with your linea alba.
3. Feel the Sunlight.
Dawn and dusk seem to be recommended as good times for many traditional exercises, but whatever works for you.
Closing my eyes and feeling the sun’s rays on my face. The light through my eyelids helping me to see the sparkles and develop the conscious connection to my body.
Being outdoors, breathing clean air, walking on uneven ground, all good things in my opinion.
4. Appreciate Your Anatomy.
Our system for movement consists of hundreds of muscles and bones surrounded by a body-wide web of connective tissues.
We are interconnected from head to fingers to toes.
Other than the 5 main muscles of movement, knowing the anatomical details is unimportant, but it’s good to appreciate the complexity of the body.
Biodigital.com—A great resource to play with the anatomy. Thank you.
5. If You Experience a Pain.
⇨ Examine the feedback your brain is getting.
How would you describe a pain?
Is that an accurate description or a habitual response?
Focus on activating your Base-Line and explore deeper to find the origin.
What is your body trying to tell you?
Learn to read your body’s signals better.
Never force anything.
Conscious proprioception—the connection between body and mind.
⇨ Find your Base-Line, work with your main muscles and see what happens.