(PRO - pree - oh - SEPt - shun)
"The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium."
Proprioception is your sense that provides information about the position of your body (your posture), your movements, and your state of physical equilibrium (your balance).
Conscious proprioception is when you are actively aware of this sensory information, when you can sense/see/feel:
Throughout the body there are sensors that detect changes in their environment (i.e. the part of the body where they are located). These sensors generate a stream of sensory information that is transmitted (via the nervous system) to the brain - the body 'talking' to the brain about what it is experiencing.
Information about the location and movement of all the parts of the body (your dynamic posture) is known as proprioceptive feedback, and this feedback forms the basis of our sense of proprioception.
Your sense of proprioception will be running in the background, providing the brain with information about your positioning and state of balance. The brain 'processes/interprets' this feedback and then sends signals around the body to maintain a 'functional posture', the positioning of the body that we use day-to-day.
How aware we are of this feedback depends on the degree of connection between body and mind.
Increasing conscious awareness of your sense of proprioception builds the connection between body and mind, allowing you to judge your own positioning and improve your posture through movement, working towards a body that is more balanced and aligned.
So how do you increase conscious awareness of your sense of proprioception? - By focusing on using the right muscles.
To increase awareness your sense of position, motion and balance start by focusing on activating and extending your Base-Line muscles (pelvic floor 'Base', rectus abdominis 'Line').
To describe the position of something you need a reference. Our Base-Line muscles are the body's 'core pillar of strength', and are the starting reference needed to describe the position and motion of the rest of the body.
Imagine a 3-D representation of the body, demonstrating a flow of movement through the innumerable positions the body when we are functioning at optimal. The innate knowledge of where our full range of natural movement should take is when we are dynamically balanced and aligned.
→ A moving map in our mind of the body's full spatial potential.
The proprioceptive feedback received by the brain is applied to this 'body map in the mind', giving us a mental image of the positioning of our head and limbs relative to our Base-Line muscles.
With your Base-Line muscles at the core using the other main muscles of movement too will further increase awareness of the proprioceptive information from your body, building the connection between body and mind.
When the body is functioning at optimal i.e. when it is dynamically balanced and aligned with a full range of natural movement, all proprioceptive feedback can be accurately placed onto the map. Ability aligns with potential and we can see the whole map.
When physical restrictions are present on the body, causing the body to be imbalanced and misaligned, the sensory feedback cannot align with the map. There are 'blockages' and 'blank spaces' in the proprioceptive information we experience. The body is crumpled and twisted. The map distorted.
A distorted map in the mind means that motor commands are sent to the 'wrong' muscles, further adding to the body's imbalance and misalignment.
When you think "activate muscle" this is the mind communicating with the body: the brain sends signals (via motor nerves) to muscles to activate them.
Active engagement of the Base-Line muscles creates a positive feedback loop, increasing our conscious awareness of:
Becoming more conscious of the relative positioning of your main muscles of movement allows to develop a sense of where your natural range of movement should take you - instinctively knowing how to move to improve your posture and work towards a full range of natural movement by releasing the physical restrictions and pain you have been carrying around - "stored trauma".
As I focused on activating my Base-Line - longer and stronger with every in breath - I began to see 'the sparkles' which was the beginning of an awareness of my sense of proprioception, feeling a connection between my body and mind.
Conscious proprioception allows you to: