Conscious Proprioception.

The connection between body and mind.

Firstly, What is Proprioception?

Proprioception:

(PRO-pree-oh-SEPt-shun)

"The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium."

Proprioception is our sense of position, motion and balance. It is our sense of "body awareness" that provides the connection between body and mind, allowing us to feel our posture and judge how we are moving.

Proprioception - How it Works.

outline of human figure seen from the front. Showing the network of nerves throughout the body. The central nervous system consisting of the spinal cord and brain.  A web of smaller nerves from the extremities feeding into larger nerves, transmitting the sensory information about the body's position, motion and balance which is processed for our sense of proprioception. Conscious proprioception is when we experience this sensory feedback our body has for us. Seeing the sparkles, feeling the position of the body relative to base-line, instinctively knowing where our natural range of movement should take us.

Various 'sensors' throughout the body produce sensory feedback (information) that sent to the brain via our nerves.

The information telling the brain where all the bits of our body are in relation to each other, how they are moving, and our state of balance, is known as proprioceptive feedback and 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 so that it can make subconscious adjustments throughout the body to maintain a day-to-day posture.

Conscious proprioception.

Conscious proprioception is when you are aware of the proprioceptive sensory feedback your body provides. When you can consciously sense/see/feel:

Increased awareness of your sense of proprioception will allow you to judge your own positioning and improve your posture through movement, building the connection between body and mind and working towards a body more balanced and aligned.

good posture

body alignment and balance

Conscious proprioception and your Base-Line 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').

the base-line muscles pelvic floor and rectus abdominis shown in a human figure from the front and angled. The rectus abdominis muscles are like two ribbons that run parallel up the front of the abdomen from pubic symphysis of the pelvis (the bone between the legs) to the front of the chest, attaching to the rib cage i.e. they extend quite high. Each rectus abdominis is made up of sections of muscle, panels of muscular tissue separated by bands of connective tissue within each 'ribbon' two stacks of blocks.  The linea alba, a strip of tough connective tissue lies between the rectus abdominis muscles on the body's midline. Think pelvic floor base, Rectus abdominis line. Our core pillar of strength up the front of the abdomen.

Base-Line muscles

Why start from Base-Line?

To describe the position and motion of something you need a reference to work from, our Base-Line muscles are that central reference.

● The position of the rest of your body is relative to your Base-Line.

human skeleton seen from the front also showing the base-line muscles. the pelvic floor at the base of the body.  The rectus abdominis muscles from pelvis to rib cage up the front of the abdomen, either side of our midline anatomy of the linea alba.  Midline is drawn on the figure, splitting the body into equal left and right halves. The rest of the body should be thought to extend from our Base-Line muscles. Feeling the relative position of the rest of the body from a base-line reference. Connecting body and mind.

● All movement should originate from, and be supported by, your Base-Line muscles.

human figure seen from the front, looking up the body with the baseline muscles shown.  The base pelvic floor muscles, a basket of muscles within the bones of the pelvis that provide the solid foundation for the body. The rectus abdominis muscles extend from the pubic symphysis of the pelvis, up the front of the abdomen to the ribcage. The rectus abdominis muscles are like to 2 parallel stacks of panels of muscle, blocks side by side, from base to mid chest either side of the linea alba. These muscles are the body's core pillar of strength, from where all movement should originate and be supported by.

● Working from Base-Line connects us to our midline anatomy and starts to balance the body either side of the median plane.

the median plane

Image of a human figure viewed from the front. Showing a line straight down the middle. The body is split into left and right halves from head to pelvis.  Left and right sides of the body are balanced either side of this line. Our midline anatomy is at full extension and in alignment to lie on this line which is known as the median plane.

The body map in the mind.

several pictures of the body in different yoga positions demonstrating what the body is capable of.  From standing on one leg with the arms lifted above the head to lying on back with legs lifted over the head. Side plank, legs spread wide and arms out to side.

Imagine a 3-D representation of the body, demonstrating a flow of movement through the innumerable positions the body is capable of when functioning at optimal. A moving map in our mind of the body's spatial potential when it is dynamically balanced and aligned with a full range of natural movement.

full range of natural movement

Proprioceptive information 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.

Sensory feedback from the pelvic floor muscles provides the Base starting point for reading the map accurately.

Sensory feedback from the rectus abdominis muscles provides information about the positioning of the linea alba - the Line that orientates the map in the right direction.

linea alba

human figure from the front with a dot and line representing the pelvic floor muscles and the linea alba. Our primary guide for body alignment. When the pelvic floor and rectus abodminis muscles are fully activated and extended the body is correctly positioned to align with the body map in the mind. Imaging this line increases awareness of our sense of proprioception. Feeling our midline anatomy, seeing the sparkles.

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.

main muscles of movement

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.

physical restrictions

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.

Increasing Awareness of our Sense of Proprioception.

Active engagement of the Base-Line muscles creates a positive feedback loop, increasing our conscious awareness of:

conscious proprioception - technique tips

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.

my body-mind connection

chakras and qi

Summary: Conscious Proprioception Allows You To:

Conscious proprioception:

Increased awareness of your sense of position, movement and balance.

The connection between body and mind.

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