Increased awareness of your sense of Position, Motion, Alignment & Balance.

After an introduction to the anatomy of alignment and balance and the 5 main muscles of movement, consider what you experience if you focus on the position (posture) and motion of your body: How much of your sense of proprioception are you aware of ?

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

The basic physiological model:

  • 'Sensors' located throughout the body generate sensory feedback, 'information' that is sent, via the nervous system, to the brain. Sensory feedback concerning the body's position, motion and balance is our sense of proprioception.
  • The brain 'processes/interprets' this feedback about positioning to send signals around the body to maintain a 'functional posture' that we use day-to-day.

I feel it fair to say that the different mechanisms and various proprioceptors ('sensors') involved in proprioception are far from being understood. Our sense of "bodily awareness" appears in the philosophical section at Stanford. This is my attempt to explain the experience of an increased consciousness of the proprioceptive feedback my body is continually producing - and how everyone can increase their awareness of their physical selves.

Conscious proprioception.

Awareness of:

  • The relative position of the parts of your body.
  • The motion of your body.
  • Your equilibrium - whether you are balanced or not.

According to:

Base-Line Theory of Human Health and Movement. (part 2)

(BLTHHM part 1)

Increased awareness of the body's positioning, balance and state of alignment - of the body's posture - comes with focusing on the right anatomy and working from Base-Line.

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 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 movement through innumerable positions, a flow, within the largest possible "body bubble" - the body extended from head to fingers to toes.

--> 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.

 

When physical restrictions are present sensory feedback does not align with the ideal map.   The body is crumpled. The map distorted.

A distorted map sends motor commands to the 'wrong' muscles, adding to imbalance and misalignment.

- - --

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

  • Voluntary activation of muscles.
    • building the mind to muscles, body to brain connection.
  • The body map in the mind
    • sensing our potential for a full range of natural movement.
  • Proprioceptive feedback that is compared to the map
    • seeing the sparkles.

Something to be experienced to be truly understood. (see below for technique tips)

My Experiences.

I'm not the first to try and describe the sensation of proprioception but words aren't so easy.

To sense, to feel, to visualise, to awaken, to see, to be aware of, to instinctively know....   The sensory experiences of chakras and qi?

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.

Learning to connect with my 'core pillar of strength', the muscles that should support all movement. Feeling the rest of my body extending from Base-Line.

pelvic floor & rectus abdominis. The key muscles to increase awareness of our sense of proprioception. Connecting body and mind.

The Roll-down.

My fundamental move as I worked from Base-Line - thinking 'stronger and longer' with every breath in. Forming the longest possible arc.

With the support of my Base-Line muscles in place I found I could roll down a little further each time. 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 experienced a lot of pain whilst moving and releasing. They were 'old' pains. I knew them, they were familiar and often sparked old memories. My 'healing pains' as I released my 'stored trauma' - (to be expanded later posts).

At some point I became aware of:

A Sense of Visuals.

  • Sparkles - splodges - lights - colours - bursts - streams.
  • 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:

'The sparkles'

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.

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.

Sensory feedback from "connective tissue" is a major contributor to our sense of conscious proprioception. This sense is the basis of the experience of "Chakras and Qi".

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 and the body does not have a full range of natural movement.

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.

BLTH - 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.

Technique Tips.

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 5 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 or Weird Sensation.

⇨ 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.

Feel your potential.

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Some anecdotal evidence: When first reading this sequence, and focusing on the 'Base-Line', this did seem to increase my bodily perception more strongly than I expected (my reference were results from focusing on my breath), which made me decide to apply the idea of the Base-Line for a few days:

For years, when listening to talks that need a lot of concentration, I had the problem of becoming sleepy and I have found no working solution to this problem. Today, while in such a situation, I remembered this sequence and shifted some of my focus to my Base-Line, which actually was helpful in getting rid of my sleepiness.

If I assume this to be repeatable in the future, this makes me suspect that at least some level of conscious bodily perception is needed for staying alert/awake and that me focusing strongly makes me sink below this level.

This makes me look forward to exploring the idea of 'conscious proprioception is very valuable' further

Thank you for reading and trying.

I suspect focusing on your Base-Line muscles 'corrected' your positioning (~ reduced stress on body) and made you breathe in a bit deeper - thus receiving a hit of oxygen that increased your alertness.

I'm really happy though - anecdotal evidence is what I need at this point. Everything stems from being willing to work on your Base-Line. It's well worth the ride. I have created "main muscles made easy" in an attempt to make the key anatomy more accessible.


conscious bodily perception

I have no idea why the word "perception" has not occurred to me before, but that's it. Increased perception of the state of your body (that comes with the brain and body having a shared Base-Line reference).

I just discovered this sequence, and I am pleased and impressed. The subject of this post is something I have been looking at learning more about a lot recently, because I have a problem in the area.

Specifically, I never know where my feet are positioned. I can infer it, and I can confirm it, but I simply don't feel the position of my feet in relation to the rest of my body. Even when I am trying to focus on it.

By contrast, I do feel where my calves are in space. Most of the time when I need to place my feet precisely, I am actually just aiming my calves at that point and relying on the fact that my feet are on the end of my calves.

I've been thinking more about my feet since your post. I too sense my calves more than my feet, the muscles are tense, overworked ...

And I had an interesting experience as I was walking down a rough (but familiar) track...

I've got to the point of often thinking of my body as 3 lines - my central line (linea alba) and a line from hip to shin (rectus femoris) of each leg. As was doing this I suddenly thought 'where are my feet?'. The shift in focus made me feel like I stumbled (I don't think I actually did) and brought on a flash of motion sickness (which I've always been prone to and crushed my dreams of being an astronaut when I was about 5).

It was like thinking about my feet rather than working from my Base-Line knocked me off balance. A weird sensation.

The expression 'don't worry about where your feet are to start' has been floating around looking for a home in my posts (I'm not sure where it ended up!) and "stand with your feet hip-width apart" was a common instruction that I never understood/felt I was doing it right (shuffling around, trying to judge in a mirror ... I lacked a Base-Line reference to feel from.)

When you say lack of feeling - lack of awareness? or lack of sensation/numbness? The latter can be associated with various medical conditions so it's important to differentiate between the two experiences (duration is relevant).

I've tried to make the anatomy easy to understand (pictures are better than words!) here.



I get all the normal pain/temperature/pressure/friction feedback just fine. It is only the problem of knowing where they are in space without looking at them.

Reading your post it seems a bit strange to me to speak about having conscious proprioception as something that most people don't have. I would estimate that most people have a sense of conscious proprioception and it's more about the quality of the proprioception.

I've had a bit of a re-write of the introductory section, thank you for the feedback.

to speak about having conscious proprioception as something that most people don't have. I would estimate that most people have a sense of conscious proprioception

I am trying to start with definitions - kinaesthesia was another term I considered but proprioception was more encompassing. Proprioception runs in the background, how much people are aware/conscious of it is another matter and something I can't gauge. I've tried to describe my experiences (leave some clues?) and many others have tried to explain before me.

How would you describe your experience of conscious proprioception?

I am coming from a place of an awakening - I'm consciously aware of my body's position and state of balance like I never was before. The sparkles I see representing feedback from my body. The shadow map of my potential....


it's more about the quality of the proprioception.

Definitely! I believe the quality of conscious awareness about the positioning and balance of the body is increased by 'tapping into' the sensory feedback from the body's Base-Line. (Pelvic floor rectus abdominis). A central reference for the relative positioning of the body.