Body – Awareness – Body Awareness

Friday, October 10th, 2008 at 8:00 am.
by pre.

Last loop around we presented a meditation at the beginning of each month before we talked about it for the rest of that month. We did this mostly because we wanted to launch with a meditation available, but in fact we’d really sooner talk about the meditation to prepare you for actually practising it. Thus, this loop around we’ll be launching the meditations on the last Friday of each month, after we’ve talked for a few weeks about it.

The last loop around the spiral we also concentrated on bedtime meditations, to help you learn how to influence your dreams, become more conscious of the mind-building processes which happen during sleep. We wanted something utterly relaxing to help put your mind in that receptive suggestible state. This loop though we’re sure you’re getting better at that and so we’re instead focusing on exercise. Each of the next eight meditations we bring to you will be designed to be listened to during a short low-impact exercise program. Just ten minutes or so each day. Because of this, we’re swapping the order in which we attack the skills in the spiral slightly, dealing with body awareness before we move onto self awareness next month. These excercises aren’t designed to help you lose weight. They’re designed to build awareness of your body and to improve posture, poise and body control.

Body Awareness

You will improve your awareness of your body’s senses. These senses are more numerous and complicated than the simple “touch” which popular culture would hold as one of the ‘five’ senses.

Proprioception or the kinaesthetic sense tells you where your limbs are in relation to the rest of your body. Close your eyes then move your right hand till it’s in front of your face, then open your eyes. Were you accurate? Was your hand indeed in front of your face? How did you know it was there? Because of the proprioception sense. You will increase this kinaesthetic sense by moving slowly, and paying close attention. Practising feeling where your limbs are.

Your sense of balance of course helps you to avoid falling over and to know which way is up. You’ll improve this by holding balance in particular poses.

Your body can also give you information about how tense or slackened your muscles are. Often people can “carry tension” in their shoulders or back, keeping the muscles more tense than they should be. Learning to notice this will make it easier to consciously relax, helping with many posture difficulties. You’ll improve this sense by paying close attention as you relax your muscles during some of our exercises.

You will also improve your Breathing Awareness, by taking attentive notice to your pattern of breathing, controling it as you move and paying attention as you breathe more deeply, more fully, using the appropriate muscles to expand the chest cavity.

Your muscles also have stretch receptors. Many of the exercises in this month’s program are deliberately designed to stretch muscles, and to help you learn to focus on the signals received as you do so. You’ll learn to enjoy stretching within your own limits to ensure you have full flexibility and range of movement. We’ll talk more about this in a couple of weeks.

Before that, next week, we’ll talk about awareness of posture, the reasons good posture is essential, what to look out for in bad posture and how these exercises will help you to improve yours, essentially by having you practice good posture and take note of how that feels.

Please bare in mind that we can barely scrape the surface with these basic exercises, and that to quickly gain a full understanding of your body awareness you should enrol in a course in The Alexander Technique, Tai-Chi, Yoga, Pilates or similar. You should do at least one hour a week for a few months to fully grasp the potential, and will likely want to do more after that.

Also remember that while these excercises can help you stay more fit by improving your posture and range of movement, giving you energy, it will not be enough to keep genuinely fit. You’ll also need to do some aerobic, cardiac exercise. Long brisk walks, cycling, swimming etc. Something to get your heart rate up and exercise the blood systems used to oxygenate the muscles and indeed the whole body.