Body – Control – Muscle Movement Patterns

Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 8:00 am.
by pre.

We have talked a lot about the pattern recognition functions of your brain, how your visual system, for example, notices patterns in the activations of the rods and cones in your eyes to determine colour, and patterns in the colours to determine lines and shapes, and patterns in those lines and shapes to determine texture and shading, and patterns in that shape, texture, and shading to determine what objects you are looking at.

What is true for the input sensory systems to your brain is, more or less, true for the motor systems of your brain too. The layout of the neurons on their way out of the brain to the muscles is remarkably similar to the layout of the neurons that lead into the brain from the sensory systems.

It would seem then that your conscious mind is likely to be sending patterns, which your control neurons break down into sub-patterns, and so-on, eventually instructing individual muscle cells to contract is a particular sequence.

While patterns are recognised and grouped by the sensory neural system, they are instead constructed and developed by the motor systems.

Learning how to control your body more precisely, more accurately, more consciously and delicately is essentially a process of developing new patterns and improving existing patterns used by your neuro-motor systems to control your muscle movement.

As an infant, you learned how to move each of your limbs independently of each other by developing these pattern construction systems through feedback from your sensory systems. Most of it happening at a well-below-conscious level even for a well-below-conscious stage of development like that of a baby.

Did you learn it right?

There are as many different postures, gaits, and demeanors as there are people in the world. No two of us learned exactly the same patterns of muscle contractions in order to move our arms. There are lots of similarities, of course, but things like the way the stomach muscles ripple their contractions during the movement of the legs in walking is surely not exactly the same for any two individuals on the planet, even twins.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in an absolute sense, but of course all these things are still being inspected and analysed and judged by all the people around you in order to determine your social status, your confidence, your sexiness, your fighting prowess, your agility and even your intelligence and emotional connection to the people around you.

Which means that if you have preferences for how your social status, your confidence, your sexiness, your fighting prowess, your agility and even your intelligence and emotional connection to the people around you are judged by those around you, then you should pay attention to these things in order to refine them and project the image you want.

There are also health implications in these things. If you use all your muscle groups when you move, then you will not suffer from some being unused and rotting away. The shape of your body is affected by the way your stand and move via the amount of use each of your muscle groups receive.

Finally, while of course there are physical limits to the way you are able to move, some of the limits on the way you are able to move derive not from the size of your joints or the length of your muscles but from limitations in the patterns produced by the neurons controling those muscles. You can learn to more finely separate your muscle grouping, to flex and relax individual muscle fibres, with enough practice and attention. To raise a single eyebrow, even after half a lifetime of them being psycho-physiologically linked.

How to adjust your patterns of muscle use

The good news is: you have already been doing this, much more-so than you likely think. The whole of our last lap around the spiral was based on body awareness, on excercise routines designed to ensure you concentrate on your body while moving it. This, more than anything else, is the thing that teaches your motor control neural groups how to adjust their output patterns to produce the appropriate cellular muscle contractions. Those excercises, hopefully combined with some more aggressive training, have strengthened your core muscles.

Strengthening your core muscles already means that you stand taller, with your shoulders further back, chest more expanded, all the typical signs of confidence and social status.

You are much more likely now to begin a pattern of muscle movement by tightening the muscles around your gut to support your back during the process of moving. This will reduce the likelihood of back-pain and other vertebra related health problems.

You are really already part way there! But of course there is always room for yet more improvement, there is no transcended, only transcending. This month’s guided lucid dream will help to improve your concentration on the way your muscles move, the patterns of feedback they produce as they move, and in turn improve posture, gait and all the social values these things indicate

The Meditation

Our meditation at the end of the month will encourage you to pay attention to the way your body responds as you try out movements that are impossible in the real, waking world. Practising these movements will allow you to see, on a gut-instinct pre-conscious level, how the patterns fit together. To better learn to understand and coordinate them.