“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand”
Movement is what rules life, everything is in continuous motion, the oceans move with the dance of the moon orbiting the earth, the rain forest waves as the wind passes through the leaves, the rocks changes shape by the forces of water that crash against its surface. Animals crawl, howl, walk, and mate. As humans, it is not just that we move, but the fact is, that as part of nature we are movement. The subtle movements of a sleeping baby, the movements of the intestines as we digest the food, the interminable and continuous new cell generation taking place throughout the body and the pumping of our heart – when we articulate words we move, movement comes from a gesture we learnt in a distant past from our parents or we have been moved by the e-motion imprinted in the meaning of our words. Every word we express is associated with a kind of movement and a perception of our world, giving meaning and making sense of life to establishing a sense of self.
Body movement is non-verbal yet it communicates, no matter what clothes we put on, or the makeup we use, the body language will show the gestures of fear, anger, sadness, love or joy. Under this spectrum somehow the conscious mind is the body, and the body is the conscious mind like Mary Whitehouse founder of Authentic Movement says: “The physical condition is in some way also the physiological one. We do not know in what way the psyche is the body and the body is the psyche but we do now that one does not exist without the other. And I would go so far as to suggest that just as the body changes in the course of working with the psyche, so the psyche changes in the course of working with the body. We would do well to remember that the two are not separate entities but mysteriously a totality”
There is a technical term for feeling our own movement; it is called the kinaesthetic sense. Kinaesthesia provides a felt sense of movement. This sense of movement is involved in sports, ordinary daily motions, preservation of good balance and safety. A well-functioning kinaesthetic system helps protect against chronic pain also enables a person to feel connections between themselves and others.
Also this sense is part of feeling adaptable in our lives, and it helps life to feel real. If the on-going state of the muscles is tense, then the sensory cells will send a flood of feedback signals to bombard the brain. If the on- going state of the muscles is relaxed, then the sensory cells will reduce the intense feedback signals. This leaves the brain free to notice and concentrate on other matters. Not only is one’s awareness of the outer world less cloudy and distracted, so is one’s awareness of the inner somatic world. Proprioceptive awareness of oneself is an avenue of access to the immensity of real time experience.
When your yoga practice start to evolve with an inclination towards curiosity and exploration where movement becomes conscious, the body gradually start to open up, you will finding that the act of moving is in itself so satisfying, the body language will be available creating avenues of information that will in turn bring a sense of opening to the mind. This is our somatic world of information via the felt sense using the anatomy and physiology as guidance during the practice. We then can realise that creating changes in our neuromuscular system will create changes in our consciousness.
As we start to cultivate our kinaesthetic sense the most remarkable moment during our conscious movement is when the mind starts to observe the body, in this present moment in time we can feel the core of the movement experience, is not that we are moving, but that we can sense that we are being moved. It is a moment of total awareness where the mind and body are working as one, then there will be a shift in perception, suddenly a sense of ease will arise followed by a powerful sensation of guidance. As we follow this guidance a physiological cascade of events inside the system takes place giving the experience of relaxation, ease and rightness, because the mind is being anchored inside the body.
The Mind can travel to past and future, the body can’t. If we continually allow the mind energy to govern our day to day activities, the body will tense up, as it doesn’t have this capacity to travel back and forth in time. The body lives in the present moment and has the capacity to heal itself; use this wisdom to bring more aliveness to your movements giving rise to a more coherent sense of self with a unified mind-body-consciousness.
All this will be accessible in a more easy way as we start to be aware of our inner anatomical world, understanding the neuromuscular system and physiology of our bodies, so we can set up little avenues of self-understanding moving with a true intention towards liberation and self-regulation.
“Many of the descriptions of special states of mind attained in the advanced yogic practices are understandable only if one has sufficient internal proprioceptive awareness to understand these descriptions for what they are: special somatic stages. All of these things help to set a special tone for the nervous system; they help shift toward parasympathetic nervous system dominance. They help maintain homeostasis. This uses the body’s best handle, the neuromuscular system. The ultimate aim is towards a harmony among all systems” (Criswell, 1987)