Intro to Proprioception
One thing I simply love about our bodies is the gift of proprioceptive awareness. When we practice yoga, we start to build better connections with these proprioceptive nerve-endings and with time experience a smorgasbord of sensation when we practice. I think it could be fair to say that students may always feel a smorgasbord of sensation throughout their yoga journey, but when you really begin to tune in proprioceptively you become keenly aware of particular muscle groups and even individual muscles. It's this acute body awareness where I think powerful magic in the practice can be found.
In the yoga sutras Patanjali says sthira sukham asanam, which is to say practice with a sense of steadiness and ease both in the mind and the body. A Sanskrit word can be translated many ways. The word sukham or sukha is the one I'd like to consider here. I like to simplify it to "good space". Are we practicing with a sense of good space within? Or are we experiencing frustration, strife, impatience or even physical pain which are the opposite or dukha "bad space".
I love that ancient philosophy encouraged the mind-body connection. Because in new-age mind science (as I like to call it) doctors are finding that the body is actually the way to relief when dealing with PTSD and other severe emotional disorders. That's where the power of sukha or proprioceptive magic comes in. When we can arrive on our mat and practice from a place that only creates good space within us, we are literally healing ourselves and witnessing one of the most fascinating manifestations of our nervous systems! I find incredible joy witnessing my muscles flex and strengthen or stretch and lengthen when the movements feel good and aren't forceful or painful.
We call this yoga, but we're really doing so much more by increasing brain power and even reducing pain in the mind and body. When you take yourself to your mat this week, I invite you to really witness your body from the inside out; start to explore your connective tissue and all the beautiful messaging it is sending you. And of course, to always practice creating good space within.