In terms of proprioception, scientists and science minded individuals tend to talk in terms of golgi tendon organs and what not.
They tend not to talk about the type of information that is actually sensed.
And this could be more important for yogi's and anyone else mindfully occupying their body since it then can make it easier to improve proprioception simply by knowing how to tune into information that is already there, or creating that information so that the brain can better feel and control the body (and so that you can too.)
If you've ever been sailing, and worked the sails, you've noticed how, when pulling on a sheet, how a strong wind working against the sails makes it harder to pull in, while working against a weaker wind is easier.
The actual act of reefing in a sail can tell you how strong a wind is just by how much effort you have to exert.
The same can be true tuning a guitar.
Turning a tuning peg while the string is slack, you can feel the peg turning with little resistance (the friction of the screw itself providing that resistance.) As the string gradually gets tighter the peg gets harder to turn and so you know that the string is getting tighter as a result.
To get further information, or confirmation of the state of the string, you could pluck it to hear how close it is to being tuned.
Work on building or truing a bicycle wheel, the older type with metal spokes, and the same idea applies. The greater the tension in the spoke becomes the harder it is to tighten the spoke further. Go around all the spokes and you can feel, just by trying to tighter or loosen a spoke how much tension is in that spoke.
If you had a torque wrench you could measure the tension more exactly, just by trying to turn the spoke using the the torque wrench.
In all the cases mentioned above, tension is measured by muscular effort.
By working to add tension or reduce tension on a sail sheet, guitar string or bicycle spoke you can feel how much tension there is. And changes in the amount of work effort tell you whether you are adding tension or reducing it.
You could continually measure the tension by continually exerting force, perhaps not quite enough to tighten or loosen a spoke, but enough that if you stop just short of actually tightening or loosening, that continual output could be used as a measurement. This would the similiar to applying a torque wrench in a similar way. You could get a torque reading or torque output.
An important factor to take into consideration, and here the bicycle wheel is a particularly useful analogy, is that muscles don't act in isolation. They work against each other (on opposite sides of a joint) or with each other (along anatomy trains, or chains or meridians of fascia that contain muscles in pockets of connective tissue between joints.
Thinking just in terms of connective tissue (lets assume that the muscles fibers stay relaxed), moving a joint in one direction creates more space on one side of a joint and reduces it on the other. This lengthens or stretches connective tissue on one side and shortens the space across which connective tissue spans on the other side.
You could think of this in terms of increasing or decreasing stretch. You could also think of this in terms of increasing or decreasing connective tissue tension (which isn't the same as muscle activation.)
With a bicycle wheel, add tension to all spokes evenly and the hub will be equidistant from the rim at all points, not matter how much tension is added. However, adjust tension in the spokes in the right way and you could displace the hub relative to the rim (or vice versa.)
As an example, tighten the spokes on the right side of the wheel and loosen them on the left and your'll slide the hub to the right relative to the rim.
Now lets say the change was driven by an outside force. Push the hub to the right while keeping the rim stable and you might just dispace the hub relative to the rim. How do you then figure out that displacement via the spokes? By the amount of tension in the spokes on the right side compared to the tension in the spokes on the left.
Lying on your back with your eyes closed, and imagining that all you can feel is changes in tension in your connective tissue (your muscles stay relaxed) if someone picks up your right leg and moves it towards your chest, at some point you'll feel an increase in hamstring tension that tells you that your leg is being flexed at the hip.
Lying on your belly and having someone bent your leg at the knee so that your heel moves towards your butt, you may feel at some point your quadriceps and hip flexors being stretched, and again that can tell you what is happening to your body.
The only problem with these two scenarios is that they require your tissues to be lengthened before you can get any sort of sense of what is happening.
And so for someone who is "tight" they'll get sensory data a lot sooner than someone who is loose.
In either case it's like driving on a road with cat's eyes. If you were using the cat eyes to sense when you go to the edge of your lane, you only sense it when you feel the tires bumping over them.
And that's the reason we need muscles as part of our proprioceptive sensor suite.
Because unless connective tissue is stretched there is little or no sensory information. And only muscle activation can create the tension in any situation.
It's like playing with your iphone. It only works if it has power. You can touch your iphone all you want but if it isn't turned on it isn't going to sense your loving touch.
If you want to turn on your powers of proprioception you need to turn on your muscles.
This doesn't mean that you ignore proprioception via stretching. It means that with muscle control you can develop your proprioceptive ability across a fuller range of movement.
Frictional muscle control teaches you how to improve muscle control and proprioception by using friction. Friction can be helpful for developing proprioception even if you are very mobile, but not very strong.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
PDF or Video
The standing forward bend yoga pose can be used to stretch or strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It can also be used to stretch and strengthen the calves and as a balance exercise.
Yoga forward bends includes forwards bends for the hips and spine. Forward bends for the hips include both bent and straight straight positions.
Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
The small actions in this standing psoas stretch can be used to stretch both the upper and lower fibers of the psoas muscle.
Variations of the standing psoas stretch that use the same basic actions.
Here's a break down of the steps of Ashtanga Yoga Surya Namaskar A to make this sun salutation easier to learn and remember.
A reclining psoas stretch I learned from a Richard Freeman Workshop. The better you understand your anatomy the easier it is to work on your body effectively.
The hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch and improve flexibility of the hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.