Improving body awareness makes it easier to fix problems yourself when they arise.
As an example, I was experiencing shoulder pain when lifting my arms or reaching them out to the sides. It also strongly inhibited my ability to do wheel pose.
While meditating on the muscles of my body I moved my focus to my diaphragm. I noticed that the right side wasn't activating, or at least wasn't activating as much as the left side.
There was a noticeable lack of sensation on my right side compared to my left. In particular I could feel a change in sensation on the left side of my waist but not my right. I then focused on trying to activate my diaphragm in such a way that it created the same feeling on both sides.
At the time I didn't think this related to my shoulder pain. But then while doing wheel pose I decided to focus on activating my diaphragm, along with contracting the psoas (which had been my main focus for so long I'd forgotten to be aware of everything else.) I focused on pulling my kidneys towards my throat to activate my psoas.
Guess what. No shoulder pain. Wheel pose actually felt easier. Not easy, but easier than it had been in a while.
If I'd come across this by accident, (which I sort of did,) but didn't know about body awareness, I could just have done a post called "the diaphragm is connected to the shoulder" and taught people how to fix their shoulder pain by making sure that their diaphragm was fully operational.
The problem with that "formulaic approach" is that shoulder pain may or may not be caused by a partially inactive diaphragm.
Instead, what I am trying to sell is the idea of improving both body awareness and ones ability to control their own body
By being increasingly more body aware I can learn to feel which muscles are activating or deliberately activate (or relax muscles) by looking for the feeling of activation or relaxation.
I can notice what is active and what is not and I can make choices. Hmm, lets try to activate the diaphragm and see what happens. Now what if I relax this muscle.... ah, not such a good idea. I'll keep that relaxed...
By being aware of my body I can fault find it, I can become my own mechanic.
(To feel my diaphragm one exercise I do is belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing.)
It reminds me of a time my dad picked me up on his motorbike.
It was night time and when he started his bike the headlight didn't work.
I can't remember what we checked, or if we checked anything at all. I think we assumed the bulb was busted and so we rode home in stealth mode.
Later on checking the manual, we decided to check the fuses.
Dagnabbit, the fuse for the headlight was oversize and it'd slipped from it's brackets.
A simple fix and if we'd checked we could have sorted out the problem before we road home.
A similiar incident occurred when I was in the army. My job was fixing guns.
On the ranges someone was having a problem with their machine gun not feeding properly.
I took a quick look and figured out that the top cover feed mechanism was broken so replaced the top cover. Later on taking a closer look I found that the problem was that a clip had fallen of.
I could have fixed the problem by just replacing that tiny little clip.
Now I had to clean the top cover I'd taken of so that I could put it back in our spares pack.
While I had fixed the problem the fix wasn't as elegant as it could have been had I looked a little bit more closely.
When we work at improving body awareness we develop the ability to fault find our own body. sense our body so that we can do the equivalent of being able to check a fuse or see if a clip has fallen of. But instead of using our eyes we use other senses.
Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.
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.
Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.
Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.
A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.
Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.
The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.
Fluid tensegrity joint anatomy looks at the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?
Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.
How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?
Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.
Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.
Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?
Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.
Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.
An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?
Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.
Back strengthening yoga poses can be used to strengthen the back of the body including hamstrings, glutes and both the lower and upper back.
A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.
Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.