Yoga-Based Birth Skill #1- Movement (Asana) - The General Physiology of Movement

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Human bodies are designed for movement, our ever moving bodies are constructed out of muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, joints, natural curves, and shock absorbers. Movement is an essential part of a healthy body’s normal function.

Natural movements occur at all of the body’s synovial joints—the “hinges” that make up and connect our skeletal frame. These joints allow for many types of movement and a huge range of motion.

Movement can arise from the actions of flexion/extension, adduction/abduction, rotation, etc, the specific type of movement is largely determined by the anatomical position of the body in space.

Your brain is the master coordinator of your body, it runs and controls just about everything the body does, even when you are asleep.

Generally speaking there are two types of movement, voluntary and involuntary, both are the result of brain function.

The cerebrum which makes up 85% of the brain’s total weight is home to the “thinking” part of the brain, conscious hard thinking, memory and reasoning.

The Motor Cortex, which is subdivided into 5 parts, is located in the frontal lobe of the cerebrum and is responsible for voluntary movement. The parts of the body that move when you tell them to move.

Voluntary muscles are constructed out of striated contractile muscle tissue, this type of tissue is capable of executing the basic motor functions that allow the ability for selective movements.

These types of movement are normally coordinated and executed by muscles under voluntary control. Your body can either execute a movement using conscious coordination of the movement or it can be left to execute the same movement automatically with little or no user input.

Voluntary movements are accomplished either on auto-pilot or by conscious direction and this is best illustrated by example:

If I were to ask you to walk across the room, you wouldn’t have to think too much about it, your body will just do it—because your body has a mind of its own.

Your “thinking” mind will initiate the movement and your Autonomic Nervous System will take care of the rest.

One of the main goals of the physical practice of Yoga (Asana) is to take the movement of voluntary muscles off of autopilot and back into consciously directed control. This practice is of great value to an aspiring Yogi who is looking to quiet her mind.

So simply asking you to walk across the room is one thing…

But saying step forward with your right foot on your inhale, step forward on your left foot with your exhale, raise your arms as you inhale, release your arms as you exhale, inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth until you reach the far side of the room is quite another.

The first is done on autopilot the second is done through conscious directed movement. Your Autonomic Nervous System still does the majority of the work even though more “thought” is entailed.

Conscious directed movement is a Yoga-Based birth skill, it puts your mind in control of the body’s voluntary actions.  Actions such as these move your thinking mind from painful obsessing to instead being a part of a solution that eliminates needless suffering.

It literally moves the mind from thinking mode to doing mode.

Movement also requires the activation of the cerebellum, which is approximately 1/8th of the size of the cerebrum. This part of the brain coordinates how your muscles work together, helps you keep your balance and move around.

This type of movement is yours to control and this is just one of the many attributes that make Movement the amazing birth skill that it is.