Saturday, November 28, 2009

Internal Structure: Part 4 – Kinesthetic Awareness and Proprioception

This is the final part of a series which presented the way I now understand internal structure. Part 1 presented a way to view internal structure / posture. Part 2 presented ideas about structural integration. Part 3 presented my session-by-session experience with Rolfing. Part 4 concludes with Kinesthetic Awareness and Proprioception.
Proprioception and kinesthetic awareness are often terms that are used interchangeably but they actually mean two separate things.

Proprioception is an inner sense (the central nervous system) while kinesthetic awareness is an external sense (the body in space and time). However, they do work together and impact each other.
A quick internet search on “zhan zhuang” proprioception, or on “zhan zhuang” kinesthetic awareness yields a wide range of reading material, data.

My purpose here is not to restate what others have said on this topic (Scott Phillips’ 12/08/07 blog post has a nice article titled: Proprioception and Kinesthetic Awareness ) but rather to “top off” this series with this topic.

Although I’ve come to a new conceptualization of my mind and body as being a unified whole and I’ve experienced many structural integration sessions, the question remains:
Have these concepts and bodywork sessions helped me develop the kinesthetic awareness and proprioception to consciously feel my internal connectedness?
I would have to say: No. And why not? Because:

1. Concepts do not result in feeling.
2. Going external does not develop internal.
Certainly, Rolfing has improved my structure/posture. Before and after pictures from sessions irrefutably show a dramatic structural change. Rolfing has done what it said it would do.

However, I made a mistake in expecting an external therapy to develop my internal ability to feel. I believed I was making quick progress from seeing my structure improve but I never learned to feel on my own. If I continued on this path, it could take me longer to “get the feeling” than if I were to simply open myself to my kinesthetic perception with whatever structure I have. I used an external method (Rolfing) to create a space (a temporary feeling of internal connectedness) that I couldn't yet create myself.

So now I’ve learned to stop “going external”, to stop thinking about, imagining, visualizing and comparing what others say the internal feeling is like and focus on simply noticing and feeling what is already in here. You are where you are and that’s where you start. Relax... Calm down… Feel…

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1 comment:

  1. Let me say first that I wish blogspot offered a default for "comment website" because I'll never prefer my Google ID over my site name. But I had to comment because I like your work.

    I don't think you made a mistake. I think your path has been thorough and exacting. The breath-work you've done to get through such extensive Rolfing is an internal exercise. Nice work.

    You may not need anymore Structural Integration, but still...nice work. Life is integrated. Standing meditation is unlikely to produce good structure. So again...nice work.

    I enjoy your thorough accounts of progress too.


    Steven Smith