3 Proprioception Exercises to Improve Your Yoga Practice
Try these three moves to increase self-awareness.
Doing yoga requires a certain level of awareness of your body. You need to know your body and be able to feel when you’re doing your yoga poses correctly so you can reap the most benefits from your practice. Another word for this self-awareness of the body is proprioception. It comes into play when, for example, you’re watching TV in a dark room, but you still know the distance between your arm and the table holding your drink and you’re capable of grabbing it without really looking.
The three proprioception exercises below are fun, enlightening, and will help you in the pursuit of self-awareness.
By Lara Falberg
1. Step off your mat
Begin at the top of your mat and close your eyes. Begin to walk backward, aiming for the back of your mat. When you think you’ve landed there, open your eyes to witness how close you came and how close you stayed to the outer edge of your mat. Now try it walking forward.
Ready to increase the challenge? Step at least three inches away from your mat at the beginning of the exercise so you’re less likely to try to find the mat with the edge of your foot as you’re walking backward.
Resist the urge to cheat and open your eyes. It took me at least three tries before I was willing and able to do it with my eyes closed the whole time.
2. Film yourself practicing
Sports teams review game videos as a regular part of understanding what’s not working. Seeing how you actually move versus how you think you’re moving is an exceptionally helpful way to make changes.
Do this regularly. And when you practice, do so as if you’re being filmed. I know this can feel a bit intimidating and might cause a bit of self-consciousness. But trust that it will quickly turn into self-awareness. You’ll begin to notice and feel things you never have before.
3. Practice mat-to-mat
Either find a very crowded yoga class to attend or get together with some yoga-loving friends and set the group intention of proprioception. When you have no choice but to consider the people on either side of you, in front of you, and behind you, this skill-set will become much more attainable.
You can also do this while practicing a little yoga the next time you find yourself on a plane. Any crowded and/or small space ensures you’ll have to practice with more thoughtfulness.
Proprioception: The Takeaway
Remember, these proprioception exercises are meant to help us progress.
At first, it may feel uncomfortable, but the idea is to move through the discomfort to get to the underlying information that will do nothing but help us grow and flourish.
Have fun with these proprioception exercises, and let us know in the comments how they work for you.