Proprioception

Why Optic Flow Restores Us

Boosting optic flow is a powerful and effective way to nourish physical and emotional well-being. Optic flow refers to the unique sensation that occurs when you perceive your environment actively moving in relationship to your body’s movements. What’s at play here? As you walk, bike, run, or swim, objects in your environment appear to move. During a walk, for example, objects grow larger as you approach; this lets you know you’re getting closer. During a swim, you perceive the bottom of the pool (or lake or ocean) receding underneath you, or objects on the side moving as you turn your head to breathe. In optic flow your eyes move, continually updating your brain on your location. That’s not all optic flow does for you. Your visual system links closely with (read: is part of) your autonomic nervous system. Activating your sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system ignites the stress response. This dilates …

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How sexual harassment impacts our sense of personal space

Proprioception is our sixth sense. It encompasses our awareness of movement, the position of our body and its parts in space, how we occupy space, balance, the senses of effort and force and heaviness, and our posture or shape. Proprioception also includes the space around our bodies—and sometimes others’ bodies too. It involves a symphony of actions, reactions, predictions, and functions in which multiple instruments playing both in harmony and in a state of intelligent entropy.   Proprioception is not just part of our sensorium. It’s a scaffold for our sense of self. And an integral part of proprioception—and thus, our sense of self—is how we negotiate peripersonal space, the area that surrounds our bodies.  Peripersonal space is brought to us in part by the frontal and parietal regions in the brain. These regions team up with peripersonal neurons throughout our bodies in a mutual and multi-sensory network of visual, auditory, …

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Why yoga + the body are social and political

  In response to a recent email, I received several notes saying, “I didn’t sign up for your newsletter to hear about your political views.” I get that. Yet to separate integrative, mind-body approaches from politics sets up a false division between them. I’d like to explain why that is—and how it has a negative impact on well-being. Let’s start with the body.   Why Integrative Therapies are Inherently Social (and Political) From personal feelings like anger or sadness to social emotions like shame or trust, emotions have their origin as sensations in the body. As this origin story begins, receptors in your skin and internal organs collect information. These receptors specialize in distinct sensations: the speed of your heart, the pace and depth of your breath, hunger or fullness, warmth or coolness, activity or soreness in your muscles, emptiness or fullness in your abdomen (and bladder and rectum), and …

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