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Yoga Moves For Improved Proprioception

Proprioception is the body’s ability to transmit a sense of position, analyze that information and react (consciously or unconsciously) to the stimulation with the proper movement.

There are three systems in the body that contribute to the function of balance: the visual system, the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system. The proprioceptive system is composed of sensory receptors in the muscles and tendons that inform the central nervous system as to the varying lengths of muscles, as well as force loads traveling through tendons. This notifies us as to how and where our body and limbs are oriented in space.

Balance training fine-tunes the senses that allow you to fly up a flight of stairs without looking at your feet, called proprioception.

How it works?

Receptors exist in our muscles which recognize when the length of the muscle fibers are changing. These act as a protective mechanism for the muscles. With excessive lengthening of a muscle, a reflex will be initiated which will cause the muscle to contract in order to prevent a ligament sprain or muscle strain injury. A similar regulation system exists in tendons, but it instead is dependent on the force being loaded through the tendon rather than on its length. These two regulatory systems of the muscles and tendons contribute to what is known as proprioception.

Special Consideration

When designing any proprioception training program, one need to consider the client’s age, body weight, level of competition and footwear.

Yoga Asanas

Balance postures build  flexibility and enhance your proprioceptive sense, developing your inner awareness and feeling of balance.

Certain yoga exercises are designed to challenge balance.

Surya Namaskara: Maintain 5 rounds of Sun Salutation A with full awareness of the breath. Again, practice, 2 – 5 rounds of Sun Salutation B. Try to practice sun salutation in succession of 10 rounds.

Yoga Poses like Utkatasana , Padangusthasana, Padahastasana,  Supta Virasana, Malasana I,  Tadasana/ Samasthitih, Vriksha-asana, Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana,  Natarajasana,  Ardha Chandrasana practiced regularly  consciously on left/right side can help enhance proprioception.

Remember to start the training with simple exercises and increase the complexity as proprioception improves. To increase complexity, change variables such as the surface used; the distance covered; the duration of the activity; or the weight of the objects used.

Above all, be creative and have fun with these proprioception exercises.

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