Guest blog by Carrie Heeter, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University |
The first time you do a movement is an experiment. Repeating the movement becomes a pattern. Patterns solidify into structure.
So how is Yoga an experiment? And what do patterns have to do with Yoga?
Try this exercise.
Close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose with the tip of your index finger. That first attempt is an experiment.
Now repeat the movement five times. Probably, as you figured out how to do it, your precision got better. You’re developing a neurological pattern.
If you continue to do this movement regularly, subtle changes in the structure of the connective tissue that holds your body together will occur in your arm, hand, neck, and back to help your body support this movement.
With repetition, how you hold and move your body shapes the structure of your body.
When you try a new yoga movement, your first attempt is an experiment. Then you develop a neurological pattern of how to do that movement.
Repetition begins to subtly change the structure of your body (your fascia), solidifying support for that specific set of movements and posture.
Imagine a body that only does forward bends. That body becomes great at forward bends but less able to do other movements!
The expression “being stuck in your ways” applies to bodies as well as minds.
Fascia expert Tom Meyers suggests that you “do yoga badly at least once a week,” rather than seeking the same perfect form every time.
So, move in different ways, not just one way. And experience the experiment.
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Carrie Heeter, PhD, RYS200
Carrie Heeter, PhD, RYS200, is a meditation designer, research scientist, and author of the book An Inside Look at Meditation: Experiences for healing, support, and transformation. She has studied yoga one-on-one with her mentor Marcel Allbritton and participated in Yoga Well courses and trainings for more than a decade. She is a retired professor of interactive media and serious games at Michigan State University