Getting Out of a Movement Rut

This months ezine is “gifted” to us from one of my mentors Pam Kamoku (yep, Maui-based).  She wrote so eloquently that I couldn't resist passing it on (with her permission.)   Enjoy!!

Aloha! Getting out of a movement rut

Have you ever felt like you have fallen into a rut? It turns out that your nervous system can form habits too, almost without you knowing about it. Not that this is always a bad thing. Getting into a "nervous system rut" simply means that you have done something enough times that you can repeat it consistently, on a kind of subconscious autopilot.

If you duplicate a movement pattern enough times, part of your subconscious brain (the subcortex) eventually takes over. It's as if it tells your conscious mind, "okay, I got you pal, I got this movement memorized. I'll take over from here."

When this happens the part of your brain you more consciously control (the motor cortex) goes on to learn something else. This is great if you want to learn how to accurately and consistently pitch a ball, ride a bike, or play a certain musical piece from memory.

However, problems arise when you learn the wrong movement pattern. These become very hard habits to break. Unsurprisingly, poor movement patterns (ruts) are at the root of many everyday aches, such as neck and shoulder pain, low back problems, and joint issues. For example, your body remembers every time you tighten your neck or shoulder muscles while hunching over your computer, steering wheel, or the dinner table. This predisposes you to overusing those small muscles in other movements, whether or not they are truly needed to complete each task. This unintentional overuse can create soreness, tension and headaches.

The bottom line is, if your nervous system is stuck in a rut, it's easy to fall victim to patterns of tightness that are "memorized" in your body. Take a moment to scan your own body now. Do you notice any tension in certain areas? What would life be like without it? While many times an injury prevents healthy movement from happening, sometimes there is literally just a communication breakdown. This is sometimes referred to as "sensory motor amnesia."

Here's the good news: Yoga can retrain your subcortex, and get your nervous system out of its rut. As a yoga therapist, my job is to help your brain's messages travel easily and effectively from your brain to your muscles. In other words, it's to promote motor communication, and to help you relearn ways of moving that get you out of pain. Everyone needs to shift gears sometimes. And sometimes, it's your subcortex that needs to get out of the rut!

Take care of yourself and the ones you love, Pam

Check out Pam’s site Ease in Motion for more of her words of wisdom! <>