The movement system is not only doing movement.
It also has to do with our feelings, perceptions or sensations which arise.
The nervous system and feedback loops play a role in how well you move and feel.
Of course, life happens.
You may well know 80% of North Americans over the age of 40 can experience some sort of back pain/issue this year. From mild to getting a most unfavorable jolt sent from the spinal cord to get our attention.
And it doesn't take much of a movement to experience a back spasm (or a calf cramp, for example).
If you've been there, you know immediately how your movement system can get locked up. Along with the agony the experience.
On the flip side, when you move well..
You can be aware of any number of feelings or sensations.
The key is knowing what to do when we experience negative feelings.
3 Part Act
Our fix is to learn how to be conscious of physical sensations as they arise during an entire act of a movement.
We break it down into 3 easy parts or acts.
This way you can focus on each one where there is a beginning, a middle and an end.
Remember those 17 layers of connections...
Ya Gotta Make the Connection
What you feel, sense or notice (or not) as you move or are sitting while reading this too.
In the example of arching the back where ideally the hips move forwards...
You are sending a message from the brain to generate tension. The lower back contracts to help move (or roll) the hips forwards.
Again, doing a movement is one thing. The main thing is: what or how does this feel to you?
While it can feel good or bad or indifferent. Did you feel how much or little tension you need to feel the hips moving forwards?
Go Big or Not at All
Some people will go big and make a big movement thrusting the spine forwards.
While other people will need not much at all.
In fact, even if you imagine your lower back arching. Which you may have to do with your eyes closed to tune into it.
It is possible to feel the tension you generate even at a low or the lowest level by using your imagination.
Of course, it is OK to move in your comfortable range of motion.
It's when negative signals come up, that you learn to use that to your benefit.
Hooray for Negativity
Let me repeat!
Yes! You can learn to use negative signals to your benefit.
This can help you back down your effort to being as comfortable as you can.
Of course, you may be in a state of chronic pain. So it won't take much to upset the apple cart.
So going small or using your imagination will do the job for the time being.
More to the Connection
If you don't feel a thing while doing or imagining the movement, then you've been SMA'd.
Let's say you are lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat.
Then you attempt to arch the lower back and you don't feel it, that is OK. Could you feel if your head responded or moved while you engaged the lower back to move the hip bones?
As the song goes, "the hip bone is connected to the neck bone".
It might be: subtle!
It may be so subtle since you were focusing your attention on arching the back. You may not have tuned into what your head was doing or how your neck or upper spine felt.
Or you may have started to think. And get this, when you think certain muscles can in fact contract.
Do you dare venture into the Somatics zone?
Sit and feel what thinking actually feels like. If you do - depending upon the thought - you may actually feel certain parts of yourself tighten up or move.
Deepen or Widen the Connection
Say you didn't feel the head moving. You could check lower down to notice if you can feel the weight shift in your feet as you arched the back or rolled the pelvis.
In any case, if you did or didn't feel it, it gives you information.
Remember those chains of connections from above?
When you check in with a little more awareness or focus, you begin to reconnect. The information changes or clarifies.