Body awareness is the internal understanding of how your body is positioned in the surrounding space. Body awareness is highly influenced by sensory information we receive from the movement and force of muscles and joint groups. This is called proprioceptive processing. Fascia network in your body plays a key role in gathering and transmitting the sensory information to the brain as it has 6 times more propioceptors than muscles. Fasciawear's patented tension-band structure balances and stimulates the fascia in our bodies, enabling more sensory feedback to the brain and thus making us more body aware.
In addition to monotonous strain, also stress and hurry keep our focus off the feelings of the body, and due to this we have lost part of our capability to be aware of our own bodies. That is why as a part of the pre- and post-workout exercises it’s also important to focus on improving your body awareness as well as doing some breathing exercises. By learning to listen to your body, you can also learn to monitor your workouts – you feel when it’s necessary to rest or when you can go full out.
Practicing body awareness - a 10 minute mindfulness body scan
Lay down, arms by your sides and close your eyes. Start with focusing on your breathing. Feel how the air flows in and out of your nostrils. Let go of the stress and heavy thoughts, just focus on breathing. Concentrate on feeling where in your body you feel the breathing. Scan your body from bottom to top, start from your toes and the bottom of your feet. Listen to your body and respect its feelings.
You might feel slight tingling or strong sensations. Whatever you might feel, notice it without classifying it as good or bad.
Now shift your focus to your ankles. Let your breathing flow in and out and notice what you are feeling.
Move on up to your calves and chins. Let the breathing flow. Then to your knees and thighs. Breath in, breath out. If at any point you notice your mind wondering, gently bring it back to your breathing.
Now move on up to your hip area, lower and upper back and finally to your stomach and chest area.
To your shoulders, arms and hands.
Neck and throat area, face, back of your head and the top of your head.
All the while breathing in and out and listening, how your body is feeling. Is there tension or pain? Is there a good and warm feeling?
Whatever your feeling, register the feelings without categorizing them. When you notice your mind wonder to other matters during the exercise, gently bring it back to your breathing and continue scanning the body.
Rehearsing your body awareness improves your ability to understand your own body. You learn to feel when your body is up for a high intensity exercise and when it’s smart to take it easy. At the same time, you improve your capability to understand how your body is positioned in space, which helps finding and maintaining a good posture and alignment during an exercise.
Another good exercise to raise body awareness and your capability to relax is a ‘tension and release’-exercise. The ability to relax is important for recovering properly. Tension and release exercises helps you to understand better, how your body feels like when it is tense in comparison to it being relaxed. This skill helps you to engage your muscles appropriately. Like the name says the exercise is based on flexing and releasing the muscle.
Practicing body awareness - a tension and release exercise
Focus on flexing different muscle groups for 5-10 seconds. After this let the flexed muscle relax and the tension sort of melt away. You can start the exercise from a supine position. Try to set yourself up in a tranquil environment, where you can focus only on your body.
Close your eyes and start flexing your muscles by pulling you ankles up and pushing your hams towards the platform under them, by straightening your knees.
The tension does not have to be powerful, a slight flex counting to five is enough. After that let the muscle relax. Breathe free in your own natural manner.
After that squeeze your thighs together and hold the position counting to five. Relax. Notice how it feels, when your muscles are flexed and when they’re released again.
Squeeze your fingers into a fist and push your arms towards the floor. Count to five and slowly let your muscles relax again.
Notice the feeling in your arms and legs now. Notice how your breathing feels.
Lastly squeeze your mouth and eyes shut. Now let you face relax and let all the tension melt away. Enjoy the relaxed feeling on your own for a bit.
Body awareness & breathing
Noticing your breathing helps you relax and is also beneficial for performance. Nowadays when people go about their life in a hurry for most people their breathing is shallow, and they’re only using the top part of their lungs.
Shallow breathing effects our performance, because that allows us to use only part of our lung-capability. Profound breathing helps the carbon dioxide to leave our body easier. The key element is boost exhalation.
Let your lungs be fully empty and let the inhalation happen automatically. Exhalation should take approximately twice as long as inhalation. Feel the inhalation also as movement on your sides, back and diaphragm. In exhalation the stomach flattens, and the pelvic floor muscles activate more.
Test your breathing
One of the disadvantages of too much stress, frequent breathing, can be telling of the over functioning of your sympathetic nervous system. You can test the rhythm of your breathing easily.
Sit in a tranquil location and let our breath flow freely. Don’t try to change your current breathing rhythm. Relax and calm down, but breath normally and measure how many breathing cycles (an inhalation and an exhalation = one cycle) you go through in a minute.
A normal rhythm is approximately 10 cycles in a minute. If you measured nine or less cycles, you most likely are not suffering from a stress based shallow breathing. However, if you measured ten or more cycles, you do most likely suffer from a too frequent breath rhythm and a shallow breathing due to stress.
Aim to recognize the cause of stress and think how you could control them.
Body awareness and taking care of your body
The best way to avoid injuries is by improving your body awareness skills, and by taking care of your muscle balance, good position and sufficient recovery. By learning to identify, when it’s necessary to rest and when you can go all out, you can reach you can reach your best performance and avoid injuries. You learn to understand when your body’s in balance, what has to be strengthened and what needs taking care of.
Avoid too wide changes in workouts, add load a bit by bit and let your body get used to the strain. Also, the variation of load is important – a rule of thumb could be: every fourth weeks should be taken a little bit lighter and let the body recover fully by having at least one or too full recovery days. And in workouts the value should be kept in the mobility of joints as well as taking care of the resting state of muscles.
Fasciawear improves body awareness by balancing and stimulating the fascia network in your body and guiding your breathing towards the proper use of diaphragm. Order yours today for more efficient and safe workouts.