When we have an incorrect map of where our body parts fit together, and where they live in space, we move according to the body map, not according to our true size, structure and function. We are the only animals that can distort our bodies based on what we believe. Just as imagining a perfect gymnastic routine is a rehearsal that helps Olympic gymnasts win, incorrect beliefs about our body can rehearse our posture into painful distortions. Body Mapping can correct that.
If you imagine your head is supported at the back of the neck where the bones of the spinous processes can be felt, you might push your head forward, straining both the front and back neck muscles, resulting in back or neck pain or headaches. You may not be aware that the weight-bearing portion of the spine in the neck is in the center, approximately in alignment with the ears.
If you thought the shoulder joint was at the top or front of the shoulder, you may have frozen the muscles around your collar bone, and may move your arms stiffly, without ever being able to take advantage of their full range of motion. You may have a forward curl to your shoulders, and pain between your shoulder blades, where the rhomboid muscles are stretched perpetually in their longest position and can never return to a shorter resting length.
When someone, like a parent, told you to have better posture, it went into the “shoulds” file, what you were doing “wrong”. You might have then forced muscles into an artificial position to please someone else. This creates more tension. Instead, having an awareness of the body, a correct body map, allows you to reawaken an easy and natural sense of movement.
You may want to find an Alexander instructor in your area. Barbara Conable has a great DVD available online, Move Well, Avoid Injury.
Or, if you are in the Portland area and if you want to learn a correct body map, release out of unconscious posture patterns, wake up from Sensory Motor Amnesia and return to ease with greater body awareness, give me a call. (503) 708-2911