Sensory Motor Amnesia: What Have We Forgotten?

September 28, 2013 Holistic Health,Yoga
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Soap operas invoke “amnesia” as a clichéd plot twist that leaves the character vulnerable to old adversaries. Hours of sitting in front of screens generates a less dramatic but possibly more insidious forgetting: sensory motor amnesia.

Thomas Hanna coined this term for the neuromuscular atrophy that results from a lack of movement. Increasing stiffness limits our ability to consciously contract and relax our muscles. Hanna questioned the inevitably of aging and suggested that SMA causes our decline.

When teaching, I witness the consequences of SMA daily. With yoga newbies, I use slow and explicit cues. Beyond competency, out of shape folks need extra time to process instructions. One client actually repeated my directions out loud to figure out the movements.

With conscious training, we reclaim motor control and enliven dull tissues. After most classes, a student approaches me a realization,  “Wow, I didn’t know my hips are so tight.”

I contend that SMA is more than a muscular or neurological condition. As we stop moving we lose the joy of dancing, the satisfaction of physical labor, and the rejuvenation of  exercise. We no longer hear the whispers of the body. Many of us are paralyzed and stuck in pain. We lose a sense of self.

Even late into life we can dismantle the limited patterns that confine our physical expression. It’s as easy as going barefoot, playing with kids, trying a new sport, or practicing a martial art.

We start by moving and paying attention. Establishing a movement practice may not be as gripping as the soaps. Yet reconnecting our mind to our movements could alter our fate.

Sadie has a way of helping my body close the gap between how it is moving and how it should be moving, helping me become a better athlete, co-worker, and friend.

Jessica C.

Sadie puts the fun in hard work! She pushes you to limits you didn’t think you could achieve while offering an upbeat and encouraging atmosphere. I LOVE Sadie!!

Cait S.

Sadie brings extraordinary dimension to her teaching. Her deep knowledge of anatomy combined with her vibrant sense of humor leaves you walking out of each class feeling lighter, moving better, and just plain happier!

Erin D.

Sadie has a passion in what she does and has pushed me to do things I never thought I could. Workouts with Sadie are always fun and full of sass!

Darcy C.

Sadie brings extraordinary dimension to her teaching. Her deep knowledge of anatomy combined with her vibrant sense of humor leaves you walking out of each class feeling lighter, moving better, and just plain happier! – Erin D.

Erin D.

Sadie has a way of helping my body close the gap between how it is moving and how it should be moving, helping me become a better athlete, co-worker, and friend.

Jessica C.

Sadie puts the fun in hard work! She pushes you to limits you didn’t think you could achieve while offering an upbeat and encouraging atmosphere. I LOVE Sadie!!! – Cait S.

Cait S.