By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

This week’s Movement Minute Challenge is inspired by Steve Haines, an expert in biodynamic craniosacral therapy and concepts called “body-mapping” and “interoception,” which are what I’ll be breaking down today. It starts out a little woo-woo, so stay with me...

You all know we are nothing if not aficionados of the high-five… for lots of reasons. Well, recently I was talking with someone about high-fiving at the end of class and it turns out she might be an expert on body-mapping without even knowing it! She mentioned that (and I am probably equal parts paraphrasing and putting words in her mouth), due the nature of her days, the high five might be the only time she has human contact with anyone besides her family and it’s more than a celebration; it's a connection… an act that signifies we are all in this world together and working hard for a common good. In short, when we high-five we touch more than just hands. This concept - that whenever we touch someone we are touching a whole person; not just a hand or an arm - is what lays the groundwork for interoception.

A body is one whole living, breathing, and pulsing entity. We’ve already established in previous MMs that everything is interconnected and our brains have a schema of how everything is supposed to look and feel. How crazy is it that people who lose limbs still feel a “phantom” sensation of it being there even though there are no nerve signals sending information back to the brain (or how many of you have seen the fake hand trick?). We know that proprioception is the awareness of our body in space (can we hold our arm out, close our eyes, and touch our nose?) but if we hold our arm out and close our eyes, how do we know our arm is still there? That is interoception. Our brains have a map of the body and these interstitial receptors carry way more information than for proprioception (like 7 to 1!).

The VERY short of it is that the fascia and the vagal nerve are the two key players in body-mapping and people who have high vagal tone are usually happier and more trustworthy (for real… it’s crazy; check the resources in the link below). We all want to be happier, right? So let’s practice stimulating vagal tone! This week’s Movement Minute Challenge is to spend at least one minute each day: lying on the ground with your eyes closed and pressing your back into the ground (Level 1); stretching and reaching into space with your eyes closed (Level 2); or hanging and swinging from monkey bars or a pullup bar with your eyes closed (Level 3).

This Movement Minute was inspired by Episode 15 of the Liberated Body podcast.