What Is Body Awareness?
Body awareness is defined as the
“Recognition of parts of one’s own body, their relative position during movement, and their relationship to the environment”
According to Oxford Reference. It is an awareness between body and mind. A person’s level of awareness is dependent on their capacity to perceive information from all of their senses. Someone who is aware of their body has the ability to listen to it at any given moment, and to know what their body is doing and telling them about their position in space. Most humans have awareness interpersonally, or within themselves, without even realizing it.
How It Helps You?
Body awareness can tell you when you have a stomachache. It helps you acknowledge how you lift your leg off the floor, as well as recognize the muscles that engage to be able to do so. Even in something as simple as knowing how far apart to stand from people, it plays a key role. Young children need a better understanding of their developing body, and practice in the form of classes such as creative movement, basic dance, gymnastics, and more can provide aid to the natural process of gaining that awareness. As they get older, children will gradually develop greater flexibility, strength, and control over their movements in the form of gross, and ultimately, fine motor skills.
Human Body Is Intelligent
Interestingly, young children are particularly in tune with their innate abilities to notice sensory signals coming from within their bodies. Especially when they can’t yet speak, their cries communicate when they’re tired or hungry, both of which are ques coming from their internal systems. Our bodies have ways of knowing what we need, we connect the que for that need from our bodies to our brain in order to carry out or fulfill the need.
Based on the same science that tells us that children acknowledge their bodies’ ques by crying, it can also make a connection to our emotions. For instance, if your mind-body connection is off, your perception of yourself may be skewed. The way you perceive your body in a certain state may lead you to believe that you shouldn’t wear a particular piece of clothing and that you should wear something else that you deem more “appropriate” instead.
Other Can Help With Body Awareness
That awareness, based on your perception of your body, brings you to a conclusion that negatively affects your self-esteem and self-image. “I’m not a good dancer,” you tell yourself. That conclusion you’ve drawn is based on evidence that your brain has looked for in the way your body has been performing or has performed in the past. Maybe you are aware that your balance has been off, so you are having difficulty completing full turns without falling over. That awareness leads you to believe that you are not a good dancer and makes you feel some kind of negative way about yourself. it can also be received by others.
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Just as you are able to do with yourself, you are able to read the body language of others and gain awareness of a given situation. You may be able to tell that a person across the room is not single based on the way they interact with the person next to them. You can perceive when a person may be acting in a flirtatious way, and when they’re not. Body-awareness and body language serve as forms of communication and can be used to begin, end, and perceive the status of various relationships. The same can be said for those relationships with family and friends. Your body gives off energy, and energy communicates. You can read and gain awareness of the energy in a room, and you can also affect that energy by how you present yourself.
How you hold yourself tells others many things about you. Someone may perceive you as aloof, unhappy, or uncomfortable if your arms are crossed and your eyebrows are scrunched. You may come off as relaxed and easy-going if you lean on a chair or a wall while interacting with someone. Confidence will exude your person if you walk with proper posture and hold your head high.
What Studies Suggest?
Scientific studies actually state that standing in Superman pose before working through something difficult gets you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the task. It turns your muscles on, and makes you breathe in more oxygen, which calms you down. The pose helps you become more alert and present, and to see and feel more clearly and purposefully. You are able to arrive in a specific mental space that makes you feel ready. You can change your mood, and sometimes that of others, by changing your body and their awareness of you. If you look better, you tend to feel better. It is also important to fitness.
Executing Exercises Rightly
Being aware of the body’s position in space helps in executing exercises correctly with good form, which will, in turn, help to prevent injury. In a stretch class which you attend to gradually improve your body’s range of motion over time, it is going to keep you from stretching too far or pushing too hard because you can tell when to stop by the feeling in your muscles and your body’s reaction to reaching a certain extent. If you were to be injured, it could help you improve the injured body part by progressively working up to stretching further. Being aware of those signals from your body can help your mind figure out what’s going on. In dance or other fitness classes, you listen to the instructor for information on how to move your body. Being able to ingest that information and then apply the physical moves is reinforcing the mind-body connection that is crucial to having comprehensive body recognition.
Heightened awareness may even enhance a workout because you are able to tell how hard your muscles are actually working, and how much further you can push yourself. You may hold a pilé in dance class, then add a pulse because you know it will provide an additional burn. In everyday life, it comes into play in everything we do. When walking, it keeps you from cutting corners short or tripping on stairs. It helps you to not miss when reaching for doorknobs. It is something that happens automatically, but it’s something you can keep sharp by exercising. It comes down to extending the longevity of your body wherever possible. As we get older, we need to work on our body more, as some of our mind-body connections start to weather and lessen. Similarly to children building their body recognition for the first time, practice aids improvement. While awareness is a natural developmental process, it is also learned.
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Listen to Your Body
People can be taught coordination, and to tell right from left. Balance can be taught and consistently improved so that we don’t fall. It also tells us when we may need to see a professional, such as a doctor, dentist, or chiropractor. It’s important to listen to your body because when something is wrong, it doesn’t know anything else to do other than to scream, cry, and make noise so that you hear it. If there is a problem, your body has ways of telling you, and being aware of those signals will tell you when to address those needs.