After reading Bond’s book The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World several months ago I developed a whole new respect for the palms of my hands and feet. I am amazed after observing the powerful role of my skin in my strength workouts, yoga practice and posture in general.
There are thousands of nerve receptors on the palms of our hands. It is with these nerves that we first began to explore and understand the world. How you touch things influences how your posture adjusts.
Simply brush the finger tips of your left hand over the palm of your right hand. Observe the sensations. Then brush the same two fingers over any other part of the body and observe the muted sensation.
Are you an over-gripper?
When we over-grip we lose some of that sensation and are unable to use our skintelligence to manipulate the
“when you grip things tightly, you are using your hands for stabilization and blocking their expressive and information gathering gifts” -New Rules of Posture
The effects on our posture is immediate.
The next time you are driving, clench the steering wheel tightly and observe how the muscles of the neck, shoulders and jaw tighten up to attempt to maintain control. Notice how much ease of movement is lost and the amount of tension that builds after only a short time. Now try sensing the steering wheel with only the skin of your hands.
Observe how relaxed the jaw, neck and shoulders are and how easy it is to sense and maneuver the road.
“The sense of touch accesses deeper integration within our nervous system than does our muscle sense” –New Rules of Posture
I see this as a personal trainer all the time. One of the most common cues I give is “relax your grip”. Both new and experienced exercisers hold their weights and equipment with a death grip in an attempt to control and move the weight. The result is tension right up through the shoulder girdle, choppy and uncontrolled movements and early onset fatigue in all the wrong places. I now cue my clients to “feel the weight with the skin of your hand” and this is a more effective cue.
Tips for using your skintelligence
When you workout
While working out try to sense the dumbbells machines, handles, balls etc…. with the skin of your hands. Notice how much information you can gather with the lighter grip and how the tension through the entire shoulder girdle releases when you simply rely on information from the skin.
During your yoga practice
Sense the mat with the skin of your hands and feet. I have been practicing this during my balance postures and notice an immediate improvement in stability as soon as I draw attention to how my skin contacts the mat. My balance postures have improved considerably and I feel stronger and more stable in most poses and feel an increased sense of being able to ‘just be’ in the pose.
During your everyday life practice your activities of daily living by sensing with the skin of your hands. Washing dishes, typing, folding laundry, cooking. Notice how much all your movements seem to flow better when you allow the wisdom of the skin of your hands to tell your body how to adjust.
Image Credit: Flickr-Lululemon Athletica
Image Credit: http://healyourposture.com/new-rules-book/