Use your Skintelligence for better yoga, fitness and posture

Image credit: Flickr: Lululemon AthleticaThe term Skintelligence coined by movement specialist Mary Bond refers to our sense of touch and the brilliant connection between the skin of our hands (and feet) and our posture and coordination.

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. 


New Rules of Posture by Mary Bond


It’s intelligent

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.

Try this:

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.

Try this:

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.

Everday activities

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.

Find a more in-depth and fascinating discussion of this topic in:

The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World

Image Credit: Flickr-Lululemon Athletica

Image Credit:

Author: Shari Zisk

Shari Zisk B.A., has been a fitness professional for over 20 years. She was born, raised and spent most of her fitness career in British Columbia, Canada. She now lives in the United States splitting time between Los Angeles and Atlanta. Shari writes full time about how to sweat, nourish and glow!

6 thoughts on “Use your Skintelligence for better yoga, fitness and posture

  1. Thanks so much for this! What an informative and thought-provoking post. I may have to check out her book. Meanwhile, I’ll be working to hone my skintelligence!

  2. Thanks so much for your feedback. I look forward to hearing about how you apply your skintelligence. It is such a simple concept yet so powerful, I use it every single day.

  3. I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about it, especially in studying/practicing yoga. I’ve even read some others’ reviews of Mary’s book, but they didn’t mention this facet (that I recall). I’m very excited to be awakened to this area. I’ll try to come back and let you know about my experiences!

  4. I’ve been thinking about skintelligence here and there, but forgetting a lot. I got the book, though, so I’m hoping that will help!

  5. Thanks for the update. I often forget too during my daily life but am always aware during my Yoga practice. I hope you enjoy the book.
    On the topic of hands, I am doing the 14-hour MELT Method Hand and Foot training next week. Have you heard of it?

  6. I think I saw the MELT Method book in the store. I didn’t know they had trainings! That’s awesome. I can’t wait to hear about it.

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