“Muscle memory is a brain function that works through specific muscular movement acquired through practice and repetition.” (“Merriam Webster Dictionary”)
There are two classes of muscle memory: “Procedural” and “Declarative.” Declarative Muscle Memory can be recalled consciously, such as repeating facts and events. Procedural Muscle Memory usually consists of skills or routines regularly performed. For example, once you have learned how to perform a task, correctly or incorrectly, it is set in your “Procedural” and long-term memory. It takes time and practice for action or routine to become embedded in long-term memory.
However, once it is, it can be performed without much conscious attention. This may also carry some negative repercussions. For example, multi-tasking when driving. “Talking on a cell phone or reading email can create havoc, distracting the driver’s attention from focused awareness.” (“How Does It Work?” Nitin Maheta, Oct. 2014)
“The longer you practice or repeat an action, the more firmly it becomes embedded in long-term memory. (“Do You Ever Forget How to Ride A Bike?” Mahak Jalan, March 2019)
“Procedural Muscle Memory begins to develop at a very young age at the peak of learning, like riding a bike or playing a musical instrument. Once you learn it, say, researchers, you do not forget it, even if you stop an activity and attempt to pick it up again months later. There is an automatic response, as the center of Muscle Memory lies in the brain, not the muscle.” (McGill Indiana, Oxford University 2019; “Adventures in Manifesting,” Slew Yong; Nitin Maherta, “What is Muscle Memory and How Does It Work,” Health and Fitness, Oct. 2014)
However, there is a caveat to repetition stored in long term memory. For example, when learning a yoga posture that is repetitively performed, it is harder to unlearn and correct it, requiring a great deal of focus and concentration.
And, there is more. When learning to execute yoga postures correctly, old muscle memory patterns need to be replaced with new focused learning. Some muscle memory may be the result of lazy mental focus or lack of awareness, such as poor posture, If for years you indulge in standing slouched because the body is “used to it” and “carry the weight of the world on the shoulders,” our job is cut out for us. To initiate a “change,” we need to objectively scan our thoughts, actions and body to become aware of what is happening.
Learning yoga is a process of conscious awakening, creating new pathways from the brain to the muscles until the message becomes engrained in our physical anatomy and activity. If we are enveloped in a painful emotional pattern or denial of pain, we can learn to transform our mind and body learning, initiating and repeating yoga posture correctly to release the past and grow mentally, physically and emotionally. Yoga is a positive practice.
Does it work? The only way to know is to experiment with personal perception. Let’s test this theory of initiating a Yoga posture. Warier Pose is a good one to re-think if you are already familiar with practicing it for some time.
Start by standing with wide legs. What does that mean? You determine the width. Then, turn to one side with one foot turned out the and other straight. What does “straight” mean? Our definitions are a matter of personal perception. Do you visual a Warrior Pose picture from a yoga magazine or a teacher? Extend the arms to the sides, bend one leg and keep the core of the body straight. Can you visualize this posture? Strive to duplicate what is in your mind and make corrections to your form. Repeat it. Look at a Yoga video with a professional instructor and compare your posture before you begin to hold the pose and repeat it. What you create in your mind and execute repeatedly through the body, you may be stuck with for years until you awaken your consciousness.
Today, begin a new sojourn. Heighten your awareness to a deeper level. Explore your perception of “reality.” Draw independent conclusions and clear the mind of swashbuckling persuasive media hypes defining how to think.
Life is beautiful! Paint a beautiful picture to live within. Enjoy the fun of awakening consciousness. Glow with Light! Perfect and protect health with a Smile and Laugh!