• Children inspired by yoga

2. Our Sensations - the food for our brains

Welcome to this third post in a series of blogs discussing key thoughts on harnessing the power of Yoga for sleeping, resting, playing and of course learning at home.




In our introductory blog we introduced five key thoughts


Five key thoughts

  1. Appreciate your child’s, and your own, levels of alertness and how this varies during the day

  2. Get in touch with all your sensations – these are food for our brains!

  3. Understand how sensory experiences can help regulate our alertness levels

  4. Become a sensory detective for your child (and yourself). Discover the sensations which alert or calm your child, and you. We are all different.

  5. Use our yoga poses and bespoke music to gain that 'just right level of alertness'


We have explored the first thought 'Levels of Alertness' and now we move onto thought 2, inspired by one of my favourite quotes from an Occupational Therapist called Jean Ayres.


"You can think of sensations as 'food for the brain'; they provide the knowledge needed to direct the body and mind"

(Sensory Integration and the Child 2005)


It all starts with sensation. From birth, the sensations we experience drive us to seek food, explore the world, and interact with others. Sensations network and build our brains.


We learn about the five sensations: touch, hearing, sight, smell and taste. But we have three more: proprioception, our vestibular sense and interoception.

Proprioception: our sense of spatial awareness. This sensation tells us how our limbs relate to our body and how our body relates to our limbs! To test your proprioception, stretch your arms out wide, then bring your index fingers together in front of you – so your fingertips touch. Now repeat the movement with your eyes closed. Your fingertips still touch, or are pretty close? This is your proprioceptive sense working.


Every time we move we stimulate our proprioceptive sense, but activities and movements which work our muscles hard are regarded as ‘proprioceptive rich’. Movements which involve pushing, pulling, lifting, stretching, squeezing give lots of proprioceptive input.

Dog pose is proprioceptive rich - it works muscles hard to push body weight up off the floor!



Vestibular sense: this sense is about balance and movement. Our vestibular sense, along with sight and proprioception, keep us balanced and our head safe.


Receptors for this sense are located in our inner ear, this is why a heavy cold may affect our balance. We stimulate our vestibular sense when we move our heads – especially if we jump, swing or spin!



Interoception: the eighth and little-known sense. This sense tells us about the internal condition of our body. It allows us to experience sensations such as: a dry mouth, growling stomach, full bladder or racing heart. When we are aware of these body sensations we can experience essential emotions linked to them i.e. thirst, hunger, urge to go to the toilet, anxiety or excitement. "At the most basic level, interoception allows us to answer the question, “how do I feel?” in any given moment." (Kelly Mahler https://www.kelly-mahler.com/what-is-interoception/)


In the next blog we will link our levels of alertness to our sensations..

Best wishes

Sue



Be apart together

Movement with a yoga twist, so good for mental and physical wellbeing. Our great franchisees continue to support their communities. Find out about virtual classes running in your local area at https://www.beaparttogether.com/virtual-classes




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