How often do you sit down in a quiet space, and let your attention drift over your body? How often do you allow yourself to feel how you really feel? To notice what’s happening in your fingers, your toes, your knees and elbows, your back and your belly, in your nose and in your ears?
Honestly, you don’t do it often enough.
Let’s get comfortable with a bit of anatomical language:
Signals in the body travel on two paths: efferent and afferent fibers.
The efferent system sends information from the brain and spinal cord out to muscles and other systems (“bicep – CONTRACT!”). One process on the path to getting stronger is improving the quality and amplitude of signals traveling along the efferent nervous system.
The afferent system sends information from sense organs (eyes, ears, sensory nerve endings in fingers and toes) to the brain for processing.
Meet your Golgi tendon organs.
Among the signals sent along the afferent nervous system is data from the Golgi tendon organs, which tell you brain about the tension in muscles, and is translated by your brain into information about a limb’s position. When you successfully bend your elbow to 90 degrees with your eyes closed, that’s because of this feedback being sent along the afferent nervous system.
Your afferent nervous system is only as strong as you make it.
Build it by paying more attention to the feedback it transmits. Spend time feeling your muscles, your skin, your joints. Be curious. Meditate on your physical being. Don’t judge what you see. Just stay in the moment and see it.
Want help feeling it? Need to make friends with your afferent nervous system? That’s what we do when we strength train, when we suffer together, and when we play in our 3M [Movement, Mobility, Meditation] Class. We’d love to see you.