Applying Balance & Mobility Training

Hello, movement friends!

Erin presented so much in her Balance & Mobility training lesson! Just so that we are all on the same page, here is a quick review: fluid flows past the tiny hairs that line the semicircular canals, telling us about head rotation. Meanwhile, the movement of tiny crystals made of calcium carbonate, called otolith organs, inside the utricle and saccule send information to the brain about linear acceleration and our body's relationship to gravity.

Thanks to these elements of the vestibular system, we sense angular motion (as when you turn your head side to side to say "no,") linear motion (acceleration and deceleration), and tilt or pitch (as when you nod your head up and down to say "yes.").

Several different reflexes are directly dependent on input from the vestibular system and affect our gait, posture, and visual understanding of the world around us. Among them are the VOR (vestibulo-ocular reflex) that we studied in MWAB lesson 1, as well as the VCR (vestibulo-colic-colic reflex), and the VSR (vestibular-spinal reflex). This is why training the vestibular system is so important when we want to improve something like balance!

Erin also introduced six different types of movement we should be aware of, reminding us that we want to train all of these different positions in our movement practices, rather than just the habitual positions our society (or our movement practice) tends to stay within.

A. Translational Movements

  1. Forward & Back. "X axis."
  2. Lateral, i.e., side to side. "Y axis."
  3. Vertical, i.e., up & down. "Z axis."

B. Rotational Movements

  1. Roll side to side
  2. Pitch: extension & flexion
  3. Yaw: rotational movement

The second half of Erin's tutorial focused on different drills we can use to train these different positions to stimulate the vestibular system in our movement practice. She gave us canal bounces and chicken glides, the neck position template, the compass lunge template, and ways to progress the lunge template with knee circles, internal/neutral/external hip position, and even resistance bands to add load to that work.

But how does all of this fit into a class you might teach, you might ask?

Well, this video is a one hour yoga flow (with second sides sped way up as well as time lapses of elements of the sequence that don't reflect the specific concepts of this lesson) that I'm teaching, with the appropriate modifications for different audiences, this week. You'll see how I cue this kind of work for general audiences that aren't coming to me for neuroscience lectures so much as for a kind, relaxing movement experience.

Feel free to ask any questions, share ideas, or offer feedback or discussion points in the comments below!