Proprioception I

Description

You may do this in whatever position you choose: sitting, standing, laying down. You may need to adapt your actions based on your body’s position in space.

Close your eyes and keep them closed for this part of the exercise. First, touch your nose with your index finger. Then, lift up your right arm. Holding it there, wiggle your fingers. Bring your arm in back of your head, without touching it. Holding it there, wave your hand at the wrist. Bring your left arm up and touch or grasp your right hand, which is still in back of your head. Letting your arms down, raise your left leg to a 45-degree angle and wiggle your foot. Letting your left leg down, do the same with your right leg. Now, twist your torso to the left and touch your left knee with your right hand. Then twist your torso to the right and touch your right knee with your left hand.

Open your eyes. Now, do the same set of exercises with your eyes open and, as much as possible, looking at yourself doing these things.

  • How do you know where your various body parts are when doing these activities with your eyes closed and with them open?
  • How does this change between when your eyes are open and closed?
  • What happens to where you situate your sense of self when you do these exercises with your eyes open?
  • With your eyes closed? Does the sense of who you are and where you are in space shift when you pay attention to your body and its movements without resorting to the visual?
Suggested Uses

Note: we are privileging taking away sight as an external sense in this exercise in part because it is relatively easy to shut down by closing our eyes, but more importantly because the visual tends to be the most privileged sense in our cultural context and thus has a strong impact on how we relate to our physical selves.