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Body Mapping is the conscious correcting and refining of one’s body map to produce efficient, graceful, and coordinated movement. The body map is one’s self-representation in one’s own brain, one’s assumptions or conception of what one’s body is like, in whole or part. If our representation is accurate, movement is good. If our representation is faulty, movement suffers. When our map is corrected, the movement improves. Progress can be very rapid and a person can, over time, learn to move more naturally with greater poise.
In Body Mapping, one learns to gain access to one’s own body map through self-observation and self-inquiry.
Body maps need not be conscious. Many people exhibit fine, free body use. By experience and effective modeling during their development, they have managed to maintain complete and accurate maps unconsciously.
Those of us who do not move efficiently may benefit from carefully correcting his or her own body map by assimilating accurate information provided by kinesthetic experience, the mirror, anatomy models, books, and pictures, and teachers. One thereby learns to recognize the source of inefficient or harmful movement and how to replace it with movement that is efficient, elegant, direct, and powerful based on the truth about one’s structure, function, and size.
The power of the body map was observed by William Conable, retired professor of cello at the Ohio State University School of Music. Conable inferred the body map from the congruence of students’ movement in playing with their reports of their notions of their own structures. He observed that students move according to how they think they’re structured rather than according to how they are actually structured. When the students’ movement in playing becomes based on the students’ direct perception of their actual structure, it becomes efficient, expressive, and appropriate for making music. Conable’s observations have been confirmed by ongoing discoveries in neurophysiology concerning the locations, functions, and coordination of body maps in movement.
Body Mapping is not just for musicians . . . it’s for everyone!
Body Mapping and The Alexander Technique are two powerful tools for recovering our natural poise.