Balance and other Motor Skills. Motor skills are how we coordinate ourselves to perform certain tasks. These are balance, agility, speed, coordination, power and reaction time. They are things we can largely acquire and improve through practice, practice and more practice.
Balance and other motor skills
- Balance: Keeping the body centred over a base of support
- Agility: Quickly changing your position with speed and accuracy
- Speed: How fast you can move
- Coordination: Integration of movements
- Power: Force x Speed = Power how much work in a given unit of time.
- Reaction time: How long it takes to initiate a response.
How we acquire Motor Skills
We use them all the time. Without some level of motor skill, we would not know how to put one foot in front of the other properly. Activities such as Yoga, Sports and dancing require higher levels of motor skills. We have to practice to get them to a high level.
Acquiring motor skills takes practice although some people pick up specific skills faster than others. We have to train our nervous system to master the tasks required. There are three levels of this learning:
- Cognitive, the first stage where we stumble through unfamiliar patterns. We have to concentrate hard and make lots of errors
- Motor, An improvement on the first stage but we are still slow and make errors. We may never progress beyond this stage.
- Automatic, A high level of motor skill where we are accurate and quick. No real thought is necessary to perform the skill it has almost become hard-wired into our system.
What Influences our level of Motor Skills
As I vane already mentioned we need lots of practice with our motor skills, however, there are other factors which affect how good we are. These include previous or other similar skills. Also our ability to judge the position of our bodies without looking. This is known as Kinaesthetic awareness.
Motor Skills and Yoga
Clearly, Motor Skills some are more important to our yoga practice than others. Ballance is obvious and we practice this in many poses. Balances like tree or eagle are obvious but it comes into many of our postures. Co-ordination is important, think of sequences like sun salutations. Agility, speed and power are also important her. As we practice our yoga we are building up all of these skills. Certainly, our kinesthetic awareness develops as well. Think of a pose like triangle. We need to judge exactly how our body is folding as we cant see it for ourselves.
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