Smart Anatomy

Anatomy for proprioception and movement

One of the basic tenets of smart anatomy is that you can use your muscles (and associated connective tissue) as sensors.

So as well as moving your body, your muscles also help you to sense it.

What has this to do with "smart-anatomy"?

Why are smart devices smart?

With smart phones and other smart devices, the touch-screen acts as both the input and the output. Just as importantly, a whole array of different apps can use the screen to respond to inputs in different ways.

And the device is generally instantly responsive.

Compare this to old style phones were the only input (apart from the microphone) was the number keypad (or dial). Each key corresponded to one and only one input. And the only output you got from your key press was a sound.

Nowadays you can get sensors to help you improve your posture. You can buy yoga mats with built in sensors to help correct your alignment. With smart anatomy, the idea is to help you access your body's built in sensors so that you can better feel and control your body in anything that you do.

With smart anatomy, you don't need a smart yoga mat or smart clothes, or sensors that tie into your smart phone. You instead learn to directly access your bodies built-in sensors.

How muscles make us smart

So why smart anatomy, why not just smart body, or feel your body?

The reason for smart anatomy is that our muscles, as delineated by generations of anatomists, are the basic drivers not just of movement, but of sensation or "feel".

With smart anatomy, the focus isn't so much on names of muscles. The focus is on the muscles themselves; the actual muscles in our own body, learning to feel and control them and via that ability develop a better feel for our body in general.

Using muscle control to experience our own anatomy

Where anatomists cut up cadavers to delineate individual muscles, among other things, with muscle control, and focused awareness, we can do delineate the muscles in our own body, while they are actually working. We can use muscle generated sensation (and that includes connective tissue tension) to focus our awareness within our body while activating and relaxing particular muscles.

Note that this isn't just activation of muscles as body builders do. While static muscle contractions (aka isometric muscle activations) are part of the smart anatomy arsenal, muscles can be activated with a particular movement intent.

This can actually make the study of traditional anatomy (i.e. learning names and functions and locations of muscles) easier, because rather than trying to remember anatomical terms, you can directly experience them in your own body.

At the same time, you improve your awareness and control of your own body.

In any movement discipline, a large part of improving is developing body awareness and fine tuning body positioning.

With smart anatomy, the body awareness and the fine tuning is built in.

Rather than relying on a teacher's eye to fine tune your posture, you can learn to fine tune your posture yourself. This does take experience and practice. But isn't that what a teacher uses when they adjust you from the outside.

This isn't to say that teachers are a bad thing. You will need a teacher to learn particular arts. But if you already have access to your smart anatomy, you can speed up learning. Instead of your teacher having to teach you how to feel and control your body on top of learning the art at hand, all they have to focus on is the art itself.

With smart anatomy, you can learn to teach yourself, and better experience, and understand, your own body.

Smart anatomy and taking out the slack

When learning, it help to have two points of view. One is the view before or after an experience. The other is the view while actually experiencing or in the flow. To mirror this, articles on this smart anatomy website focus on anatomical constructs and how they might function both in relative isolation and in the context of the whole. Meanwhile, articles on the take out the slack website focus on what you can do while actually using your body. For more on understanding these complementary view points you may find articles on the zeroparallax site of interest.