A common cause for joint problems that athletes have, are sensory-motor amnesia (SMA) and an increased muscle tone that distorts correct and fluid pelvis and torso movement.

From the day of our birth onwards, we learn to coordinate our muscles functioning during movement. This synchronicity is evolutionarily conditioned. At birth, everyone is assigned a certain potential, and the child constantly learns to control the muscles when moving and thus progresses within its capabilities. But his muscular strength is still developing, so with will and effort, he can’t achieve more than he would like.

Better coordination enables increased efficiency, which is a pleasurable sensation. Conversely, less effective movement due to poor coordination creates an uncomfortable feeling, and if it lasts longer, it becomes painful. The child also follows the principle of pleasant learning, especially because it is communicated to him by the environment. If the movement is uncomfortable, he wants to either change or discontinue some activity. However, because maintaining a pleasant feeling increases efficiency relatively quickly, the child acquires muscle coordination for a particular movement. Therefore, a child’s movement is easy, playful, and pleasant to the eye.

Because we rarely see such a movement in adults, a child has fewer opportunities to mimic light movement. A child takes on his parents’ attitude towards movement, which is usually not light and fluid, but all too often rigid, jerky, inefficient, and painful. He starts to believe that movement usually causes discomfort, anger, and pain.

The influence of the environment and the time constraints of life’s daily rhythm have led adults to unnatural movement. This can be observed daily on the streets, where we can hardly find an elegantly moving person anymore. A factor that strongly influences the loss of motor lightness is the concealment of strong emotions or their outward expression. When we are under the influence of strong emotion, time flows more slowly, which strongly affects our plans. Imagine a scenario where you detect distress in your child’s or loved one’s voice as you leave for work. You will not be able to allow your response to their distress to change your plans and make the path to your goals more difficult – as this would cause you additional discomfort.

Strong emotions harm our ability to match the excessive demands of the consumer society we live in. We teach all this to our children. After all, we are afraid that when he grows up, he will not be able to cope with all this. So we teach him to withhold the expression of strong emotions.

Everything mentioned above affects our body and movement. It also affects an athlete’s results. It leads towards understanding the cause for sports injuries. Efficiently expressing emotions includes sensations from our whole body. A negative response from the environment to a child’s expression of emotions will cause his muscle tension to increase. This process protects him from himself, and the result is a distorted perception of reality. SMA is developing.

Where are stronger emotional responses created? 

The strongest muscles with levers connecting the chest and legs are in the middle of the torso. This is where the strongest emotions arise, colliding with the ban. This leads to poorer coordination and reduced muscle coordination. The movement is becoming uncomfortable; we are moving more and more violently, anger is literally smoldering inside us, as we like to say because we cannot express it satisfactorily. The relationship we develop towards the environment is something in the lines:” the dog’s bark, but the caravan goes on.” However, our anger needs to be expressed, one way or the other; we become workaholics, sports fanatics, addicts… that way, we use up the energy that was pent up inside due to unexpressed anger.

We develop a feeling of lack of strength and endurance, but we are not aware of the hidden reasons and the need why we no longer move effectively. And although the movement is uncomfortable and even painful for us, we are putting more and more effort into it because we have no other choice. If we stop without trying to understand our condition, it puts us in distress, anxiety, or even panic (often with top athletes). 

But we can change all that. Sensory-motor amnesia immobilizes the pelvis and torso, makes our step shorter, and how far our hands reach and makes walking and running feel uncomfortable. The joints and spine are under pressure 24 hours a day, making us want to rest more than we would actually need because humans are created for mostly light, efficient, and effortless movement. Therefore, an integral part of the learning process of the athletes I work with is always determining the reasons for the incorrect condition. This is the basis for a reasonable explanation of the causes of chronic problems. The AEQ method, level 5, allows for an effective change in these conditions, which are usually attributed to age, lack of muscle strength and endurance, and lack of athletic happiness.

The exercises, which are a part of the learning process, make it possible to get to know the true relationship with oneself and reveal the level of separation of the body from consciousness. Less fear increases the lightness of movement. Training for effective movement should also include practicing and learning to express emotions effectively.

Aleš Ernst, teacher of the AEQ method, level 5

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