Declarative Memory And A Simple Yoga Exercise
In this post we are going to look at how developing our “declarative” or conscious memory can speed up our ability to absorb new information. Let’s say you wish to learn a new sport or discipline, such as tennis or yoga. You will spend the first lesson converting what your instructor, DVD or workbook is telling you into physical actions. The conscious effort you make to memorize the order of these instructions is known as declarative memory.
In time, your actions become automatic and there is no longer any conscious act of recall. But memory still plays its part – the kind known as reflexive memory (learning by repetition). However, wouldn’t it be easier if your declarative memory was able to absorb and recall all these commands in an instant? Think how much sooner you could acquire this new skill if you could learn every piece of advice accurately.
The Journey Method can radically improve the efficiency of your declarative memory. It gives you the best possible start if you are learning a new discipline, especially one that involves many moves to make in sequence. In the exercise opposite I am going to show you how a sequence of yoga moves can be stored quickly into long-term memory using a short journey. By initially performing each posture in a different room or area of your home you will implant the physical memory of each posture as well as fix the order of the moves in your mind. So when you come to practise the sequence as a whole, your journey will remind you of the order.
Exercise : Simplified Yoga Poses
These five poses are adapted from the Kneeling-Cat-Swan yoga pose:
1. Kneel down with your hands on your thighs, eyes closed.
2. As you breathe in, gently lift your arms overhead and come up to a raised kneeling position.
3. As you breathe out, gently bring your hands to the floor so you are kneeling on all fours.
4. Inhale, bend your elbows and lift the centre of your chest forward and upward. (This is the Cat pose.)
5. As you breathe out, push your bottom back so you are sitting on your heels. Leave your arms stretched out in front of you. (This is the Swan pose.)
Plan a five-stage journey around your home so that you can store each posture at a different stage along the route. For example, you might store the first posture in your hallway, the second one in your living room, and so on.
Position yourself physically at your first stage and perform the first posture. Then move on to your second stage and perform the second pose, and so on. Later, see if you can practise the complete sequence as a fluid series of movements by mentally running through your five-stage journey.
Now it is time for you to practice this exercise. Memory is a skill that comes with practice so keep learning new memory improvement techniques and keep putting them in your daily practice. I wish you good luck!