Body Mapping Glossary


Awareness - knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. Being conscious of something. For Body Mapping, we want your awareness to be of your physical, mental and emotional habits so that you can recognize them and redirect them to be more useful to you. 


Balance –  Where movement in any direction is easiest.  The balance we are seeking is a dynamic balance that allows integrated whole body movement.  Standing and sitting at balance implies a neutral place where the most possible variety of movement is attainable. From this place weight is both delivered down  (weight-delivery) from the top and supported upward from the floor and seat (weight-bearing). Why we teach dynamic balance: There is a prevalence of cultural and pedagogical myths regarding posture that cause pain and lack of mobility. Dynamic balance promotes facility, tone quality and ease of breathing. 


Body Mapping – The method discovered and developed by William Conable and Barbara Conable to access the body map and consciously correct and refine one’s body map when inaccuracies are found. The end result is to produce efficient, graceful, coordinated, effective movement.


Body maps – This is one’s self representation in one’s own brain of one’s self. It is sometimes called “internal representation.” It is the literal, neuronal picture we have of ourselves in the brain and it dictates how we move.  When the map is accurate, movement is free and healthy; when it is inaccurate, movement becomes uncoordinated and injurious. 


Biotensegrity- Different researchers in different parts of the world have demonstrated evidence that the entire fascial (see definition for fascia)network is interconnected so that a continuous tension network is known to exist within the body. We also know that at least some of the body’s structures, like the shoulder girdle, transmit their loads through the tension of the soft tissue and not the compression of the bones. 


Constructive Rest - The practice of taking the time to cultivate a whole and integrated body awareness. You will want to use constructive rest to cultivate muscular freedom, ease in your breathing, an adequate, accurate body map and to renew your relationship to the space you are in and the pacing of time. 


Deliberate - This is an action that is done with or marked by full consciousness of the nature and effects of the action; intentional: carefully thought out in advance; planned; studied; intentional.


Embodiment - A subjective, felt sense of the body as an integrated whole, has historically been left out of western thought and music education. As mindfulness and embodiment become more understood, this omission is being corrected on many fronts. 


Fascia - A white, stretchy, web-like connective tissue that  surrounds muscles, bones and organs.  It runs through the entire body to help hold its shape. 


Gestalt – This word translates into the world wholeness in English. The English language borrowed the word from German because we didn’t have a word that means what gestalt means: the contents of consciousness at any moment and its organization. Your gestalt always has a focus, like vision, and, like vision, the rest of the information in awareness falls somewhere in the ground, to use the term gestalt psychologists used to mean everything in the gestalt that is not in focus. What is in focus they call the figure, so every gestalt can be analyzed from the point of view of figure and ground. The image with this description is a famous image used to represent a Gestalt. At first when you look at it you may see a vase or you may see two faces.  Once you see both the vase and the two vases you will always see both. 












Inclusive Awareness – the ability to include inner and outer experiences in one’s awareness at one time in a fluid gestalt with the ability to shift focus while still maintaining all that is needed in one’s awareness. 


Intention - Having an aim or a plan for what needs to be done.  Having a musical intention will guide the movement choices made. 


Kinesthesia – The sense of kinesthesia informs us about our position in space as well as how and where we are moving. The sense receptors which inform our sense of kinesthesia are found in the connective tissue and muscles around the major joints of the body. Kinesthesia gives us our perception of movement, our position in space and our size.


Ligaments – This is fibrous connective tissue that connects bones to other bones.


Micromovements- tiny movements, indicates an unlocked state.



  1. We have both movement muscles and we have deep support muscles. The deeper muscles help us in our uprightness when we find balanced relationships between the bones. Then the movement muscles are free to move us rather than hold us up.

  2. Muscles can only do two things, contract in the direction of their fiber and release back to their original length. They can pull but they cannot push.

  3. Muscles don’t work in pairs as shown in anatomy books. What is in anatomy books came from dissection work on cadavers which had their fascia removed before identifying muscles. We have integrated connective tissues (fascia, tendons and ligaments and muscles.)

  4. The activity of muscles and connective tissues are part of a global movement pattern, also known as biotensegrity. Nothing moves in isolation.

  5. As musicians we really don’t want to or need to remember the name of every muscle, where it goes, or what it does. We have resources to use such as Visible Body or other anatomy books. You will eventually learn through your study the basic muscles that help or hinder a movement. 

  6. As you become comfortable with connections from bone to bone, you will then learn that Bone 1 can be stable and Bone 2 moves in relation to it.  OR Bone 2 can be stable and Bone 1 is the mover. 


Music - For our purposes in Body Mapping it is useful to think of Rhythm, Meter, Harmony and Melody to form your musical intentions. You will discover in Body Mapping that having a musical intention will greatly help your movement intention. 


Musical Intention: Having an idea of what you want to do musically based on what the composer has written in the score. Minds and bodies love organizing around musical intentions (even if they aren’t yet fully formed).


Palpate – to explore by means of touch.


Proprioception- The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium.


Radial Deviation- otherwise known as radial flexion, is the movement of bending the wrist to the thumb, or radial bone, side.


Somatics – The Greek term means pertaining to the body. It is also a term pertaining to the study of the mind and the body. 


Tendons – These are fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. 


Ulnar Deviation-  otherwise known as ulnar flexion, is the movement of bending the wrist to the little finger, or ulnar bone, side. 


Valsalva maneuver-  is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one's mouth, pinching one's nose shut while expelling air out as if blowing up a balloon. In addition to closing your mouth and pinching your nose, you bear down as if having a bowel movement. The maneuver causes several rapid changes in your heart rate and blood pressure.


Vestibular System - This system contributes to balance in most mammals and to the sense of spatial orientation. It is the sensory system that provides the leading contribution about movement and sense of balance. Together with the cochlea, a part of the auditory system, it constitutes the labyrinth of the inner ear in most mammals, situated in the vestibulum in the inner ear.


Weight Bearing  - Experienced in the body as the support any given lower structure supplies to the structure resting above it.  It is felt as an upward force. 


Weight Delivery - Experienced in the human body as the release of any given structure into a state of rest onto the structure directly below. It is felt as a downward force and it is the subjective sensation of gravity.


Whole Body Use- How a whole body is organized and coordinated in movement.  Poor whole body use can lead to; healthy whole body use produces free and easy movement. Some may call this wholeness.  Others may talk about global connections throughout the body.