Three Things to Know About Muscle Memory
Lots of skills are like riding a bicycle if you practice enough—your body just seems to remember. Read on to learn exactly how that happens.
1. It’s not really your muscles that remember. Once you've fully mastered playing a new song or any other physical skill, it may feel like your hands are spookily working on their own. Really, you're observing subconscious communication between two different parts of your brain. Muscle memory happens when the cerebrum, the brain’s thought center, communicates with the cerebellum, the brain’s skill center, to accomplish a task. The more you perform a task, the more efficiently those parts of your brain communicate, creating the more-permanent pathways that make up long-term memory. That’s how actions can eventually become second nature.
2._Good_ practice makes perfect.Muscle memory helps a skill become easier through lots of repetition, but if your repetition is full of mistakes, those will get memorized too. So when it comes to learning an instrument, a good rule is to start slowly and to divide a task into sections, mastering each one before moving on.
3. Innate talents counts—but practice wins.Some people are more naturally talented at certain skills that require muscle memory, but they still require practice to be able to perform consistently. Prodigies may be able to think their way through learning something new more quickly, but whether you're onstage or on the sports field, you don't _want_ to have to think your way through the situation every time. Developing your muscle memory helps you trust the physical patterns you've internalized to do the heavy lifting, freeing up conscious thought to add emotional shading to a song or make a scary face at the opposing team.
When Karen Beninati's son was young, she had a hard time finding a childcare facility with which she felt comfortable. So she decided to create WeVillage—a drop-and-go playcare, preschool, and summer camp that parents would feel comfortable leaving their kids at and a place where kids would actually want to go.
To put parents at ease, Beninati hired professionals with degrees in early childhood education and certifications in first aid and CPR. She also ensured they went through a thorough background check. To make WeVillage a place kids wanted to go to, she decided to offer activities.
All the activities at WeVillage are aimed at helping children improve their mental and physical skills while building the social skills necessary to succeed in school and make meaningful connections with their peers. Kids at WeVillage are also exposed to international culture via yoga classes, world music, and global cuisine.
Munchkin Playland's pint-sized playground invites children ages four and younger to socialize and explore under parental supervision. Modeled after the adorably miniature Oregon landscape, the play area features climbable objects such as a duck, a beaver, a tree, and a wooden bridge. An adjacent cafe welcomes adults with local coffee from Stumptown roasters, and lets kids refuel with healthy snacks such as bananas and yogurt.
Kate Dessommes has traveled the world in search of techniques to further her knowledge of yoga. She began with a five-year apprenticeship under Luciana Proaño in Portland before packing her bags for New Zealand to study with instructor and author Donna Farhi and John Friend, founder of Anusara yoga.
At Portland Yoga Studio, Kate and her team of instructors fold those globe-gathered techniques into classes that incorporate Ayurveda, asanas, meditation, and relaxation techniques. They also offer special classes for students who otherwise might not be able to participate, such as those with MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or problems balancing. Classes for children and families round out the curriculum, giving parents and their kids a new way to bond that’s more active than watching television and safer than traveling to the future by falling into a coma together.
Play Boutique makes a thoroughly wholesome experience out of the classic childhood combination of snacks and playtime. Kids burn off energy in structured but creative educational play sessions, stopping for snacks made from ingredients such as Tillamook cheddar cheese, low-fat greek yogurt, and fresh fruits and veggies. Themed events often arrange for simultaneous parents' date-night entertainment and kids' activities.