Muscle Memory

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Do muscles have memory? Do they have consciousness, subconscious and unconscious memories like the mind? The answer is no. Muscles don’t have conscious, subconscious, unconscious memories. They are organic. The memory in muscles is the conditioning. It is not a smriti, it is a conditioning. When you walk around your home for years, you can walk there in total darkness for you know where the steps are, where the furniture is, where everything is. That is due to muscle memory and your own memory.

When you do surya namaskara and it happens with ease, without you thinking what comes next, that is muscle memory. When the body is tuned to do certain things without the participation of the planning conscious mind, then that is identified as muscle memory. It is an autonomic process. It is a conditioning that comes up. When children learn to climb steps for the first few days or weeks they find it difficult. Once they get used to it, they can simply climb and crawl up the steps. They don’t use memory or the intelligence to decide, the body is able to do it. That is muscle memory which happens without participation of the conscious planning mind.

17 October 2019, Progressive Yoga Vidya Training 1, Ganga Darshan, Munger