anatomy

First, can I say that I absolutely am geeking out about Yoga TT and how much I love it! The group is great, there are only 9 of us, so small, with much chance of individual attenti….uh, wait. Not really, you know? 200 hours is a very short amount of time and there is so much to cover that a lot of attention to any one particular person is not going to work. However, while we are working asana sequences, 9 people make it very easy for the lead teachers and assistant to individually help each of us, sometimes placing an extra block under straining arms, sometimes actually holding someone up in a weird balancing pose (that would be me!). So it’s a great mixture of personal attention and group dynamics and it is lovely.

The thing that I was most afraid of going into this was the “schooling”, in particular anatomy. I figured I could handle the Sanskrit; so much of what we need to know are names of poses, and hearing them all the time in class I find myself saying them easily (altho what trips off my tongue is often very different from how it looks on paper…that Sanskrit spelling and pronunciation can be a bitch!) But I’m kind of all into the Sanskrit/meditation/spirituality of the practice, so this doesn’t worry me much.

In the case of anatomy, however….UGH! I hate science, I hate memorizing anything (and I figured that would be the only way to get through this part), and I have a very strange attitude toward my own body,meaning that I have been really out of touch with it. I take general care of it, feed it, clean it, go to doctors when needed, but it serves as a vehicle to get me around. And I am having a very hard time with the aging aspect of my body, which also serves to disconnect me. Since starting yoga and learning about chakras, etc, I am entering into a  more meaningful relationship with my body, but learning about all bodies seemed dry and boring and HARD.

I was not prepared for the dynamic teaching of Maria Christina. I have taken class with her and admired the way she could make adjustments on everyone, myself included, that really helped our  practice. But I knew little about her other than that she was an anatomy geek and yoga teacher. Well,she’s a Fulbright scholar and incredibly respected anatomy geek who facilitates workshops all over. She is a certified Rolfer and  has a passion for the body that is relentless.  I discovered why on Sunday when she told us that years ago she almost died in a horrific accident,  had been given last rites, and when she pulled through was told she’d never walk again.

Wow, right?

Yet here she was, 30 years later. Her enthusiasm began to make perfect sense, and as she talked I began to get caught right up in her enthusiasm.  On Saturday, we did an anatomy lesson where she had us laughing so hard,  which was my first clue that this might not be as dry and boring as I feared. And oddly, when we reviewed the material on Sunday, I was calling out answers with the rest of the class; somehow it  had sunk in.

Sunday she got more personal, and it was then I saw/heard what all of the learning she could impart might mean to my own body, my own spiritual self attached to this body. She spoke of people that walk around hunched over all the time, the yogic adjustments they need, but the fact that a spiritual adjustment might also be needed. Were they always hunched inward, protecting their hearts? Why do some people hate heart opening exercises…fear of being vulnerable, of having their hearts broken.Why do people hate hip openers? So many emotions stored in the hips. This is my kind of anatomy, a holistic approach based on the realities of each person’s life. Amazing. I found myself tearing up, and opening up.

Later we talked about the bones that make up the spine…starting with the C1, which is called the Atlas bone. Atlas held the weight of the world on his shoulders, right? This is the first bone in the neck that holds our heads up. And then she had us feel it and nod yes. It is the bone that allows us to say YES. That made me cry again. (BTW..next one C2 , is the one that allows us to sake our heads no). We talked about how our whole lives show in our bodies, bones, organs, etc, and how wonderful it can be to work on these areas thru healing modalities like chiropractic or rolfing, massage and therapy, as well as yoga. How alignment changes us, how sometimes the worst things that happen to us can be the best, or at least bring great gifts. (Waterworks? you betcha!)

I had the thought that I was being very self-centered, fixating on how all of this related back to my body, my own self. But, really? How do things come alive for us, begin to have meaning? We look at ourselves, relate ourselves to how we are in the world with others and ultimately with our own selves, our own bodies. Right my Yogi friends? Right my runner friends? Right my cross fit friends? Often we learn just enough to deal with our own bodies; I’m going to have to learn a little bit more.

There’s more. The Chakras and the way they relate to the anatomy. I cannot wait to move into all of that as an extension of the grosser anatomy that I am learning. I know just enough about them  to start to relate them to some of the info I got this weekend. And I think there will be so much self-knowledge there that will then translate outwardly to others. For example: Why do I have such a hard time with backbends? My head goes back and I choke, I feel so unsafe. I  even hate having my hair washed at the hairdresser, something most people I know look forward to. But those positions where my head has to hang backwards expose the throat chakra, which correlates to feelings and openness, ideas, creativity and communication. All the things I want to do and be and yet find so hard. The words coming out, the speaking my truth, the hiding. I know I am not the only one, and to see this in a yoga pose and be able to name it for myself, and consequently for others, is so exciting.

So after the first weekend of TT, I already see how my old ideas and thoughts will be turned on their heads. My fears have eased and my excitement is mounting. The next time I ask, in one of my groups, “where in your body are you feeling that grief?”, I will have a much clearer understanding of whatever answer I get. When I look around the room and see certain postures that people take, I will have a clearer picture of where they hold their grief and fear, and perhaps I can lead them to  place of unloading some of that.

What I feel is such a clear, clear indication that I made the right choice, but also I can see how this training will help me in every aspect of my life going forward, whether I ever actually teach yoga or not. I am really excited.

And oh so grateful.

 

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13 Comments

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  1. thank you for reminding me how fantastically intricate and yet beautifully simple the human body is… what a humbling thought.

  2. Beautiful! So glad you are enjoying TT. It sounds like a wonderful experience!

  3. This is so fascinating I LOVE it! I’ve been aware/studying chakras and meridians for a long while and the mysteries of what they are and how they impact the body and spirit are…well…fascinating! Can’t wait to hear more about your journey.

    Sherry

    PS – Still jealous. 😉

  4. Love this (I was nodding and shaking my head, trying to feel C1 and C2…lol). I can see why you are so excited about this. As you know yoga isn’t my thing but I do enjoy all the things you speak of – the mind-body-spirit connection, and what you said about hip opening and heart opening excercises…wow, that blew my mind. I didn’t know that! I slouch I think, so I am probably protecting. Not sure…but wow, I can’t wait to hear more about you are learning (and that story about your instructor is amazing!)

    Blessings
    Paul

  5. Thanks you all!
    I appreciate all the support and comments!
    now i have to go fit in a meeting between yoga classes and homework!
    ay-yi-yi!!

  6. Sigh. I love all of this. It makes me feel warm imside to hear someone else who finds such insight an joy in all of that.
    Smiling!

    Anne

  7. I’m so happy it’s going so well! I’m not blogging much lately but I come on to see what you’re up to. This was a fascinating look into TT, i read every word. Thanks for blogging about it! there’s a training coming up at my studio but since I started my “practice” basically a month ago I think I might wait til next year. I’m kind of the opposite in that I love the physicality of yoga and think would be more interested in and better at the anatomy stuff than the spiritual and sanskrit parts, but I really don’t know much about either so hopefully someday I too will be pleasantly surprised at what the expected-least-favorite has to offer.

    • Hahaa..

      well, after doing all the anatomy homework, including reading on my own, I am a little less enthused about it. I really think it’s the teacher that will make it palatable to me.
      if you keep going at yoga i would not be surprised if you did a TT. it’s not just for people who actually want to even teach, the 200 hour really is a total immersion in all things yoga.
      i am in love!

  8. Sooo…I have chills right now. Forgive what will probably be a lengthy note.

    As I was doing yoga this morning (just on my mat, at home), you kept popping into my head. In a good way!
    As I went through one of the sequences (I’m sorry, I don’t know the names yet!), I was overwhelmed with grateful tears…out of NOWHERE!
    I remember thinking, “THIS is why Michele does yoga. I just have to tell her!”

    At this point, I hadn’t read your anatomy post yet, but I knew it was in my e-mail. I read it as soon as I put my mat away and knew that the timing was perfect.

    You are so right about how runners/yogis/cross-fitters/etc. seem to know our bodies just enough. I have the flip side, too. I’ve worked in healthcare for over 25 years and part of my job has always been to know the human body inside and out. For so long, I’ve looked at the body as a clinical/non-emotional and separate entity from the brain. Oh my…how WRONG I was.

    Then, to read what you are learning: “When I look around the room and see certain postures that people take, I will have a clearer picture of where they hold their grief and fear, and perhaps I can lead them to place of unloading some of that.” This post and others as well as your gentle influence has helped me see things from an entirely different perspective.
    Even in my new yoga enthusiasm, I found myself focusing on the physical aspects of it all the while knowing that wasn’t the right approach: Crow: check, headstand: check, backbend: whoa…what? I can’t even get my head up to the sky. Touch my toes: NOT EVEN CLOSE! What’s up with that? Maybe it’s time to step back and see what’s on the inside that keeps me from letting his happen on the outside.
    There’s no room for ego in yoga and I feel so lucky/blessed that your path crossed with mine. You have been able to reach into this stubborn brain and shake some sense into it. For that, I will be forever grateful. Thank you! Thank you!

    • “there’s no room for ego in yoga”…
      absolutely…..just that knowledge is enough.
      (and you just gave me the finishing idea for my next post, because that is so relevant!)

      I’m just laughing…crow, check??? headstand..check???? I DREAM of those poses, I dream of a solid tree pose without falling over! I have my sun salutes (surya namaskars) and yin practice….those are my checks! but there is no room for ego, we need to start where we are and build from there. Last night we were doing adjustments in poses…the SLIGHTEST tweak and you could see the difference in the pose and the body. What made it come alive was the fact that it was happening live, not theoretically from a book. I, too have looked at the body as a vehicle, separate from ME, and one I never bothered to take great care of. It’s fascinating to think of the mind body and spiritual integration that can take place here.

      I’m so glad I could inspire you, you inspire me all the time with your beautiful writing

      • The pose “tweaks” are my favorites! AMAZING what happens when the instructor (I love her!) moves a bit left or right or gives and instruction that makes perfect sense inside the yoga studio and makes me giggle outside.
        Don’t ask me how I’m able to do the crow and handstand…maybe all of the boxing? So you think I could do the tree or the eagle. Ah. no. But, I don’t even care! I just wish we could do a class together some day….*adds to bucket list. xoxo

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