Friday, June 26, 2015

Anatomy and Compassion

Illustration by Caleb

I wrote in a previous post that I have been watching Anatomy for Yoga, by Paul Grilley, to fullfil my anatomy requirement for my Bodhi Yoga teacher training.

I am fascinated by what I'm learning, and not just about anatomy. The shape of our bones has a direct effect in what our yoga looks like. For example, consider something as simple as putting the palms of our hands flat down on the floor (for downward facing dog, table top, etc). To make this happen, the radius pivots around the ulna, and not until I saw the demonstrations in the video, did I realize that not everyone's forearms pronate to the same degree. If you have bone structure that do not allow for complete pronation, then your shoulders will become involved anytime you place your hands down on the ground. Fascinating! I had no idea. It's like discovering a new species or something. A new understanding and appreciation for the need of having compassion towards all.

I think of the many people I have heard say things like "I can't do yoga, I'm just not flexible", or "my body doesn't go that way". They give up, without even trying. And on the other side of that same coin, how many of us have injured ourselves while trying too aggressively to achieve a pose, that perhaps will never be available to our structure? (Matching a photograph on Yoga Journal can be hazardous!) Again, compassion needed.

I'm not saying we stop pushing our edges, growth and progression require that. Hopefully we learn to diferentiate what is tension and can be improved, and what is structure and to be accepted. Our limitations can be our greatest teachers, as we accept them and learn to work with them. Self compassion is the key, and all compassion begins with self compassion.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Anatomy for Yoga, Tension or Compression

My grand baby, doing happy baby 

As part of my Yoga Teacher Training at Bodhi Yoga, I need 20 hours of Human Anatomy study, besides that which is included in the Training. To fullfill this requirement, my amazing friend Renae invited me to watch a series of DVD's, Anatomy for Yoga, by Paul Grilley. I don't know about Renae, but I was prepared to endure a few hours of boring lectures, to fullfil the requirement.

Well, I was most definitely wrong and how wonderfully so! Paul Grilley does a terrific job of teaching anatomy with many visuals and practical demonstrations of how our anatomy  shapes our Yoga. Absolutely fascinating!

In the first 2 hours we learned about Compression. Here is a paragraph from an essay Mr Grilley wrote on this subject, Tension or Compression: The Fundamental Distinction

When we practice Yoga asana the fundamental distinction to make is this: “Are the physical restrictions I am feeling tension or compression?” Tension is due to the stretching of muscle or connective tissue but compression is determined by the shape of our bones.

This idea has turned my Yoga world around, and I will probably write more about it later. Can't wait to continue watching!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How interested in my life am I?

I wrote an earlier post about a statement in Joel Kramer's Yoga as Self-Transformation, (thank you Bodhi Yoga, for sharing it with me). Here is another gem from that same article:

Sometimes "scattered" or agitated--you're off in different directions at once. Yet, at other times, you may also have great energy and be very focused and calm. Yoga involves learning to generate energy, and also to focus it into different parts of your body. This enables you to break through physical and psychological blocks, increasing energy, which allows new interest to come into your life. At any instant, the quality of your life is directly related to how interested you are in it. 

I really, really love that last sentence! It makes so much sense, but I had not thought about it in that way. It made me stop, think and realize (with a heart filled with gratitude) that my life is filled with so much I am interested in, and yes, my life is good.