Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Ligaments, Muscles and Joint Capsules. Oh, My.
Kiki and I were discussing yoga and anatomy today and Kiki, in her style, deposited yet another jewel of wisdom in my lap. I had been pontificating about body awareness and my journey from "severe lack of" to "semi-consciousness" regarding the various body systems and yoga when Kiki said, "If our skin were invisible, that would make yoga different wouldn't it?"
And I thought, "Sheesh, it sure would." I imagined seeing not only the occasional strained face as I looked out from my perch at the front of the room, but also flaming joints and burning, torqued bones and muscles. Eeek.
I was once myself a yoga practioner with flaming joints and a myriad of aches and pains as a consequence. I liked to push and strive and really was not aware that I had a skeletal system or a muscular system and I had stopped listening to the messages from my nervous system years before; I may have smelled something burning but I just kept on mindlessly pushing.
My journey to semi-consciousness has been aided and abetted by chiropractors, massage therapists, yogis, teachers, friends, books, trainings, posters and mirrors. I have only recently come to realize just how much is going on in an asana or yoga pose when it is being expressed by myself or another practioner.
I mean, think about it for a second. All of the neurons sending information through the nervous system, muscles lengthening and shortening, ligaments stretching, it's amazing to ponder!
To uncover and discover the mysteries of our individual bodies is a wonderful gift and exciting exploratory journey. Listening to the messages the body sends is a beautiful opportunity to cultivate deeper body awareness and a more sustainable yoga practice. Moving in the range of motion that is available to us, while being conscious of pain, clicks or clunks is a great way to begin to understand the multi-faceted functioning of our anatomy which in turn brings more consciousness to our yoga practice. It's like "Choose Your Own Adventure" meets "Nancy Drew" meets "Patanjali" (compiler of the yoga sutras).
What would it look like if you listened to your body as it moved into and out of the poses? Have you ever isolated a particular muscle, ligament or joint into your sphere of awareness?