I wrote a piece for my blog last year called “Dorkasana,” which was about caring enough about your yoga practice to do whatever you need to stay engaged with it. For me, staying engaged involves studying anatomy, but this wasn’t always the case. When I did my first yoga teacher training, the standard 3 days of anatomy was a mind-numbing blur of what seemed to me boring and unimportant information. I didn’t care about the Latin names, and I didn’t think my future teaching would hinge on knowing what muscles were where: I wanted to chant, and sweat, and get the yoga high.
And then I started teaching, and every so often someone would come up to me after class and say something like, “When I do such-and-such pose, my knee kind of hurts on the outside.” And then they would pause, and look at me expectantly. The pause was always uncomfortable, because I would hem and haw for a bit, and then unleash this gem, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t do that pose,” followed by something generically useless like, “Take care of yourself.” After a while, it really started to bother me that I couldn’t do more to serve my students and help them get out of pain. I began to turn my studies and my teaching in the direction of anatomy, therapeutic work, kinesiology and the like. As a result of this path change, I spent last weekend assisting Jill Miller teach Yoga Tune Up® Anatomy at Liberation Yoga’s Teacher Training.
On day one of the training, the trainees reminded me what it was like to be new to anatomy: they were hearing strange words and working hard to give them context, sometimes finding themselves totally confused, and occasionally discovering moments of clarity and comprehension. The difference between their training and mine was that by day three, these trainees were naming muscles, directions of movement, and bony landmarks like they’d been doing it all their lives. I credit this difference not to any lack of ability in my first anatomy teacher, but instead in the approach to the material. For a long time for me, anatomy was a concept that lived in books and diagrams, but this training was different. The Yoga Tune Up® Integrated Embodied Anatomy is exactly what it claims to be: a hands on (yourself and others) approach to the endlessly magical and mysterious world of the human body that we all get to live in. Ball rolling, Simon says games, and full embodiment of poses and movements took anatomy out of the books and into the trainees’ bodies.
With this kind of an in-the-body introductory experience, we got to see the trainees’ interest sparked as they felt the empowerment of truly owning their own anatomy. Hopefully for some, this spark will ignite a passion for a topic that will continue to hold their attention for their entire teaching careers. It might lead them to become Yoga Tune Up® teachers, or even fully-fledged Dorkasana practitioners.
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