Arch Support Part 2

This week, I’m in the body. In training with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and the School for Body-Mind Centering: Embodied Anatomy for Yoga. This week is focused on the skeletal system, lower limbs and upper limbs. More on the lower limbs in a moment.

First, I want to say that it is stunning how yogis, body workers, physical and occupational therapists and dancers come from all over the US, and all over the world for yoga trainings like this with phenomenal teachers. In this training, there are yogis from Alaska, the East Coast, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Vienna, and Vietnam. Those are just the places I remember. This is one aspect of yoga-related training that I always enjoy and marvel at — how the study and practices seem to call people together across culture and country.

So now back to the lower limbs. Revisiting my post from last week (1/11):
It turns out that  I wasn’t so wrong about the location of the transverse arch, after all. To my many readers who are anatomy geeks, I’m sure this will be a relief. For the rest of you, stick with me for a moment here….

Really, there are several arches that go across the foot, and the two primary transverse arches are: (1) the one I thought I had wrong, but didn’t, located nearer the head of the metatarsals, and (2) the one that I found last week, which crosses the tarsal bones more toward the mid-foot. Whew!

Even or especially if these anatomical names mean nothing to you, what a good excuse to play with your feet a bit, to figure out for yourself what I mean.

Along these lines, today I actually felt, with my hands, the spiraling shape and action of the femur (thigh bone). I felt this on a plastic model of a femur, on another person, and in my own body in asana. So amazing!

So far, the anatomy training on the lower limbs seems to be partly about… finding my hands.

I’m definitely learning the language of anatomy… the names of bones, their relative locations, their shapes. I’m learning fundamental principles, for example about the interplay of stability and mobility.

At the same time, I’m also having an embodied experience of transformation: a change from feeling like I’m deficient in “touch skills”  to suddenly learning that I am able to feel bones, with firmness, fluidity, warmth, and “resonance.” From my marrow to yours.

I think this must be just the smallest, peephole glimpse of what (good) bodyworkers can “see” with their hands. How much is this a talent, and how much can it be learned? I think that’s partly what I’m curious about this week in the training. Along with how it translates into teaching asana and mindful movement, of course.

Meanwhile, my love for the spiraling femur has expanded to appreciation for the columnar nature of the tibia. Tomorrow, onward to the bones of the pelvis.

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