I just took a walk around Bernal Hill, and to my surprise my body feels… so new. It’s a little strange, and pretty cool… I’m moving much more slowly than usual, noting the moving spiral of my femurs, the lift of my manubrium….
And my ribs tell me about the possibility of an even bigger world. You know those moments when something shifts and you didn’t even really know that it had changed? As I walked around the hill, the word Freedom shone into me. As I arrived back at my house, the word Awareness lifted me. All this from the most basic attention to the bones.
Yesterday was the last of six days of BMC training on the appendicular skeleton. I found my first and second ribs, and the 11th and 12th ribs. Do you know where they are? Can you feel them? Those tiny little 12th, floating ribs!
With help (thank you, Patricia R. and Rachel V.), I reunited these tiny ribs with my spine, then spread them into wings. This changes everything. I also found that I can move a joint that I didn’t even know I had, at the sternum. Learning to invite movement there, rather than my usual pattern of hauling my ribs upward, gives space to my heart and lungs. This really changes everything.
I found myself filled with energy and gratitude, at the end of what I expected to be a very tiring day. I remembered what Tony once told us when teaching, something which I remember and repeat frequently: That life isn’t for doing yoga; yoga is for doing life. I cherish the times that I remember this, that I practice for love, freedom, true generosity, and also so I can sing!
You can probably guess how much I wanted to try out these ribs and sternum that I’d found. I was eager and curious to transform the movement practice, all that lightness, and breath, and space, into song. So I joined rehearsal last night with the San Francisco Threshold Choir, a group I’m honored to be part of, which sings at the bedsides of people on the thresholds of life and death. (Thank you, Debbie, for my dinner and my ride!)
And, what I can tell you is that we opened our hearts and breath and mouths and sang, and we sang… and we sang….
Gather us together, Spirit of Harmony;
Arise in us, Lovingkindness.
Blend our voices in beauty and peace
That they may nourish and comfort.
(M.P. Scott, 2007)
May you find ease, wonder, freedom, and music in all we are.