Yoga Teacher Training Week 2 Part II: The Shoulder

Everyone has a favorite joint, what’s yours?

I must admit, I am not a fan of the feet. Granted, my sense of balance has improved tenfold – or I’m just taking the train sober more these days – thanks to yoga, but I am still not a fan. This isn’t anything phobic, rather, I had some pretty bad luck with My Left Foot and The Boot, which was making its NYC debit this time last year.

This year? Well, they’re going to let me teach yoga one day, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now I’ve gone entirely off topic: we did a quick review on Sunday of the feet, ankles, knees and pelvis, which is both confusing and bizarre. It also occurted to me, upon reflection of the pelvis, that every skeleton and image we were shown in school and even here is of the MALE pelvis.

Ladies, our pelvises (pelvii?) are different.

I’m sure we also went over this in anatomy class in school, but it was definitely not a point belabored. It’s a pretty noteworthy difference too: the male is more aerodynamic, the female looks like a butterfly.

Ladies, we have a pelvis that resembles a butterfly. This is badass and if I were a skeleton I would show that shit off all the time. However, such is society that it’s not, so we see the male pelvis and just deal with it.

From there, we started discussion of the spine, the four “sections” – the sacrum, lumbar, throactic and cervical. I thought it was neat that when you twist, your lumbar spine does not move – it’s all throactic, baby – and when you backbend, your thoractic spine bends little, because of the shape of the vertebrae and the way that the spinus processes are arranged.

We also learned how to help out those with tight lower backs:

photo 2

I, however, did not start getting excited until the end of the day when we discussed the shoulder.

One thing about anatomy that I think is cool is that we have living examples all over. So we’ve become close, quickly. We have felt each other’s knees, found the iliac crest and the greater trochanter, and tried to determine the pubis (on ourselves, people). But watching the movement of the shoulder was the one thing that got me.

In the front, the shoulders are unassuming and architectural, moving up into the neck, quite beautifully, I might add. In the back, however, the scapula is this bone surrounded by myriad myscles that makes it possible for all arm movement to take place. It roates with this fluidity on an axis that I never considered until now: it literally does a 180 in order to allow the arm to move up. And when you see this rotation, this swimming of bone and muscle under skin, it just looks gorgeous and powerful and real.

And that, my friends, is why I love the shoulder: it’s not fake. It has a oft overlooked function. And it is absolutely stunning.

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