Anatomy and Ice Cream

In the beginning of the yoga teacher training, one of our faculty warned us against turning into “born again yogis”, that is, talking everyone’s heads off about how great yoga is and how they should do it.

But it’s OK.  So far, lots of my recent learning has been practical.

One day, in anatomy, we learned that pressing feet into the ground in preparation for the bridge pose engages multifidi muscles, which are not even in the leg!  I shared the knowledge with a few friends at a milonga in the evening (eschewing the words like “pada bandha” or “setu bandhasana”), and it was received with great enthusiasm .  One tango friend even felt inspired to experience the phenomenon right there on a coffee table.

Speaking about legs, dot always says, metaphorically, that the standing leg starts at the neck, and that’s almost accurate anatomically!   The leg attaches almost as far up as the rib cage, because psoas major originates at the bodies of L1 or T12 through L5, all lumbar vertebrae and maybe even one thoracic vertebra, and inserts on the femur.  How cool is that!

Friday night philosophy gets a little weird.  We’ve been known to spend more than an hour discussing a dozen or so words.  The words are in Sanskrit, but still.

Nonetheless, it’s remarkable how much ice cream get mentioned in our Friday night philosophy classes.  A few weeks ago, one teacher used it to illustrate… Hmm I forgot what exactly.   Let’s say, the distinction between pain and suffering.  As in, he loves chocolate ice cream, really loves it.  Every time there’s time for ice cream, he chooses chocolate.  But, if, suppose, one day, he goes to a store and there is no chocolate ice cream there, that would hurt (obviously), but he can choose to not attach to that, to not identify with pain, that is, to not suffer.  Perhaps, he’d try Cherry Garcia.  It can be even interesting, because he never had Cherry Garcia ice cream: so far, chocolate flavor had always been there.

This past Friday, another teacher, mentioned ice cream to make a point that studying or reading cannot substitute for practice and actual experience.  As in, you can listen to your friends and family telling you how tasty ice cream is, you can consult the scientists about why ice cream tastes so good, but that comes nowhere near actually eating ice cream and experiencing how good it is.

Ice cream may not be for everyone, but we also talked about puppies and burritos in Philosophy.

So yeah, yoga is great and everyone should totally do it!

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