Saturday, June 19, 2010


How different we are.

"All bones grow in spirals, not straight lines. And everyone's bones are different. This is a close-up view of the ends of two femurs (thigh bones)." - Paul Grilley

I am in Zürich studying Yin Yoga and Anatomy with Paul and Suzee Grilley. Slide show after slide show, lecture after lecture, practice after practice, I fall more and more in awe of and in love with the body.

How different we are.

And always changing. Our bones change and keep changing, around every seven years. Think about when you lost your teeth (7ish), when you went through puberty and your body shape changed (14ish), and when you stopped growing taller (21ish). The change continues and every seven years-ish we have new bones replacing our old bones. Wow.

Our bodies are so full of wonder.

Different degrees of spirals in the shafts of six different femurs.

"Everything about us is unique" is a truth I have long believed but seeing it and feeling it on the tangible level of the bones has shook me. Deeply. It is so simple and apparent yet it blows my mind. Everyday looking at the people around me, I see taller and shorter, wider and thinner. I see different shades and shapes. I see difference everywhere everyday so why have I thought that our bones are basically shaped the same and basically move the same. For I must have thought that because now seeing how untrue that is feels like I am a fish discovering the difference between water and air. Wow.

How different we are.

"The bend at the neck of the femur of these two specimens vary by 40 degrees. This could mean 40 degrees wider splits." -Paul Grilley

When I was first taught that not every yoga posture is for everyone, I only sort of got it. Secretly, in my mind, I thought, "if I tried really really really hard and with total dedication, I could do it all. I could be a yoga super star just like David Swenson."
But I am not him and I don't have his bones.

Chances are I won't ever be able to do what David Swenson does no matter how dedicatedly and persistently I practice.

The difference of the neck length of these two femurs will effect the range of motion one person has in his/her hips compared to another. Of course the shape of the hip socket, how deep it is, its angle, its size, etc. also adds to the range of maximum movement a person can have in her/his hips.

How different we are.

This come to me as such a relief. A liberation of sorts. A celebration of me. It's freed me up mentally to discover me. How are my bones shaped? How can my body move? What is my rhythm? What works best for me? What postures, style, pace, support me best? And of course this will all change and keep changing. Because like everyone else, I am changing. Every cell of mine is changing, growing, living. How exciting to be able to discover day by day, year by year,moment by moment my yoga practice and find out how it best supports me in the now.

Two differently orientated hip sockets of two pelvises.

How different we are.

This is the basic principles of yoga. Four of the yamas are:
Ahimsa: Compassion to yourself and others (going only to my limits), Satya: Honesty, living your own truth (discovering what my body can do), Asteya: Not stealing, not coveting (not coveting other peoples bones and their yoga practice), Aparigraha: Impermanence (my body is in constant change and flux). But somehow seeing it IN THE BONES has brought the truth home to me deeper and opened me up. I feel released and excited.

I have a renewed zest for my practice and for teaching. I am so excited to return to Berlin and share and discover with my students, building on the practice we are already have together. But first I still have a week more of training and discovering here in Zürich.

How different we are.

Differently curved sacrums = differently shaped lower backs.

Isn't it great and exciting how different we are. And of course this translates off the yoga mat. It's a real celebration for the diversity of life. We are all so different from our cells onwards.


So of course we live different lives. Isn't that great? I love it.

Bring on the various flavors of life and let us feast together in our own ways.

Peace, health and joy to all and in all variations,

Thank you Paul and Suzee for sharing your knowledge indepthly with such humour and compassion.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this very enlightening blog. I learned a lot. I love you statement about not coveting another's bones.


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