The following articles should be read as a point-counterpoint about how we think we know our bodies, our brains, and how they all fit together, and how each individual human being is a unique creation.
NYTimes.com – The Secrets Inside Us
Vesalius’s wasn’t the first book on anatomy, but it was the first detailed study based entirely on actual dissection of human cadavers — on scientific fact, not supposition. It systematically dismantled the error-filled doctrine of Galenism, which rested in part on animal rather than human anatomy and had held sway for 14 centuries.But in mapping the inner body, Vesalius didn’t get everything right — he didn’t correctly grasp the circulation of the blood, a discovery that the English physician William Harvey made in the 17th century — nor was his work immediately embraced by all. Revered in retrospect, he was not immune to criticism, or skepticism, in his day.
Through neuroscience we are discovering fresh dimensions of how our brain works, but these can easily be blown out of the water by the next round of discoveries.
The Guardian (UK) – Despite what you’ve been told, you aren’t ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained‘
What research has yet to refute is the fact that the brain is remarkably malleable, even into late adulthood. It has an amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells, allowing us to continually learn new things and modify our behavior. Let’s not underestimate our potential by allowing a simplistic myth to obscure the complexity of how our brains really work.
Our understanding of our bodies, brains, minds and souls should always be tagged as provisional, not locked into dogma or sound-bite ready one-liners that give the appearance of insight.
Have you ever visualize how blood flows through your body and returns to the heart?
Gil Hedley, the anatomist who has done so much to make us rethink our understanding of our bodies by doing the detail work of picking apart corpses, has a playful side to him and he has put it to use in explaining the synchronized flow of blood from the heart out to the capillaries of the extremities and back.
Gil has several other videos on YouTube, including the now famous Fuzz Speech about fascia and stretching, synthesizing why we do yoga to “melt the fuzz.” You can get more information on his website, including his teaching schedule, and his Facebook page. If you are not among the 344,000-plus who have seen the Fuzz Speech, you should watch it and let the message sink in.
For those with more time on their hands, they can watch his entire video series, Integral Anatomy, all seven hours of it, which has been free on the web for since February.
I tapped into a resource that helped me understand my body better.
I’ve been a fan of Yoga Spirit as it pioneer the use of online audio and webinars with leading yoga teachers and other experts, like Amy Weintraub, Leslie Kaminoff and Judy Hanson Lasater. It disappeared from the web for a while only to come back to life as part of YogaTherapyWeb.com. In January, the site turned itself into Yoga U. Most content requires payment for downloads, but there are a lot of free resources that can wet an appetite for the for-pay material.
I signed up for Tom Myers‘s two-session webinar: Fascial Fitness – An Emerging Revolution in Movement Science (January 25 and February 1). It also comes with other material, including some videos of fascial fitness routines. He wrote Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, 2nd edition and I plan on reading it as soon as I get through the dozen other books piled up on my desk. That’s why I signed up for the webinar — I can capture the essence of what Myers is teaching in a couple of hours. The first session clarified in my mind that I am on the right track in trying to deal with my peripheral neuropathy. He has an elegant compelling conceptual framework for parsing the body and its internal matrix, backed up by the latest scientific research on the role of fascia. In this webinars, he is tailoring his message specifically to yoga instructors and giving suggestions for optimizing sequencing to improve fascial fitness.
This webinar, along with other webinars and interviews, will be recorded and available for purchase at a later date at YogaU Online.
Bandha Yoga: Scientific Keys to Unlock the Practice of Hatha Yoga has fantastic illustration of the skeletal and muscular framework for doing yoga. The book is expensive at $48, but its unique perspective makes it different than any yoga book that I have seen so far. There is a 32 page sample chapter that you can examine to see if you want to bite.
Ray Long MD is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Bandha Yoga. Long studied at The University of Michigan Medical School with post-graduate training at Cornell University, McGill University, The University of Montreal and Florida Orthopedic Institute. He has studied hatha yoga for over 20 years, training extensively with B.K.S. Iyengar, among others.
The illustrator is Chris Macivor, a graduate of Etobicoke School of The Arts, Sheridan College and Seneca College.
The Breathing Project‘s Kaminoff already has substantial information on the blog, includingi Interview with T.K.V. Desikachar conducted by Leslie Kaminoff in Madras, October, 1992.. Desikachar is Kaminoff’s teacher (guru?).
Kaminoff’s e-mail list has always had fascinating contributions from many big — and not so big — names in yoga since 1999. He is reposting a lot of material from then so the blog will be an intriguing online resource on yoga.
He will also be starting a site on yoga anatomy since he is writing a book on the topic.