Your body, your meatsuit, that density that carries around the vital stuff, like your brain and your heart – how exactly does it even know what to do? How do I know what the limitations to what I can do are? Honestly, most of us only pay attention to our physiology when something has gone wrong, or when we do suddenly and disappointingly bump into our own limitations. I think that learning about our body with the reverence and curiosity that it is rightfully due is our responsibility as beings who are working towards being awake in the world and being present. Does it need to be intimidating to learn about the body? How come we tend to abdicate responsibility and knowledge to so-called authorities? I don’t think it needs to be scary, and I think it can be beautiful and liberating to get to know ourselves in this meaningful way.
Here are some of my favourite gateway resources into getting to know our incredible bodies:
Gil Hedley: The Heart Dance. Dr. Hedley wears his eccentricity proudly. This video clip shows his interpretive dance of the vascular system. It is memorable, informative, passionate and will make you more curious. This isn't the most famous of his clips, but I love it.
Atlas of Human Anatomy - Frank Netter (ISBN 978-1416059516):
Netter's atlas is a work of incredibly detailed drawings of our interior selves. Showing the different regulatory systems of the body (nerves, circulation, connective tissues), organs, muscular and skeleton arrangements, this book is an endless source of visual information about how we inhabit our inner space.
Alignment Monkey - Barbara Loomis:
Barbara is a highly experienced body worker in Portland Oregon. She practices a number of different disciplines and is a crusader for educating people about how bodies work. Her emphasis is on moving in intelligent ways in our every day lives in order to restore and maintain healthy alignment in our bodies. Her blog has funny videos, provocative information and "alignment snacks", which are homework for people who are looking to help themselves.
Key Muscles of Yoga - Ray Long (ISBN 978-1607432388)
This book was written by an orthopedic surgeon/Iyengar yoga instructor. The detailed visuals are accompanied by written context so that you can see the physical experience and consequences of common yoga postures. It's a great way to help tailor your yoga practice to certain physical goals by helping you see what's going on.
The Liberated Body Podcast - Brooke Thomas
Brooke Thomas is a Rolfer (a type of body work) and this podcast is about sharing her curiosities about the body by interviewing different "body nerds" across different disciplines. Her interviews tend to centre around people who have a belief about the body systems as being a unified whole, and how the more embodied we are, the healthier we have the potential to be. Highlights for me include Joanne Avison, Judith Hanson Lasater, James Earls and Jaap Van Der Wal.