Sunday, May 27, 2012


The above photo was taken by Renee Rischenole, Freelance Photographer/Writer/Artist and fellow student in the Essential Teacher Training at Open Sky Yoga.  You can find more of Renee's work at her website,   This photo is of her morning view in savasana.

Savasana, for those of you who are not addicted to it yet, is corpse pose, also known as final relaxation in yoga practice.  I have come to the conclusion that we could all probably use more savasana in our lives.  

Part of our homework for one of the homework sets was to spend a significant amount of time in savasana and to reflect on the experience.  We were also asked to write a poem.  Here's mine:

Wishing you balance,


Monday, May 21, 2012

Adventures in Clay

The picture above is of a spine molded out of clay, made collectively during our Anatomy In Clay workhsop with Laura Antelmi, which was part of the yoga teacher training program at Open Sky Yoga.  "The mind cannot forget what the hands have learned,"  Laura told us a few times during the weekend and her words rang true.  Molding bone and muscle, layering muscles over one another, seeing how things fit together, brought the material into focus in a way that I had not understood before.  It was quite an exciting process for me.  Often, my approach followed a pattern.  At first, I would work tentatively, not quite understanding what I was molding, but after short while, things would start to flow and then there would come a wonderful moment of illumination.  So that's how that works!  That's how those fit together!  How cool is that?!  And although I have studied the muscles and bones before, I found that studying anatomy by building it with your own hands brings a deeper understanding.  It shows you how it all fits together.  Literally.

Come along with me on a tour of our Anatomy In Clay museum-

My team's sacrum.  Anterior view.

 Look at those great nerves coming out of the sacral foramen!  We were quite proud of our sacrum because it was the only one with a cauda equina and spinal nerves.  I am so very fond of those spinal nerves even though one of my facebook friends said it gave it the same look as the  facehugger in Alien.   I had to look that up and I found out that facehuggers latch on to people's faces and they implant alien embryos into their host's bodies.

You be the judge.  I can see it.  I totally think that our sacrum could latch onto your face and implant a weird sacral alien embryo into your body.

My multifidus.  

Multifidus is really cool because it has all these layers that wrap together like a steel cable. It is an intrinsic muscle of the spine and very fun to make, although it doesn't look like it could latch onto your face very well.   It's still cool though.

Diaphragm Project I

Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of our diaphragm project which turned out pretty well and had the cutest little kidney in it, but only one, I am not sure why.   But I did take a picture of someone else's diaphragm project.  What is most notable in the project above, however, are those orange tongues, which aren't tongues at all, but psoas muscles.  Psoas muscles are boss muscles and could definitely do some damage if they decided to wrap around your face alien style.

Diaphragm Project II

This isn't our project either, but I liked it very much.  I especially liked his intestines.  You can't really see his guts in the picture, as I don't know how to use my camera, but they are cool and purple.  I think the team that made built those intestines must have custom mixed the clay to get that great purple color.  If I had framed the picture better you could see what I am talking about.

The next picture is NOT SAFE FOR WORK!  Seriously!  Consider yourself warned.

The assignment was to make a pelvic floor.  Our group first created a pelvic floor on the actual floor of the room.  But then, when we set about transferring it onto a skeleton, it completely fell apart.  We were bound and determined to make it work, however, and kept working and propping and repairing.   We became very focused and as we crafted what turned out to be a bit of a masterpiece, we barely noticed that one by one, everyone else in the workshop was coming over to admire our work.  Apparently all our effort really paid off because our pelvic floor turned out to be very, very popular.  

The most popular pelvic floor of the workshop.  
How many people can say that with such confidence?

Our pelvic floor is a tough act to follow, but here are some photos of my last project, a solo project.

Rotator cuff muscles and deltoid.  

Arm reunited with body.  A few more muscles added.

 Levator scap (blue muscle in the back) is in bad shape because I wasn't able to align arm with body correctly and I was really tired at this point in the workshop.  Honestly, I do see many levator scapulas on my table that are in bad shape, but this one takes the prize.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of my Anatomy in Clay experience!   I had a blast!  Could you tell?

Wishing you balance,