Thoughts on the final day of this experience: The body is amazing! It sounds trite and overly simplistic but it’s quite true. The body is endlessly amazing, fascinating and so intelligent! On our final day, we further explored the muscles of the shoulder and neck and the muscles of the thigh and lower leg. We did an examination of the cranial nerves and brain and discussed each one’s function.
We also went back to our original list of observations about our cadaver; the things we had noticed on that first day. For my group, we noticed limited hip mobility and a great deal of crepitus in the shoulder joint. Today, upon further dissection, lo and behold, we found a hip replacement on the hip of concern and a shoulder with severe arthritis in the shoulder of concern. The shoulder arthritis was particularly interesting because you could literally see how the head of the humerus was damaged and instead of having that familiar smooth joint surface, it actually had a mottled surface and lacked any kind of smooth texture. When you looked at the glenoid fossa of the scapula, where the head of the humerus is to fit, you once again see a mottled texture. It almost looked fossilized. It was so interesting to have the opportunity to observe something and then further confirm it through in depth physical examination.
I spoke in an earlier post about how interesting it was to see how the muscles are layered upon one another. One area of the body where it looked particularly remarkable was on the scapula. The subscapularis, one of the rotator cuff muscles, sits on the inside of the scapula. If you were to look at someone from the front of the body, it’s on the inside of the thoracic cavity, sitting on the inside of the scapula. However, if you view it from the back, it sits UNDER the serratus anterior, a major shoulder stabilizer. It was interesting to see their close relationship, especially because when you view them in texts, that relationship is not always presented.
To take a step back, now that the training is done, here are some of my broad observations:
In order to keep the body healthy, we must move it. The relationship of muscles to one another; their proximity to one another, their ability to bind to one another and the body’s tendency to support a weak link all point to the idea that the more we move, the more we keep the body’s mechanical parts fluid and functioning well. This is a musculoskeletal observation more than anything else and speaks mainly to the bone/joint/muscle system which as yoga teachers, is so important to understand.
The body will look for a way to support a part that is not working optimally. We certainly saw that in cadavers that had dysfunction in their hip, for instance. We saw changes in leg length, changes in the position of the hip and compensation in the texture of the muscles on both the affected and unaffected side.
Muscles are layered upon layered and when we look for a simple answer to a pain or uncomfortable feeling we have in a muscle, it can be very hard to hone in on just one muscle as the culprit. Todd Garcia, the Director of the lab, made a comment by moving his arm in a circle and saying, “What makes the arm do this?” and we all laughed because we knew that lots of muscles contributed to that action. As a yoga teacher, this means that when our students ask us about certain pains or concerns in the body, it’s hard to give them one answer. More often than not, we have to come at it from a variety of methods, testing out certain things and getting their feedback and proceeding until we feel that together, we’ve closed in on something that might be the culprit (or culprits).
I am sure over the next few days, I’ll be inspired to write more on this experience but for right now, after 30 hours in the lab, I’m exhausted and I need time to let things settle. I will be writing again soon and stay tuned to my Facebook page for updates on my next two webinars. You can sign up for them here:
Thanks for reading and following along with me this week!