Monday, September 19, 2016

Stuff I Learned - Week #2

I've long found the bony structures of the body interesting, and this interest in bones has been an ongoing influence in both my practice and teaching of yoga. As I mentioned in the previous blog, I believe that it's wisest to honor the body's structures in choosing the movements that we ask the body to make. For example, when the thigh is externally rotated, the hip socket is severely restricted in its capacity to extend. For that reason, I generally teach Warrior I with the back heel lifted to facilitate internal rotation of the thigh and consequently, to reduce stress on the hip labrum.

My interest in bony structure has extended into my chosen form of bodywork. While I greatly admire hands-on work that addresses restrictions in muscle fibers and/or fascia, I've chosen to pursue Zero Balancing (ZB) as my go-to modality. Zero Balancing focuses on releasing restrictions in the bony structures, and I've found ZB to be remarkably effective in releasing long-held restrictions in the whole body and mind.

Back in 2011 or so I presented a talk on the living qualities of bone as part of the Ossuary project. In that talk, I discussed how bone is radiantly alive... though I'm realizing now in hindsight, that I really didn't get the full extent to which bone is living and breathing tissue.

In the course that I'm TA-ing, I learned more about how bone is continually being created and breaking down, and some of the organic structures related to this ongoing creation/destruction (Shiva/Shakti) process.

In the diagram below, the osteon of the dense bone is shown in some detail. These osteons are the tunnels that arteries, veins and nerves are encased within. And these tunnels flow through the length of the hardest part of our bones.

From Human Anatomy, 4th edition by McKinley, O'Laughlin, Pennefeather-O-Brien and Harris.

This diagram helped me to more fully understand how all aspects of bone are filled with vitality and life. Not simply the inner chambers (for example, where the marrow is found in long bones), but even the hardest part of the bone that I used to consider as calcified or rigid. Far from being inert, even the densest part of bone is actively living, breathing, growing and decaying!

In an upcoming blog entry, I'll talk more about the importance of bone destruction and how this destruction of bone is every bit as important as the construction of bone for our optimal functioning.

In the meantime, I hope you get a chance to check out the diagram above. You can see how even the densest sections of bone are filled with blood flow and the liveliness of nerve conduction


Savannah said...

Scott, this is great! I can't wait for more reports as you learn more.

Nan Fey said...
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Nan Fey said...

Very interesting, Scott. If you're not already familiar with "Yamuna body-rolling", you might want to check it out. The basic principle is to stimulate (with a medium soft, non-slippery ball) the bone to which a particular muscle is attached, then gradually move the ball from one end of a particular attached muscle to the other, restoring its natural length and releasing spots of tension along the way. The first leg or arm done with this technique typically adds an inch in length, easily balanced when its pair has been "rolled". It's a very powerful self-care and self-healing technique, made even more effective with mindful breathing and awareness.