Experiments in … Self Discovery: My Spiky Profile

So, the other morning, as I was slugging it out with my Asthanga Yoga practice, my teacher says something to me that really piqued my interest. She told me that on the mat I am what they call in educational parlance, a ‘spiky profile’. She went on to explain that there are some poses that I do extremely well (“like, cover of Yoga Journal” well, she said), and others I can only manage in the most rudimentary and weakened form. While I wasn’t really pleased to receive this assessment, it ignited a light bulb deep within that flickered, Yes! This is me! This makes so. much. sense.

I suddenly started recalling solid examples of this behavior in the past. Of course, it’s been true in all the various incarnations of my yoga practice – sometimes more strikingly than others. But it was also true when I was a competing gymnast. In fact, there are a couple of particular moves that I can remember being so baffled by that EVERYONE else could do, but I could not. Try as I might, I couldn’t even get my brain to understand what my body was supposed to be doing at these moments. Yet, it seemed to be so natural to everyone else. And even remembering neighborhood and schoolyard play when I was a kid I see evidence of this assessment.

What I find so very frustrating and heartbreaking – aside from the fact that it’s true for me – is that not a single person was able to share this information with me when I was young enough to more easily address it. Not my gym teachers. Not my gymnastics coaches. Not my weightlifting coaches in high school nor college. And none of my yoga teachers prior to this one.  Granted, these predecessors may not have had the experience working with cognitively challenged children in the school system to know this terminology, but the terminology is irrelevant.  No one made the observation.

I find it sad and appalling that we have become so removed from the Natural state of things, so removed from our bodies and the understanding of how a truly healthy body actually looks and moves and develops. And being so blind, we are, on the whole, no longer able to do our children the very basic service of teaching them how to properly use and maintain their bodies to optimum performance and functioning.

I don’t separate myself from this cultural malady. I mean, I’ve been in this body for many long years and still don’t care for it as well as I should. But I am reminded of how important it is to keep working with teachers, mentors, therapists and other professionals who can help to give me a clearer, more complete picture of how I’m doing with this body I have been given … and with the state of health that I have cultivated thus far in my life.

A hearty thank you to the bright lights in my world who continue to notice me, observe me, teach me, heal me, and guide me. Your work is invaluable.



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