As a youngster I loved to draw and the body was my image of choice. From diving into my brother’s comic book collection, I could see an image of anatomy that seemed so vivid. Each of the exaggerated muscles was placed on the characters to depict a super-natural ability or function. The message that muscles move bones and bones moved the body and so on was set in my mind. I would draw my own super characters with specific abilities based on the extra natural nature of the muscles I had placed on them.
At the onset of high school, I was a health club junkie and was introduced to the idea that you could refine your physical ability if you decided to work on it and could integrate the correct knowledge into your technique of how to refine your body.
I began lifting weights (inconsistently at this time but still began) around the start of my freshman year of high school. At one point, my father had asked one of the personal trainers at the health club to talk to me a little about what and how I was doing things. At this time in the 1980′s, Scott’s Masters Degree in Exercise Science was pretty unusual, Scott had already been a strength coach for a national collegiate football program and been a nationally competitive power-lifter, he knew his stuff. Not too far down the road, I had grown so much, filling in my family genes of being able to grow lots of muscle, that Scott and I would work out together on occasion. Scott eventually won national titles as a power lifter and I went on to compete regularly for a few years as a junior bodybuilder. Although I was never totally attracted to being a larger fellow, the practice of learning how to cultivate desired changes in your body and the effects those would have on your self-view was fascinating. When I was 21 years old, I maxed out, with a 240+ lbs. muscular body I decided it was time to move on, I knew that this body wasn’t to last. Although I would shed most of this extra muscular body like a comic book character coming back to normal (that process would be aided by auto accidents and illnesses and take many years), the introduction to anatomy had thoroughly begun.
In college, my anatomy studies would blossom and yet they never really seemed to do more than explain concepts that I already had in my mind. After college I began to look into different modes of self transformation through the body and the mind. I looked into things like Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, Bartenieff, Pilates, Somatics, Meditation…. and began to study up more on the “Sport Performance” arena of knowledge which was a bit outside of what we studied in college. My concept of how transformation happens and how many different ways it could happen broadened immensely and added to that was the effect that all of this would have on your mind as well. Eventually I settled into a concentration around just a few areas of ways to engage your anatomy and cause shifts or deal with changes and those areas all related to or were smack dab in the middle of yoga.
Anatomy eventually became “Subtle” or “Gross”, one being what I had drawn of comic book characters and the other being related to the super natural – un-seeable yet experience-able nature of the individual consciousness. And eventually the Subtle and the Gross became one again. I added to my college studies and other more gross body study with some great teachers of philosophy, meditation and more.
During the recovery from my Brain Surgery in 2003 and 2004, my experiences of meditation, altered experiences of the gross-body and more began to melt the subtle and gross body concepts thoroughly together again although it would take years to begin to clearly speak of this difference, non-difference. Honestly I am still working on communicating this well to this day.
From muscle tissues, fascia, Bhandas, chakras, bones, organs, glands, thoughts, memories, Prana to the simple experience of being, Anatomy has become the explanation and description of the components of being, at least that’s how it seems for me today.
Today, I enjoy weaving a myriad of different explanations and concepts into teaching and training about the body for yoga and sometime simply for deep mindful exercise. The concepts don’t point to a single teaching or style or text yet I believe they speak in a fairly holistic fashion of the body and to each of its layers of consciousness.