19 Jul Development
I’m doing a somatics immersion series with one of my favorite teachers, Lisa Petersen out of Ireland and I want to share with you something I learned recently.
It’s about our development as humans from the very earliest moments we begin to materialize as bodies: embryonic development. I’m no expert, but I can tell you a few things that blow my mind.
Our Humble Beginnings
To begin, you’ve grown yourself first from the resources you received from your biological mother. Very early on you exist as a three-layered disc and develop two tubes, the neural tube which becomes the spinal cord and brain, and the digestive tract, which is still very much a tube as you read this now. (Think about how food enters and leaves your body.)
These two tubes are at your midline, and your body origami folds itself around this center. From this middle we grow our arms and legs; as we develop, our bones spiral into shapes that support our out-of-the-womb requirements.
Once on the Outside
When finally you’re born, you’re in a pliable body that still has much growing to do. For one, your spine starts in one convex curve. It’s by moving in resistance to gravity (tummy time, crawling) that you develop the concave curve of your neck and soon after the concave curve of your lower back. This wave-like spine supports you as you become an upright human being with your head balanced above your spine, as when seated or standing.
Bringing into Adulthood
There are many things that inspire me as I learn about human development. One is how basic our midlines are to our physical beings. At times we talk esoterically about being centered in yoga, but can you see how totally fundamental it is to who you are? Your body knows deeply what midline is, and how to grow out from that centered place.
Our bodies hold this wisdom for us as adults. Being in our bodies, as we are in yoga asana practice, help us tap into inherent knowing and reconnect with ourselves in deep and instinctual ways. This brings me to a second thing that’s inspiring. Our brains didn’t come first!
Your brain grew from your neural tube; your body began growing itself without the benefit of your brain telling it how. Your body grew your brain, of course!
I know I’m guilty of trying to solve all my problems, all the world’s problems, with my thinking, rational brain. What if we also turned to our bodies to tell us what we needed to know? What are the messages we’d hear? What might our bodies be saying that we’re missing when the radio of the brain is turned up too loud?
Making it Yoga
Quieting the mind and honing our ability to focus in a yoga practice helps us tap into a system more primitive and at times more wired for connection than our thinking, judging, prejudiced minds. Babies attach to their caregivers for survival. Our bodies’ need for connection comes before our ability to puzzle through rational thought.
There’s so much to play with in practice with all this in mind.
This week we’ll explore midline, moving from and returning to your fundamental beginnings as a living, breathing, thinking person. Tapping into your felt sense of self and finding some sense of goodness within…or if feeling good inside isn’t happening this week, perhaps feeling not-all-bad inside is available instead.