This morning, I woke up at 5:30am to practice yoga in my room. This was because I had to meet a patient at 8am in the hospital, and the only way I could finish my practice was to wake up that early. So, when my alarm rang, I rolled out bed directly onto the yoga mat parked right beside me. I moved through the entire series I typically go through, and at the end, I reached the backbend section. I paused to assess my surroundings, having never done dropbacks in my small Manhattan bedroom. It looked OK, so I proceeded to drop into backbends. And then. I. Stood. Up. I was able to stand up from a backbend! Another milestone for me. My teacher had been hounding me about it for days. Every time I neared the backbend part in my practice, she'd turn to me and say, "YoginiMD, you must stand up." There was no room for arguing with her. She said it like it was a clear, unwavering fact of nature. Of course, I'd push myself forward again and again, failing to do what she'd explicitly said. "Harumph!" her facial expression seemed to say. She says I have it. My other teacher says I have it too, that I'm so close. So today, it was nice to...just do it. "DON'T THINK!" she always told me. "You're thinking too much!" "Just do it!"
And, I did.
There's a certain thrill in doing something new and something unexpected and something you thought you'd never be able to do. This carried me through the entire rest of the day, which was definitely filled with some rough patches. I spent hours in lecture, and then hours in the anatomy lab, where we trudged through the laboratory exercise of the day as best as we could, but still got broken-down and demoralized in the process. We barely finished the first half of the lab in time. The rest we'll have to save for next week. One guest instructor paused at our table to see how we were doing. He started to dissect our cadaver, since apparently we still had not gotten far enough to see the structures he wanted us to see. He revealed a ligament, and asked us what it was. None of us said anything. He looked at me, and asked whether we knew what it was. "NO," I replied.
"Thank you for being honest," he said.
Sometimes I wonder at the whole process of learning anatomy in the way I'm learning it now. We are literally tearing down the body. I looked up the word for "anatomy" in the online glossary for anatomical terms. And here's what it says:
anatomy: Greek ana = up, and tome = a cutting, hence cutting up of a body (c.f. dissection)
So apparently, we are doing exactly what the word "anatomy" means, literally.