Meet Bob the Skeleton!
My teacher Kathryn Payne said that every yoga studio should have an anatomically correct human skeleton, and I cannot agree more.
Honestly, for a while, I avoided looking or touching Slim, the skeleton at Taj Yoga where I study, because … ahem, don’t laugh, but I was really scared of him, or I was scared of all skeletons in general. (Alright, let the “skeletons in the closet” jokes start coming…)
My understanding of what’s happening in the body, not only just in terms of the Asanas, but also Pranayama, has increased greatly since I got over that fear and started looking at Slim the skeleton, not pictures or videos of his bones, but really looking and examining the skeleton in real life. When I studied Experiential Anatomy with Judith Lasater this past summer, she brought in a life-sized vertebral column, and I will never forget the experience of seeing how the facets are arranged in each section of the spine.
Since I started teaching yoga, I’ve found myself in many situations where I just wish I had a skeleton to show the specific bone I’m talking about. So, today, I’m very proud to say that I got my very own! He’s small enough to carry around, but big enough to show the individual bones and joints.
His name is Bob. While there were many great name suggestions, like Skully, Skinny, Lefty (his left arm fell off when I picked him up), I’m going to go with Bob for a particular reason. My teacher Theresa Elliott would often say, “Let’s look at Bob”, and then pull out Light on Yoga. I was a little confused at first, as you can imagine. “Who’s Bob?” I finally asked. “Well, B.K.S. Iyengar. B is for Bob, right?” Theresa said slyly.
I laughed really hard then (curse of the Easily Amused), and I smile every time I think of it now. Bob to me is such an endearing name. Even though I’ve never met or studied with Mr. Iyengar, my yoga education is largely from his life’s work, and as I mentioned, Iyengar Yoga is unmistakably my lineage.
What I appreciate about Mr. Iyengar is his geekiness. He tinkered with the poses. He introduced all these yoga gadgets, like blocks and benches and blankets. Who else but a geek would modify his environment to make it more comfortable or conducive to progress? And so, with great reverence, I hereby name my skeleton Bob, in the hope that he inspires me to always keep tinkering and learning about the wonder that is the human body.