The most important anatomy lesson I have ever learned

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Human anatomy is a fascinating field of study that has inspired awe in both scientists and artists for centuries. It is also a compelling subject for people who want to explore their own bodies as a means to better know themselves. In this context, anatomy offers us information that we can use to refine our proprioceptive awareness, the sensations of our inner body, thus enriching our lives. 

The most important anatomy lesson I have ever learned – and one that I love to teach – is the notion of different tissue “layers.” Think of the different tissues of the body as overlapping layers fabric, one resting on top of the next.

The skin is the outermost layer, we can see it and touch it. Right below the skin we encounter the superficial fascia. This connective tissue layer ensheathes the body like a wetsuit keeping all the underlying structures in place. The next layer down is muscle which is in charge of movement. Beneath the fleshy muscle tissue, we can feel our bones which support our structure and protect vital organs. Deep fascia is woven inbetween muscles, organs and bones, separating them from one another. Fascia also allows the different layers of tissue to glide over one anothther facilitating movement.

Refining my understanding of these layers has played a crucial role in my development as a bodyworker. Each layer has it’s own palpable characteristics: it can be slippery, fibrous, dense, thin, thick, spongy, etc.. The more attention I pay to each one the more my touch improves. Exploring layers has also given me more awareness of my inner body which results in a feeling of spaciousnees and grounding. 

I believe that anyone can benefit from developing more awareness of their body. For this reason, I teach my students to palpate these tissue layers on one another. When we touch, we learn in a whole new way: we associate information with a physical sensation, thus embodying it. Learning anatomy through touch and movement allows one to close the gap between abstract theory and physical reality.

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In just a few days you can learn anatomy with me. On the 12th of may I launch a brand new applied anatomy study group and I still have a 2 available slots. 

PS: Do you have any anatomy questions for me? Post them here.

This article was written by
Julia Zatta

Julia is a yoga anatomy teacher and bodyworker based in Barcelona, Spain.

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