Last night, I got to participate in something that I will never forget. Last night was one of the best nights of my life, it was one of those nights where I was hit with such a blinding flash of inspiration, and also moved to tears by how amazing life is. I might risk sounding morbid, and maybe even slightly creepy, but last night we did a cadaver lab for my YTTP and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
I want to start this post off by saying that I have a profound sense of respect and gratitude to the people who have decided to donate their bodies to the cadaver programs that make these labs a possibility for students. Once you see what the inside of a human body actually looks like, how everything fits together so perfectly, how intricate it all is, you never look at another person the same again. Through participating in cadaver labs, I have gained an immense respect for human life (and all life forms for that matter).
In college, I took anatomy, and we had a semester long cadaver lab, but those cadavers were dissected by the lab TA, who is by no means a professional, and it was very hard to see the difference between the tissue types, the shapes of the organs, etc. Everything kind of looked the same. The lab we went to last night was completely different. These cadavers were preserved with such great detail that they were infinitely better than looking at a plastic model.
We began with the extremities, and were able to see all the different muscles, ligaments and major nerves of the arm and leg separated out. Then we saw the whole body, the skeleton with the muscles. We were able to see the major muscles used in yoga, and how they are positioned in the body. Then he showed us all the major organs, and where they are positioned in the body, each was accompanied by a lecture and discussion about how that organ is affected while doing yoga. At the end of class, we had a whole body, put together again. It.Was.Amazing. It was very moving for me to hear somebody from a scientific background talk so beautifully about how yoga benefits the body and mind in so many ways. The lab director who gave us the lecture and demonstrated the cadavers (he also does the dissections) really understands that the human body is more than just a bunch of different parts put together. He talked about how the mind and the spirit have a profound effect on the physical state of the body.
The word "Yoga" can be translated to mean "Union". Ultimately, the goal of yoga is to create a union between the body, mind and spirit. In my YTTP we are inspecting each of those things in detail, in order to gain a more intimate understanding of how they can all fit together. I am so grateful to be in this program, I just can't even put into words how much I am growing from this process.