This Just In: Bodies Are Different

This is awesome.

For as much as I think (and rant) about genetic differences among body types, I never thought much about what’s beneath the muscle and fat, or lack thereof. Paul Grilley teaches anatomy to yoga teachers, and the above slideshow demonstrates how vastly different a couple of equally “normal” bones can be. The result? Some people just can’t do some poses, period. It doesn’t matter how much you practice or how badly you want it. Your bones just won’t fucking do it.

That flies in the face of a lot of the more woo-woo styles of yoga teaching, so I love it. I was very drunkenly talking about yoga with someone on New Year’s Eve, and going on about how I think it’s bullshit that “yoga is for everyone”–just as it would be bullshit to say that football or track or croquet is for everyone. I do think it’s the kind of thing where you shouldn’t assume that one bad experience means you’re not cut out for it–finding a good yoga teacher can require as much trial and error as finding a good shrink. But at the end of the day, it’s just one form of exercise, and not everyone’s going to fall in love with it. A whoooooole lot of yogis don’t want to acknowledge that, though–it’s the path to bliss! Everyone can/should/must do it! All it takes is practice and discipline and an open mind and steady breathing and blah dee friggin’ blah, and you can make your body do anything!

I instinctively reject that kind of thinking, even loving yoga as much as I do, because it seems to be pretty much the same bullshit that drives both the weight loss industry and organized religion: there is one single ideal for every human being, and one way to get there, and your distance from that ideal indicates just how much of a failure you are. Looking at a bunch of perfectly normal, healthy, wildly different bones is worth at least a thousand words about how different bodies just do different shit. So I will shut up now, except to say that Paul Grilley is totally my imaginary boyfriend of the day.

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