I had the immense privilege of attending a workshop with the venerable Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen last weekend at the University of San Diego. For those of you who are not familiar with her work, for over fifty years, Bonnie has been at the forefront of the mind-body movement. With the detail and finesse of a hybrid between a medical professor and a dance teacher, she teaches embodied anatomy, guiding students to a deeper connection to our neurology and physiology through mindful movement.
This particular workshop, "weaving and tonifying our central core," addressed how our "core" is more far-reaching - both in space (anatomically) and in time (from embryological origin) - than is often understood. We explored the dynamic interweaving of the structures of the diaphragm/s, vis-a-vis Bonnie's hypothesis that the diaphragm's crura extend both lower and higher than most western anatomical texts attest. And we explored the effect that this hypothesis has upon peripheral joints through movement, novel schematic paradigms (largely of an embryological bent), and touch.
As a result of this new information, I am slowly exploring motions for new awareness and connectivity - both personally and in my clients, motions that are so commonplace to pilates instructors, like knee folds, squats, and leg circles. I am finding that both Bonnie's emphasis upon the diaphragm's crura and her explanations of its embryological origins radically affect how I conceive of and initiate motion, which has far-reaching implications upon how I teach movement, but also upon how I conceive of musical expression - both as a musician and teacher, and even upon how I move through the world.
Personally, this has been a lot to take in. While I have known of Bonnie's work for several years, to study with her in person led to much greater depth of understanding, physically and intellectually. It honestly feels more like the very beginnings of understanding. My previous confidence in my anatomical knowledge seems almost liminal. And, while that's scary to admit, it's also ok. For, as I mentioned in my previous post, being unsettled makes us more deeply aware and attuned. And that's a great thing.
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