I still remember the first time anatomy made sense to me. I was sitting in a coffee shop in Boston, and it was hot and sticky outside. Outside was like one big blast of Redline-T-air, and inside there were a bunch of cute girls. Ahem.
I had been reading Anatomy Trains for the last 8 months (damnit that thing is dense), looking up muscles as I went along, and trying to understand how any of this might apply to training people better. I was not a massage therapist, or better, a PT, who could diagnose and treat the kinds of dysfunction that Thomas Myers so adroitly articulated.
He was writing about how the rhomboid and the serratus, which make up part of his "Spiral Line", act as one muscle at the middle of which the scapulae "float". I immediately thought of something that I had read somewhere (still can't find the reference), that was basically saying that the scapulae are just boats, anchored in a sea of muscle-tissue. And something clicked.
It's easy to think about muscles and joints as a bunch of elastics and levers, but's it's not quite true. It's a little harder to think about them as a series of smoothly-coordinated contractions around fixed joints, but that description is still not quite satisfying.
What I realized that day in the coffeeshop was that at its most simple, anatomy was still pretty complicated. Yes, all of our muscles are pulling and levering off of our joints, but at the same time those joints are just floating on a sea of muscles, all at varying degrees of tension. That tension might be consciously modulated or not, but that is as simply as anatomy can be reduced without losing something really important.
This was huge for me. It helped explain how a bag of meat and bones became an "upstanding individual" (or at least the physical part). It made clear why, really, a practitioner who knows anatomy might be able to help their clients better than one who doesn't.
And it addressed something else, too: nothing is fixed. Even the things we rely on for stability are alive, moving, subject in their own way to the pressures of the universe. Together, we have strength, but it's a strength that moves, and a strength that trusts.