I am taking Amy Matthews’ new online Embodied Asana and Kinesiology Intensive Training Program. While wanting to for years, it’s the first time I’ve been able to study consistently with this expert anatomy teacher. And, I love every lesson.
One reason it is so engaging it is that buried in the massive amounts of information she provides about bones and ligaments are nuggets of profundity. These philosophical statements not only apply to anatomy but to life in general. In one of Amy’s early classes, she claims that “Actualization Precedes Integration.”
Actualization is the process of deeply “feeling” something…whether it is a bodily movement or an emotion. Integration is taking that identification and looking at it within a system. In a way, actualization is the tree and integration is the forest.
As a yoga teacher this is very important. You can tell a student 100 times to straighten her legs or widen her toes or lift her pelvic floor but until that student actualizes it…she can’t integrate and process the concepts. And, it won’t make its way into her practice.
So how do you make sure a student actualizes the information you’re presenting? First, you can break down the lesson in smaller pieces. Make sure a student learns child’s pose before downward facing dog. The Iyengar’s are masters at this type of sequenced learning. Second, you can offer different entry points to the information. In Amy’s classes she highlights movement patterns, manipulatives (like actual bones and models) and drawing as ways to access concepts. Third, you can gently test a student by quietly asking them if they’ve acquired the knowledge necessary to go to the next phase of practice. In Amy’s course we get homework after each lesson that’s looked at and evaluated. Fourth, of course, is self-practice. It’s a teacher’s responsibility to continually suggest that a student work on their own. But as the old adage states…”you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
Amy’s teaching suggests that there is not one way to learn or one way up the mountain of actualization. With a masterful guide and teacher you can get close to the top but the full integration at the pinnacle is up to you.