Today we have naming of parts

english patientI am a big, big fan of the English Patient, the film and the book. I would want them on my desert island. One of the many, many things I love about it is the mingling of scientific brain with emotional brain in the figure of Almásy, the geographer and lover. I love the exploration of territory and of language as he discovers more about both the Libyan desert and his lover’s body.

I feel a bit like this in my yoga where I am exploring my own body and starting to fall in love with it. I mean from the inside, not the outside, compassionately, not narcissistically. So this is a good thing!

I’m finding sensation where there was nothing, movement where there was blockage, the enticing possibility of stretch and energetic elongation where there was only miserable contraction.

Putting new sensations into words is hard, but somehow it’s important to me. The naming of parts (to quote Henry Reed’s famous poem) brings more life into my experience.

In The English Patient, the exchange with the terribly, terribly English character of Madox always makes me laugh as Almásy struggles to verbalise the beauty he finds in Katharine’s body:

Almásy: “This… this, the hollow at the base of a woman’s throat, does it have an official name?”

Madox: “Good God, man, pull yourself together.”


So like Almásy I feel drawn to ask how to name these new muscles I’m discovering, how to make them part of my new existence, my new personal landscape. It’s part of befriending them and making them mine.

Later in the story of the English patient Madox does tell him:

“Just in case you’re interested, it’s called the suprasternal notch.”

So I think my latest love might be my serratus anterior. I’d have to ask my teacher — who would, I’m sure, be more forthcoming than Madox in the film!

A teeny-tiny clip if you’re completely lost by the English Patient reference:




9 thoughts on “Today we have naming of parts

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  1. In my earlier class we had Mr Bones (just the students’ name for him), a full skeleton who stood patiently (pun unintended) 🙂 to be displayed in all his hollow glory!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I absolutely love the elegant way you’ve drawn parallels between literary and cinematographic art and the art of yoga. Your writing is beautiful. Like — let me see — the first sip of a carefully brewed cup of organic green tea in the morning — !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you k8. I’m surprised I got this far without an English Patient reference tbh!
      As a non tea drinker I’m trying to take your comment in the spirit it was intended 😉


  3. Almásy’s comment portrays my own need to seek understanding and words to describe the new sensations developing within as I continue on my journey. You’ve laid this out so well and interesting as you draw lines between your yoga and this literary piece, and thus transferring that understanding over to me as well. Amazing! Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Martie, thanks for your comment. Nice to know you understand this need to name and understand too. Sometimes the sheer joy of new sensations in enough, but my brain does like to categorise! x

      Liked by 1 person

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