Where Is Cathy Yoshimura?

Some of you have noticed that beloved Yo is not on the teaching schedule this quarter and asked us why? She’s busy with BalletMet’s Nutcracker preparations and studying intensely with Thomas Myers, which she describes with her usual level of excitement and commitment below.

By Cathy Yoshimura

For those of you who have wondered why I am not teaching this quarter, there are a number of practical reasons. For one, this is when I help teach the children who are participating in BalletMet’s production of, “The Nutcracker.” I inherited this task from the last Director of the Company, David Nixon, and continue to perform it under my husband’s, Gerard Charles’, direction. In this economy, Nutcracker is BalletMet’s ‘bread and butter,’ so you can understand how important it is to our livelihood. We were also invited to take Gerard’s production to Detroit, and so I am traveling back and forth to “MoTown” to oversee their children’s participation. It is interesting to watch how differently the children move and how the teachers in Detroit convey information in a very different way from what I am used to. My French terminology in ballet is pretty strong; I can rattle off all the different pas de bourrees, jetes, tournees, without much of a sweat. Sanskrit terminology was a challenge but with encouragement from Martha and admonishment from Tim Miller, that is more accessible. BUT THEN!

Last Fall, I went on line to read Thomas Myer’s website: www.anatomytrains.com. Tom is an Anatomist, Manual and Movement Therapist Extraordinaire. His brilliance was so apparent to Marcia that ten years ago she invited him to teach a workshop at Yoga On High. I was in the first year of Teacher Training at the time and trusted that this would be well worth the price-y fee. He presented a look at Asana, and at Movement in general from a lens that went beyond just the world of isolated muscles and the Newtonian theory of levers and oppositional forces. He talked about the chain of kinetics, of the connective tissue being an integral part of understanding how we move, of the structure of the cell and its role in the function of the whole unit. It wasn’t just asana for asana’s sake, not just dance as an isolated form, but movement in our every conscious moment. His perspective is broad having studied with Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Leon Chaitow among others. And his application of Buckminster Fuller’s principle of Tensegrity, which is force distributed evenly throughout a structure, is a fascinating approach to asana. It concurs with my good friend Yoko Ichino’s approach, and she developed her own ballet methodology.

Over the last ten years, I developed a great admiration for Mr. Myers’ work. Whenever, I had a question about a dancer or a fellow yogi’s malady, he would write back with a solution and advice. So, I revert back to last Fall when he announced that he was going to have a workshop in Walpole, Maine, to train Manual AND Movement Therapists to be able to teach Anatomy Trains. He had always allowed me to participate in his workshops even when they were exclusively for Manual Therapists. Why not give it a try…resumes, letters of support (thank you Martha!) were submitted. In February, I received a letter saying that I was invited to be part of the Movement Session which would take place at the end of July. In the meantime, I had to read the latest edition of “Anatomy Trains”-Mr. Myers’ brilliant tome on the fascial chains throughout the meridians of the body. AND be able to recite and show on the skeleton, in front of everyone, the bony stations and the myofascial lines of each of his named ‘trains.’ I went at it wholeheartedly and created a PowerPoint for him as well…as that was also a requirement. I had to be able to lecture on all the principles of his introductory chapters: Embryology, Tensegrity, Progenitors of the Manual Therapy World. OH MY GOSH! As the time got closer and Gerard was quizzing me nightly on arm lines, spiral lines, the deep front line, I was really getting anxious. As was everyone else who was invited into the course. One of the last e-mails I had from Mr. Myers asked me whether I really knew what this Workshop was going to entail. I knew that it was going to be intense but I really didn’t know how intense. It was like being at the most competitive audition imaginable with his Senior Teachers adjudicating every presentation and questioning and critiquing. Twice a day, we had to be examined. Sometimes we had a lecture from Mr. Myers himself on the latest discoveries in ‘Microvacuole Theory’ as researched by Dr. Guimberteau. I have never felt such tapas before…but, I knew that this was a new beginning, the discovery of an approach to movement that was based truly on the internal mechanisms of the body.

Sanskrit words are now replaced with Latin anatomical terms; Buckminster Fuller’s “Utopia or Oblivion” has replaced Patanjali on top of my book pile. I watch DVD’s on dissection with Gil Hedley (generously loaned by Crystal Fauber) and marvel at the cohesiveness between Mr. Hedley and Mr. Myers. It is a fascinating world and I approach my practice with a better understanding of how moving through life is not based on just an hour and a half class six days a week. It isn’t mastery of a whole series of asanas. Mr. Myers talks about what shapes us culturally, about the societal effect on our physical body, about emotions and how they impact our bodies. His mantra is “Change your Body about your Mind.” A greater understanding of the Body will make that possible.

So, with the encouragement of Mr. Myers to keep on practicing using his principles and vocabulary (yes, I HAVE to use the Latin!), and with the support of Martha, Marcia, and Linda, this is what I have been up to. I am not loafing….see you in the Winter Quarter!

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One Response to Where Is Cathy Yoshimura?
  1. Angela NIcolosi

    Oh Cathy, how exciting! Good to know what you’ve been up to. Congratulations on your studies and your teaching. Namaste, Angela