Yoga teacher Jo Phee is based in Singapore, where she was born and bred.
Twenty years ago, when she was working as a conference organizer, she happened to peek in the room next to the gym where she was working out. She was twenty-three years old at the time.
Her life was about to change.
A yoga class was underway. She was not familiar with yoga. She didn’t know what it was. Phee had no idea that completing an hour of yoga poses would require so much stamina, strength, and flexibility.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Phee spends 11 months out of the year traveling the world, teaching the teachers of Yin Yoga, a style that focuses on a passive and restorative yoga poses.
As part of that work, Phee prioritizes anatomy education.
“I am a dissection nerd,” she admits. “I see real anatomy in human bodies and the more I dissect, the more I realize that human variation is so real—and that I what I see from the textbook is not what is depicted in the human body. Every cadaver that I work on is a brand new textbook for me.”
Most years, Phee spends two to three weeks in the cadaver lab.
This year, in late July and early August, Phee spent six days in the MANIKEN® Human CoreData class—held at the non-profit Anatomy in Clay Centers in Denver—taught by Anatomy in Clay® Learning System founder Jon Zahourek.
It was Phee’s first time learning anatomy by building with her hands, using clay.
Phee was impressed.
“Jon is a gift,” says Phee with a charming laugh. “He is a gift to the anatomy world and you know he has contributed so much to the education in a very interactive, tactile, interesting and fun and smart and intelligent way. It’s a system where I can remember anatomy and it’s not the boring classroom where I am sitting down listening to a lecture.”
In the week of classes, students end up building over 80 percent of the muscles in the human body. Phee says the work helped her explore details of muscle connections.
“I think anyone who is in movement should know this (system)—it’s so interactive and fun at the same time,” she says. “It sets the bar high.”
Phee says she immerses herself in human anatomy because one of things she stresses as a teacher of yoga teachers is how important it is to apply kinesiology to the various yoga postures.
“I just feel incredibly grateful,” says Phee. “I feel I am not working. I am sharing with people, helping people—helping people elevate themselves—healing them in all different elements of their lives. I think it’s such a gift to be able to do that.”
Phee brings her “gift” around the world. Ahead on the itinerary—Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Brussels and Prague. Then home to Singapore for a pit stop. Then, Asia. Also, she’s helping organize an international conference on biotensegrity.
As a world traveler, Phee observes a “depravation of peace” that starts with living in cultures that don’t value “doing nothing,” that don’t value a quiet retreat at home.
Everywhere she goes, Phee says she looks for the connection between body and mind.
“Everything I learn about the physical body, I get a benefit in my mind,” she says. “I get a benefit in how I feel and I see that positivity translating into my personal life, as well—how I interact with others.”
It’s a direct cycle, she says.
Body, mind, heart.
It all connects: “What I do, what I say, what I think, what I feel.”
And it all started with walking through a door and wondering, “what’s going on in here?”
More: Jo Phee teaches the Half Butterfly.
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