Exploring Inner Space with Gil Hedley
By Donna Zubrod| Abdominal Therapist and Educator | North Carolina, USA.
After graduating from university, I pursued graduate studies in Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. Outer space has always fascinated me, it offers a real sense of place and time like no other. I enjoyed exploring big questions like “Who are we, and where do we fit, in the bigger picture of everything!”. Fast forward many orbits around our sun, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to study inner space with Gil Hedley at the Institute for Anatomical Research.
As a bodyworker, the intention is very important to the work that I do. Being able to visualize what’s beneath my hands as I work is essential for me to better assess and effectively treat my clients. I recall being thoroughly mesmerized by what I experienced at the Body Worlds traveling exhibition, during my training in massage therapy. Participating in a cadaver dissection lab had been on my bucket list for quite some time, but I was uncertain if I would be able to perform dissection myself.
For years I’d followed Gil Hedley, watched his free videos on dissections, and referenced them during many visceral manipulation classes I’d attended. Gil describes his students as ‘Somanauts’ – Dedicated to exploring inner space’, my interest was piqued, I took the plunge and enrolled in a 6-day class.
I was blown away by my experience. Fully expecting the anatomical, clinical, and scientific nature of this training, the surprise for me was the spiritual, sacred, and loving quality that Gil brings to all his classes. At all times, the tone was mindful and respectful. We had daily opening and closing circles, where we processed our experiences and realizations. I was struck by how similar the class ‘container’ was to our own ATC training.
There were two “Teachers”; one female, one male. We knew a little bit about their lives and gave them names, Olivia Rose and Cosmo. An altar space was dedicated to them and throughout the workshop, we placed items there. We participated in a special ritual to welcome our “Teachers” and we had a heartfelt ritual to say our fond farewells.
The workshop was a most profound and sacred educational experience. It was wonderful to finally work with Gil in person. He’s an accomplished anatomist, educator, bodyworker, poet, artist, and spiritual guide. Simply put, he’s like no other educator I’ve known.
My “ah-ha” moments during my time working with Olivia Rose were:
• We’re as different on the inside as we are on the outside. There’s no one right or wrong way to be – there is truly a “spectrum of being.”
• I knew that the blood supply to/from the ovaries lay alongside the psoas muscle, but it was so cool to see that relationship and imagine the impact a tight/imbalanced psoas muscle could have on blood flow and hormone balance. Observing Olivia Rose’s ovaries laying right along with the psoas muscle, gave me a heightened sense of awareness when addressing psoas restriction in my client’s abdomen as well as while performing psoas stretches on myself.
• The brain structure and texture look like the small intestines, and the inside of the ovaries; similar patterns mirrored throughout where our body’s “intelligence” resides.
There’s a myriad of free videos available at gilhedley.com. However, as an ATC member, you can now receive a discount on Gil’s online resource library and online classes! Search for the discount code available to you in the Members Resources of the Collective Café once you log in to ATC’s website.
As ATC Abdominal Therapists, we pride ourselves on our anatomy and physiology knowledge, which we then use to educate our clients. That’s what sets us apart as practitioners, I strongly urge you to take the plunge as I did. Your journey through time and inner space will stay with you forever.
So outer or inner space, it’s all the same really, the connection is key, being aware of where you are right here, right now. Enjoy connecting with the anatomy nerd in you.
To find out more:
Resources for ATC Members: Discount Membership with Gil Hedley’s Anatomy Resources