Native Yoga Toddcast

Gil Hedley - Unveiling the Nerve Tree: A Journey into the Intricacies of the Human Body

February 01, 2024 Todd Mclaughlin | Gil Hedley Season 1 Episode 152
Native Yoga Toddcast
Gil Hedley - Unveiling the Nerve Tree: A Journey into the Intricacies of the Human Body
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Gil Hedley is a dedicated anatomy professional and teacher who has dedicated his life to studying the human body through cadaver dissection. He is known for his integral approach to anatomy, focusing on the interconnectedness of the body and the importance of understanding the whole person. Gil  has been teaching anatomy workshops and dissection courses for over 25 years. He is passionate about helping people develop a deep understanding and connection with their own bodies.

Visit Gil on his website: https://www.gilhedley.com/

Key Takeaways:

  • Gil Hedley's integral approach to anatomy focuses on the interconnectedness of the body and the importance of understanding the whole person.
  • The nervous system is a complex and interconnected network that extends throughout the entire body, and it is essential for self-regulation and overall well-being.
  • By developing a deep connection with the body and understanding its intricate structures, individuals can take control of their own nervous system and cultivate a sense of empowerment.
  • Gil's Nerve Tour aims to educate and inspire individuals in the yoga, massage, and bodywork communities to deepen their understanding of the nervous system and its role in overall health and well-being.

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Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. So happy you are here. My goal with this channel is to bring inspirational speakers to the mic in the field of yoga, massage bodywork and beyond. Follow us at @nativeyoga and check us out at nativeyogacenter.com. All right, let's begin! Hello and welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. My name is Todd McLaughlin. And I'm so delighted to bring to the show, to introduce you to.... I'm sure you probably know who he is.....Gil Hedley. Gil Hedley is dedicated anatomy professional and teacher. He has dedicated his life to studying the human body through cadaver dissection, and then relating the information that he's learned to anyone and everybody who is interested in the human body. But not just from a scientific and memorization of names and parts and places style but more one that helps us to connect with the human body on also a philosophical level. and, To cultivate a deep understanding of what it means to be human. And Gil's amazing! I'm so happy to have this opportunity. I'm so stoked. So you got to check him out at www.gilheadley.com He's on all the social channels Facebook, IG. Definitely go look at him on YouTube at @Somanaut. His videos are epic. If you're a yoga practitioner, bodyworker, whatever your field is..... a nurse, a doctor, or just a yoga, not just a yoga practitioner, but a yoga practitioner that's fascinated and in yoga and understanding their our bodies. You gotta go watch this guy. He's going to be here in North Palm Beach on Thursday, February 22. And he's going to be all over Florida as well. He's going to be in Orlando, Feb. 25, in Miami, Feb 20. So definitely share this episode so that people know that Gil's going to be in town. Check out his website, Gilheadley.com, which is in the description below. He's touring with his wife, Rachel Scott. And thank you, Rachel, for all your kind correspondence with me. And please go check out Rachel, www.rachelyoga.com. And I hope to bring Rachel on the show here soon for you as well. But you really got to go see Gil and meet Rachel, they are such an incredible couple. And you will be fascinated. So listen to this conversation and get a little bit of insight into the how fascinated Gil is by the body and the amount of time and hours that he spent studying and bringing quality information to the table. So with that being said, let's go ahead and begin. So excited to have this opportunity to bring Gil Hedley onto the podcast today. Gil, you are an inspiration to me. I've been hearing about you for years and enjoying your content on YouTube. You're a master anatomy teacher and you use the terminology somanaut. It's just a real honor to have you here. Thank you so much. How are you doing today? Thank you, fellow somanaut. Yeah, did you come up with that term? Or did you come up with that term? Or did you did you? I did, I was actually I was the editor of the Rolf lines journal back in the mid 90s. When I had completed my PhD and started my golfing career, and they're like, Oh, you you do this thing. Do this rough lines journal thing for us. So very cool. For three years, I was editor of Rolf lines, and I interviewed and like Conrad. And she I forgot to press Blair well before I talked to her for like two straight hours and then I was like, damn, I had one of those little handheld mini cassette recorders. This was Back in the 90s. And yes, I was like, I gotta write an article. Anyway, that was great. So basically, I was trying to describe Emily for the Rolf lines audience. And I called her a seminar Soma for body and not for navigator and say hello, you know, so a body sail or body navigator. So I quickly adopted it as my own. That sort of name. You know, being summoned. Alec's was want to call my business back then. And, and everyone wants to be a Salman, not now. So all you got to do is admit that you're interested in diving into interspace. And voila, you're a seminar. I love it. That's so cool. And, you know, Gil, I'm really excited to see you when you're on a tour right now that you call the nerve tour. For those that are listening, Gil is in his motorhome. For those who watching on YouTube, you can see or you can see his backdrop, very creative. I like it. And I see that you're gonna you're touring 111 111 cities across the United States over it looks like a period of like maybe eight months or so. Well, actually, we started in October, got back home for Christmas around December 19. And hit the road again, about a week ago. And we'll go we'll go quite right on through next December. Amazing. Wow, it's a long time at home, I will be returning to Colorado with Rachel she has projects to do and I will be teaching my regular dissection schedule in the lab. So I have four three dissections scheduled for this year that I'll return home for. But other than that, we're going to be we're going to be city after city, we wanted to go everywhere. So that's what we're doing. Oh my gosh, all of you listening, please check the his website at skill headley.com. And you can see the whole list. And you know, if he's coming to your town, you can check them out. How is it being on the road like that? I mean, I think it would be amazing. But obviously being on the road for that length of time can be challenging. What is your experience thus far? It's it's fun, actually, we get to be in all kinds of cool places and meet wonderful warm audiences in different cities. And we make a point of trying out the local diner or what have you. We try and go as off brand as possible, off corporate brand as possible and see what folks folks are doing locally. So that's fun for us. And we do a lot of driving a lot of admin, it's a bottomless pit of admin to run a project this this massive. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it without Rachel my partner. Yes. And also a number of other people in the background who are sort of, you know, keeping us going we do a lot of camper maintenance. Yeah, vehicle that's your home and your office and your tour bus. You know, it takes a beating. So we prefer keep up with our camper, and sleep but a lot of truck stops and roadside rest areas on highways. We'll take what we can get folks like stay at my house. Come on, we'll have a bedroom for you. I'm like, No, I have my bedroom. It's perfect. I appreciate the hospitality and we tend to pass on it because I don't know. I'd like to know where my toothbrush is every night. That's awesome. Gil, you know, you're seeing dedicated and committed to educating people about human anatomy. Can you give me a little bit of that is true. I am on a mission. It's I'm sort of obsessed actually. And this tour is about the nerve tour or about the nervous system. I'm gathering. I'm sure it encompasses everything. But can you give me a little bit of insight into what your goal is with this education process that you're involved in? Absolutely, yeah, I didn't I undertook a large project. A year ago, basically January through May of 2023. I was full time in the lab. I'm talking super full time filming the doing the dissection of of a donor who I call captain. He was a pilot and and so I didn't I wanted to do a detailed dissection of the nerve tissues in relationship to demonstrate that through photography and footage. It's not something I've been able to do throughout my career I've been being I've been carefully bringing forward the textural biological layers of the body. Because I feel like body workers other than a structural integrators or otherwise can really connect through texture. And so that's been my emphasis and Dempster. continuity across regions. I'm not a regional anatomist. I'm an integral anatomist, my, I'm very keen to demonstrate relationship continuity. And these texture layers of whole body and whole person phenomenon really, so that's been going great. But when you when you dissect by layers, you've proven that you prune the nerve tree really hard when you do it. I've demonstrated the central nervous system in my workshops, hundreds of times but but the more the peripheral branching of the nerve tree, I haven't given as much fat as much detail and no less the autonomics which are really hard to dissect. So I thought, let me just do this project and it will create basically a visual document of the nerve tree in the wild, you know, in the woods in someone's body, not just in a book. So we can see that and you know, basically up the game of the bodywork community, the yoga Pilates fitness industries, in their relationship to the nervous system done from an integral approach. So that's kind of my goal, not only that, upping that game, but also bringing on board into my world. Those folks who have a keen interest in nervous system already know have studied it in their, in their preparation for their career doctors, you know, osteopath, natural paths, our paths, chiropractors, PTs, OTs, the kind of people in in those sorts of other allied medical professions as well as the physicians themselves who have a keen interest in a nerve, nerve tissues. But it takes a lot to put it together in an actual body, you know, it takes a lot to put it together from the books, you can't actually. And so I did. I did take it even further than I had hoped, actually, in the five months that I worked on the project. So that I have a wonderful, wonderful compendium of videos now that document these tissues. And also, you know, the finale is quite beautiful, because they did manage to kind of extract the whole nervous tree from the body, including the autonomics, the musculoskeletal Plexus sees this sympathetic Trump spinal cord, all in relationship. So you see it as one as the one thing that it is, but that you can't put together by paging through a book, you know, wow. Has anybody done this to the level that you've taken it that you know, of? Yes, actually, in 1925. Doesn't happen often. But in 1925, there were two medical students at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri, and their professors notice what a great job they did on this arm. And they were like, do that to the whole body. Wow. And it gave him a cadaver. And they spent 1500 hours this pair of medical students and did an the most astonishing demonstration of the nerve tissue that I think may ever be done. I couldn't compete with it, to be honest. But there's only been a few others who have you know, Vaughn Huggins has a pretty nice demonstration. In the, you know, Body Body worlds exhibit. But it's, I kind of took it a little further, actually, because I did the autonomic flexes, sees in great detail and brought them out together with the rest. So it was it was really interesting. I can't imagine what type of physical skill does this require. I read a book by Abraham for guests recently, both of his cutting for stone and the covenant of water where in some of his writing, he'll speak about the intricacy of how skillful the going into the cadaver how much skill is required and the finesse. Can you explain a little bit about the challenge that that presented you? Thanks for asking. Not many people even think about that. But it it was, I had to dissect very differently than I usually do. In the lab for a class, I'm kind of going for speed. So I expedite the dissections as I want the participants to take their time and to really connect with what they're doing. And I can kind of promise not to worry, you'll never get behind because I can come up behind you and catch it up. Ah, you know, very quickly so yes. And so there's a lot of skill in that actually and I have a really deep connection to the to the tissue textures that allow me to work differently with each biological texture layer. So that, you know, they come out nicely. And, and yet, when approaching the nerve tissues had to kind of abandon that strategy, slow it way down. But the scalpel down, this is not scalpel work. This is paddling. So I have this little stainless steel spatula that's way smaller than my pinky. It's about a millimeter thick and not as not as broad as my pinky. And I basically dissected his body with a little tiny metal spatula, and hemostat. So paddle pole, paddle pole, power pole, and did that for hundreds of hours, in excruciating physical positions that I'm still recovering from even seven months after the project ended. Wow. Because it's like doing a, you know, a yoga posture for 567 hours a day, bent and twisted, while, you know, trying to hold the glasses on the tip of my nose? Well, yes, kind of, you know, so it wasn't comfortable. And so there's, there's a lot that goes into why this sort of thing doesn't happen very often, just the sheer physicality of it. And then skill, the skill is, is to not cut anything. You know, it's, it's like a negative skill. It's like, Are you patient enough and slow enough, that you can bring this tissue forward into visibility, without destroying it. And even that being said, you still have to take away more than the thing is, in order for there to be any potential for a visual connection or recognition, interesting. So you have to, it's a process of abstracting of straw to draw away from you're constantly drawing tissues away, until you've drawn away just enough that it's clear enough that you can say, Aha, I'm actually looking at something rather than just a massive wall of inscrutable lymphatics or something like that. Wow. I first heard about you and I was taking the neuroma neuromuscular therapy training with Judith Delaney here in Miami, and people were raving about you and your skill as a teacher in the cadaver realm, and I've never had that opportunity myself, I am extremely interested in would love to try it. So I'm so fascinated to hear some of like, the intricacies of intricacies of what you're speaking of, in terms of the skill is super fun, and I can take anybody, especially bodyworkers, because you all have great connection with the body with your hands. Medical students don't have that, right, it's way harder to teach medical students dissection than it is to teach bodyworkers dissection, right, because of that, built in comfort with the body, you know, you ask a medical student to like, hold the head, and they don't know what to do with it, they think it's like a bowl of China, whereas you'd ask a body worker to hold the head now, like, Ah, so it makes all the difference in the world, also to have self motivated learners, you know, in the lab, so it's one thing to be told you have to do a dissection, that's another thing to say, I'm gonna save up my money and put away a week of my life and I'm gonna fly somewhere and do a dissection. That's a lot of, you know, that level of interest makes for a really powerful learning opportunity for everybody because everybody's on board and in with both feet, and excited to learn has a base of knowledge. And then we're going to basically destroy that base of knowledge in order to create a new base of knowledge that's based on an actual actual tissue actual body actual human anatomy, as opposed to two deep book images. Very cool. Did you is this something that like you were interested in as a child? What what piqued your interest? What was your? When did you get bit? Yeah, sort of bug freshman year in high school. I skipped into the biology class, instead of the earth sciences or whatever. And the teacher, we had a rat. And so I did a great job on my rat, so much so that she told me and my buddy, you should do this cat. And so the teacher had an extra cat from the Advanced Biology class. So freshman year I dissected a cat must have been whatever, 1314 years old and I loved it. And by the time I got to be a senior, I was walking around the Advanced Biology lab, teaching my friends how to dissect their cats and feeling very comfortable with it at an early age but when I went to grad to college, I had a job in the biology lab bagging fetal pigs and cleaning out test tubes, but I didn't do any dissection in college. I didn't do any dissection again, actually until I was in grad school, and I was I had gone to the Rolf Institute and done the massage training the foundations and bodywork they call that way back in the in the early 90s and 91. I took that and and so I learned massage, you know basic Swedish, excellent style, Swedish type of massage. And when I got back to grad school and started practicing on my friends, I had one friend say, hey, you know, I'm in medical school, and I had a med school in the University of Illinois. And you know, I need a study partner. I'm gonna go in on the weekends to study for our Monday tests. Do you want to come with me? I was like, Sure. And so they would have done an arm that week, and then they'd be one arm left. So he'd be you do that arm while I study this arm and you do that leg? I'll study this. I did that for for, I think four iterations. I I went into the lab with him. That was my initial mild dissection experience. And I actually signed up with the medical school, University of Chicago, one of the professors there, I'm like, Hi, I'm in an ethics program. But I really want to dissect a cadaver. He's like, All right, I'll see if I can find you on. And I was going to do kind of an independent study. Even in grad school, I was so keen on it. And that didn't actually go through. But by the time I trained and completed my golfing training, I went to the annual meeting in I think it was 1993 or 1994. And they were having their first meeting of the anatomy faculty in like 10 years. So Tom Meyers and Roberts life and Lewis Schultz and, and just the whole gang from back then, and, and Tom and Robert will like Gil, once you come to our anatomy meeting, you know, Ron Thompson, and you know, the whole gang, and so wonderful people. And so I went and I was like, Hey, fellas, it was all guys. It's like 10, guys. Hey, you know, Wouldn't it be neat if y'all did that, you know, dissection, again, like you did 10 years before that, either off had been there. And she had, you know, gone into the lab with Louis and Ron Thompson, Ron took a million pictures and, and that became the basis of a whole study. And I thought, let's, let's repeat that. It's time. They're like, Yeah, that's a great idea. First guy to get a cadaver. You know, we'll all go there. And we'll do it. I was like, awesome. And let it lie. And then like, two, three months later, I'm like, How come? I haven't gotten the call yet? Like, where does the cadaver when are we gonna go? And so I'm calling the other folks. And they're like, I didn't get a cadaver. I was like, Oh, no. And so that was my idea. No, I have to do it. So I called around a little bit and lined up a cadaver and a laboratory. I was Dr. Headley. At that point, I could be like, hello, this is Dr. Headley. I represent the international anatomy faculty of the Rolf Institute. And we would like ourselves a laboratory you could ever please. And the dude was like, You come to my office we'll chat about I was like, Well, I made dear friends with that guy, Roger Faison, and he invited me and I was like, Okay, well, I got the cadaver. I got the lab, they called the other people up. And they're like, I have recently bought a horse and need to shoe it. You know, I have recently married and I'm like, they're not going Oh, no. So I got my, my Rolf, my Rolf Institute directory. And like, went, you know, started doing like a one mile than a five mile radius around the lab and a 10 mile 20 mile radius around the lab and just called people until I had put together a group of eight people. And I did my first wow, I led my first dissection because I'm like, well, they'll know what they're doing. And I'm ahead of the game by four days. So wow, that's how it started. That's amazing girl. So focus so dedicated, hungry for it quickly before you know it. I that's what I wanted to do. You know, I was more interested in the in the anatomy than I was finding myself teaching anatomy to my golfing clients without them without their really keen interest. Like, I think I just expanded that when I ran out of offers, I went to the massage therapists and, and then I, I, and then that expanded into just anyone you know, who who had an interest I stopped advertising in like, 1993 I think, no. Alright, 2003 2003 I stopped, I was advertising full page ads and a massage magazine. And that kind of thing. And then I was like, I just want to see what happens with word of mouth. So I just dropped the advertising. And at that point, the people who I taught already had just told their friends, and it's been word of mouth. My whole business is word of mouth. amazingness tours, word of mouth. I haven't advertised and magazines or anything like that. It's so cool. I know. I've been enjoying watching your website and just seeing the way that you've laid out the excitement For the event on that know, what have you learned about the neurons? What do you got? Like, what? 35 hours, maybe 40 hours? What have I learned? Okay, I realized that's a big question. Yeah. I mean, I'm so curious. It's got to be some insight, some big ones. Yeah, absolutely. So many insights, I'll give you five hours worth of insight talk, and then I'll edit the 97 days of footage and give you a bit more. So Well, for one thing. The nervous system is a mental abstract convention. Right? That's a left brains law. Category. Yeah. And what we actually have is the human body, an embryo differentiated into all kinds of textures and structures that remain one. A nerve is an organ, not any given nerve is a composite of tissues, it has its blood vessels with their epithelial, it has nerve tissue, there's there's connective tissue, right? And you can't separate these things. You can't separate the brain from the heart, you can't separate the nervous tissue from the connective tissue. You can't separate these things. They're, they're a functioning hole. Right? And so when we say, a nerve, even people are thinking a neuron, they're not thinking of it as a composite structure in relationship to other tissues and only functioning in that relationship. So many times while dissecting we're like, is this a nerve? Or is this a connective tissue? And just like, yes, it's a nerve, and it's connective tissue, that's innervated. Fascia, or that string there is, is a fibrous collage in this guitar string, with communication pathways right through it. So you can't physically differentiate these things, you can only mentally differentiate them. So I think that's important to know that you're always touching all of it. Yes, that doesn't mean you can't be specific in your touch though, you can be highly specific in your touch through intention. Right and through your connection to the different textures, because the body though it is, one is differentiated into many textures. But the brain's tendency, once you differentiate something is to separate it out and to make it a distinct, individual remembered thing. And it's never that in the actual body, it's never that it's always the whole. That's, that's, that's the right brains lesson, you know, basically, that it precedes the whole in context, everything is in context. And so what I love to do is show people the context of their favorite thing, so that they have an expanded understanding and a more comprehensive and meaningful and more therapeutically relevant understanding of the things your favorite so if your favorite thing is Tasha, great, I'm going to show you fascia in relationship. You come in as a massage therapist, and your brain is in the muscle. I'm gonna say great. You love muscle tissue? Well, let me show you why that really is. Because every named muscle tissue is in that mental abstraction. Right? That's been cut away from the body. It's not what it actually is, number one, number two, it has viscera, every named muscle tissue has guts. It has, it has the brain and heart plugged into his belly, it has a belly, it has lymphatics It has everything. So let's understand something like even a muscle as an organ in relationship and put it into context of its fascia. And expand from there now. Massage Therapist, you don't go this Wednesday, before you see muscle tissue. And in my dissection class of people, we started on Monday, just about two days I'm really confused on lost at sea here, or I haven't seen my best friends yet. Sorry. That's what a human body is. And I'm dragging this out so that you can enter into relationship with what a human body actually is, rather than the fantasy that you're touching. Wow. Great point. Fascinating. I saw one of your YouTube videos you made there's there's a lot of myths and a lot of things we say as either massage therapists or yoga teachers that might be a little incorrect. And I'm curious say a classic one might be breathe deeper or work with your breath to calm your nervous system. Do you feel I think that's totally doable? I mean, what a great way to link into your autonomic nervous system then through modulating your breath. I mean, if I'm teaching anything on this tour, it's that we can enter into relationship with our nervous system in A way that facilitates our self regulation, because at the moment, we're suffering from massive full society level limbic hijack. Right? We're suffering from a takeover of our nervous system, by energies that are very overt. In their fear mongering, etc, yes, there's a lot of stress in the air, we have a whole generation of kids who are, who are like, I'm stressed to degrees that are beyond anything anyone has ever experienced, I have great empathy for them. Because they're being asked to endure a kind of stress level that that keeps them at a peak of anxiety. And I'm trying to step in with this tour and say, okay, so great that's going on. And also, here's these little things you can do for yourself to self regulate, and take back, I don't want to, I guess I say control because I'm not and I it's not so much about controlling yourself in a negative sense. But stepping into the role of a leader for yourself, rather than allowing yourself to be led, like by the Bowl ring, down a path of fear and anxiety that's being served up by shovelful all day long, because it keeps our attention. So you know, our attention is a commodity right now, to a degree, it never surpassed our attention is we are the product that's being sold our attention. And anyone who can grasp that attention and and sell it is going to make money. So the question is, how do we pay attention to ourselves? How do we give ourselves and you know, who say, Oh, we're the most narcissistic people that's ever run the planet? Yes, and no, you know, because actually, are we really paying attention to ourselves? Or are we paying attention to what we're told matters about ourselves by certain strategists? Who would sell our attention? So if we, if we turn the table a little bit, and, and step in and say, Oh, I can actually feel into myself? How do I feel? A little ratty in here. Oh, crazy. Okay, so what can we do about that? Is there anything that we could do to shift that, I mean, just literally going. And just when you're in that state, literally just blowing some wind across your lip membranes here, right? Just making breath, go over epithelium? And just pay attention to how that feels? And if and do it just do it if you to? And it's like, oh, okay, all of a sudden, I don't even remember the news. I don't. I'm not sure when my taxes are due at this moment. It's great Plinko I can have a moment here, or I'm in the Nerf tour. I'm taking people through certain like brain interoceptive exercises where you can feel your way in there. And honestly, it feels so good. Yes, to make those connections, and then it's like, oh, even though I feel bad a lot. I can feel good on purpose. In a way that actually regulates my nervous system. In which case I become the I have a choice with regard to how my nervous system is being led. Great plank, Gill, I'm so glad you're bringing this up. I'm raising two young children right now and well, teenager and 17 and 10. And I can attest 110%, to what you're saying. Yeah, I feel it in my own experience. But when as I'm watching children, I definitely. I like that you're bringing so much attention to the fact that how intensely hijacked concentration awareness and what to focus on is right now. Yeah, it is a big deal. Yeah, it's a big deal. And it's kind of like our lives depend on it. I feel like it's really a big deal. Yeah, I agree. In other words, we're spending our lives that's what we do here on planet Earth. So how are we spending them? Like where are because this is what we're doing? We wake up in the morning, and you're going to spend a day How are you going to spend it, and we can spend it, you know, in a way that, you know, enhances our experience and those of the people around us, we can fritter it away. All right, we're allowed to fritter some of it away, that's part of the deal here, too. You can read or you can walk, you can waste, you're going to waste some your life. And we're allowed, you know, but, but we don't have to spend it. Great for purposes, that, that aren't necessarily supporting our experience. Well, good point, I like the way that you're blending your passion for anatomical study, but then bringing it into a relatable in the moment, day to day experience. So this sounds more than just a look at these tissues, study, memorize the name and now take a test and and hopefully fill in the blank correctly, but bring the actual understanding of the human body but into into real life experience. So and I also noticed that you have a PhD in theological studies where I'm getting the sense of your philosophical inquiry, aligned with your physical like, like actually investigating the body, the physical body that you can touch and feel, which is fascinating. Can you share, I'm wanting to bring those worlds together a bit more, let's just say I am bringing those worlds together in myself. So just for having, yeah, you know, you got a PhD in ethics from the University of Chicago. And then that world was constantly evaluating, studying and pontificating, making rules or studying rules with respect to the body, while having no knowledge or connection, or in of the body or sense of embodiment. So that was one side of my world. That makes sense. And I was like, Okay, this is disingenuous, to have so much to say about the body, except to have a connection with it. And so my my study of massage, ralphing, tai chi, getting married, having kids raising children, and doing dissection, that whole part of my life, has been a quest for a deeper sense of embodiment, so that when I reflect on things, ethically, I'm not doing so from a position that's alienated from an embodied stance, like, what does the body have to say about this, given all these orders to that I have to live with, you know, so it's very interesting to look into the human form and see, you know, ideas that might influence how we live in the world, like, in other words, this is how we live in the world, we live in the world than an embodied way. If morality is our way of being in the world, and ethics is the study of ways of being in the world, then, then, we ought to learn something about the body or from at least in my purse, someone else does legal ethics, they go and get a law degree, someone that has medical ethics, and they go become a doctor and an ethicist, I became an anatomist and an ethicist because I felt that, that in order to really speak to an embodied people about their way of being in the world, you ought to have a connection to the body. And then on the other side of it, as I've looked into the study of anatomy, and physiology, and all of these things, there's a real lack of philosophical insight with regard to what you're doing. So it's like you go into a physiology book, and it says that in the first paragraph, we are using a mechanistic model, you know, or we are mechanist they're very, they're very forward in their admission of that without actually considering the implications of that for the, for what you see. In other words, if that's your starting point, well, what will you see or what will you allow yourself to see how will you live? How will you be limited by your assumptions? And how will your assumptions you know, bring you into new understandings? It can, it can do both, but you have to know you have assumptions. Yeah, you have to be cognizant of your assumptions to make an argument. And so my ethical training helped me to you know, have a have a knee jerk. Yes, you know, recognition. Shouldn't have the obviousness of the assumptions that are uninspected. That is so cool. Gil, you know, I, when I was reading your what you wrote on your website, you wrote integral anatomy sees nature as a mirror, reflecting self, rather than the other end looks to develop an understanding of the whole person, as well as the whole body. And I feel like what you were just saying, when I read that, when I first read that I went, ooh, let me think about that for a moment. That's good. That's really good. But I see, I see what you're getting at, I see what you're saying, like I get it, let's, let's claim, if we're going to claim a starting point, you know, if you're going to use machines as your mirror, that's a very left brainy way of going about, you're going to see things as separate parts, perhaps working together. Replaceable probably, and without ever getting to a sense of the whole or even connecting with life. Integral anatomy starts with an individual, which is a form of nature. And I do look to nature as my mirror because it feels good. You know, if you're sitting in a box room, you're sitting in a box room right now I'm sitting in a box room right now. Right? The forms around us, are you clearly in geometric projections of the mind? You're literally in a rectangle, 3d rectangle thing? Well, how does that feel when you are a form of nature, you are trees, you're a friggin plant in that room. And you when your energy reaches out and touches the walls, it doesn't feel its likeness? Right. And so we get weird and tired when we're inside of these boxes. And but when we go out in nature, it's like if you suddenly breathe, like why can I breathe now it's because when your heart reaches into the space around you with its electromagnetic waves, and they go quite a distance, it palpates a tree, it palpates grass, a bush fractal forms, it sees them in a distance, you, you see that, and you literally see yourself in the mirror, I mean, when I see a tree, I see my lungs, I see, I see my relationship to the earth breathing. I've dissected the lungs many, many, many times and, and enjoyed, always enjoy the ever the ever expanding branchings You know, of the tissues, in their inter woven fractal forms, and then you see that outside, I'm looking out the window right now I can't help it because I'm like, I'm thirsty. Now talking about I know, like, give me this box. I'm like, I gotta get us a tree. And, and so I intentionally say things like the nerve tree, you know, to bring that into people's consciousness rather than I don't talk about the nervous systems so much. You know, I say it because it gets me into a conversation with somebody because they won't know what I'm talking about, if I just say the nerve tree over and over again. So I'll save the nervous system as a way to get you into a conversation. So we can actually talk about the nerve tree, which is the living fractal form, communicative Oregon, that is, like this pulsing jellyfish in, in, inter woven with every other tissue of the body, its arms and tendrils are wrapped together with those other arms and tendrils of other differentiated structures like the heart, which is also a branching fractal form and then they're so interwoven, that they mutually interpenetrate each other, you know, such that the arterial tree is wrapped in nerves and the nerve tree is penetrated by capillary system networks. And they're not they're not separable except his mental constructs and to experience that, you know, in the body or to witness it at some level or at least to be told to think about it, you know, brings you a little closer to it, I think and allows you to have a different experience than if you think you know, my nervous system is some kind of schematic in a book with lines at right angles branching and and plugging in like a friggin you know, electrical panel in your house or something. Oh my gosh, the picture you have on your website of you real high up in a tree. And when I saw the nerve tour, and I saw you in the tree, I thought the nerve tree that's so cool, man. That's a great just visually seeing the tree the words connected side by side. I think even that imagery was power is powerful. I have climbed around in it. Right, that's what I did that's See, that's what the nerve project was, was me climbing around in that tree and getting to know it so that I could get it simplified enough that I could tell stories about it, and help other people enter into connection with it. Because that's very empowering. I think, you know, if the if not at the nervous system is just this ridiculously complicated schematic and a book with a bunch of taxonomies, dividing it over and over again into more and more complicated sets of words, then you're alienated from it, rather than enter into connection with a but if I can show you, you know, a body that was a person's body actually a person that I knew, all right, a friend, and, and, and have you want to know him and and then witness these nerve tissues in such a way that you have to say that send me too. And then you can be like, Okay, I want to I want to enter into a personal relationship with this because, you know, and then once I do, then I can own it. And if I can own it, then I'll stop giving it away to the stupid television, or what have you. And don't get me wrong, I love to watch Netflix series. And we're watching the Oracle right now Rachel, my partner and I we just love Star Trek. It's great. They're always probing philosophical questions on the shows, I really enjoy them. But the so I'm not like a anti anything guy. I'm just saying like, you can spend your time the way you want to the way you choose. And if you feel hijacked, you are probably and you need to take back the helm, you know of your own nervous system. This is incredible. What kind of what kind of feedback are you receiving, like after the presentation? What your team Wow, of appreciation and, and, and autonomic reset. People that you can literally get an autonomic reset in this talk. It's quite beautiful, actually. So folks are really, really connecting to themselves and having a lot of aha moments. And a lot of appreciation, which is always nice. I think that it's easier to learn when you're appreciating rather than one year. antagonized or fighting or you can learn that way too. But I kind of like to ride the appreciation train. Do you ever receive opposition? Like I listened to a podcast that you're on earlier? today because I wanted to do my homework and and at the beginning of the podcast, the person had said You know, if you're if cadaver work and or dissection offends you, then you might not want to listen, which I understand that. That's true. Sometimes I hear people say that odd. You just froze for 20 seconds. Oh, my apologies. Let me start that question over. Sometimes when I mentioned anatomy and cadaver work, people will clam up. Like they'll they'll get really squeamish about the concept. I'm fascinated by it. So I don't It's not that I don't understand it. I'm gonna guess I do understand it because there's a lot of culture that he's like, like might look at doing dissection as like, Oh, you shouldn't do that or or that's gross or you know, that type of reaction. Now, I'm guessing everybody that comes to your presentation is of our like minded thinking and are curious to start do better spouses who get dragged along. And, and partners were like, Yeah, who love my work, and they're keen to share it with their partner, but the partner comes in pretty, you know, skeptical or trepidation. And that same theory you described and I can win them over pretty quickly because my talks are always woven with nature pictures, family photos, you know, things that soften the blow or or rather tilled the soil so that the seeds that get planted can actually go go in, get some water and sprout. So I mean, I had a person with zero, the partner of a friend, and the partner was an accountant, with no connection to anatomy, and I hung in there for the whole five hours and loved it. So it is, you know, after the seat, because it's really pretty engaging. So I made this I mean, I always be like, if my mother can't follow this wrong, you know, she's 89 She doesn't know anatomy and so to my mind, if it doesn't engage someone there, you know, it will engage anyone with any professional interest in it. Yeah. And yet I am not only wanting to engage Even professionals. As professionals, I want to engage professionals as human beings, you know, who aspire to, you know, learn and grow in their whole person, not just in their, you know, professional or intellectual prowess. That's so cool, Gil, because as you're saying, I'm thinking, I gotta bring my kids to this. You know, like, I wasn't thinking that beforehand, but now that you addressed childhood challenge, and then the way you're weaving it together to make me think I need to bring my family, because then 10 might be a little young. Okay, well, thank you for okay. I was a homeschool dad. And I know what my kids could handle how old was the other 117 17 could definitely hang with it. Okay, I'm glad you said that level, you know, there's a ridiculous amount of Yeah, vocabulary verbiage that pours out of my head. And I tell everybody, because there's just too many words, for anybody, even the most professional person will be like, Oh my God, that's word salad to the max. So I'm like, you know, I'm gonna make words. But what's more important is that you enter into a relationship with images and let my voice be like a sing song in the background, you know? And yeah, I'll say things that might turn you on, etcetera. But what it's really about, you know, is not this massive vocabulary that accompanies. That's cool. I appreciate that. That makes sense. I mean, I teach anatomy during our teacher training program. And oftentimes, I feel like if I can get 30% to actually listen, and you know, that's a huge accomplishment. What is your technique for when you feel like I'm sure you've been in anatomy classes where you've maybe thought this is such a boring way to interact with this, this could be done so much differently, which I get the feeling. This has been your mission to like, bring it to life and make learning anatomy fun, or at least interesting and relatable, but it is such a heavy subject or heavy subject. Can you give some insight into well, I'll tip my hat to Tom Meyers and Ron Thompson. They were my first exposure to anatomy study, I was a grad student in ethics. And here I am showing up at the Rothman Institute is Uber intellectual. And my professors at the University of Chicago their their model for class interaction was war. You know, you you went to battle for your ideas and you crush your enemies. That was it. It was it was brutal. And, and and when I got to the Roth Institute on Pearl Street, they're 301 Pearl. I think it's like a marijuana dispensary now, but at the time, it was their off Institute. And Tom is Tom Myers is up there in front of the classroom and he's dropping his pants and showing us his quadriceps and he's just funny as all get out. And we had so it was like so different than what I was used to where literally the professor is a general and, and you're literally like troops marching across the battlefield to slaughter your enemies on the other side of the seminar table. And here we were just playing. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I could be a teacher. Yeah, it was like I could I couldn't I bad I can relate to I don't want to do what my teachers are doing in grad school. I don't want to have anything to do with that. It's like whack a intellectual Whack a Mole. Like your professors up there in a suit at a podium and they say something and someone reaches up and tries to argue with and they go along. You down. I was like, Okay, that's interesting. I respect these people. They're really smart. And I don't ever want to do this dynamic. You know, but when I saw it, I saw the way Tom taught. And Ron was also hysterical and engaging. And I was like, No, I could I could. I could do this and then a Rafer also has huge influence on me, Don Van Vleet. I don't know if you ever heard of Don VanVleet. But he taught with Emily Conrad. He was Barbara Brennan's Rolfer. You know, he was he was a Rafer in New York City and he he was an energy healer as well. He was clairvoyant, and he could, he was also a ballet dancer. He had all kinds of talents. But he was a real summon not a real body explorer. He would spend hours a day on his jungle gym winding around talking to his bacteria. He was very funny. And he was so excited. He was so jacked up about about what he was into. And I remember I didn't I was going to do an interview with with with Don rest in peace. He died a few years back with Don for the Rolf lines and I, I went and I asked him one question, and he literally just just gave us like an hour and a half long answer to it. And I recorded at this time, I press record I'm trying to transcribe it. I was like, There's literally no period. I can't, I can't punctuate. But the thing was that he conveyed was his just deep and fouzia hasm and excitement and it was absolutely contagious. And I might not have understood a word he said, but I left exhilarated from my time with him and wanting to be excited about what I was excited about. Yeah. And so he led with excitement. And that's what I try and do, I try and lead with excitement, I have found that it's people don't want to know what you know, and say, Oh, he's smart. You know, they want to be excited about what they're excited about. So I got a good lesson from, from Don on that and from Tom on how to have fun and play in the classroom. And it was I picked up on those themes and ran with them. I also had a wonderful professor in grad school, not in grad school. I had wonderful professors and grad school, although they were generals. I, my professor in college, Tom McCall, ethics professor was kind of my mentor there, and he was all about building community and his classrooms. So he wanted that conversation to happen, but he wanted it to happen civilly with kindness and respect, appreciation and real listening for to someone else. And I took that from him and brought that into, into my work. And also, I spent five years in a psychodynamic energy healing school in lower Manhattan. After my Rolfing training, I went and did that and became the anatomy teacher for that school that's really kind of gotten going on start doing dissection as that psychodynamic, psycho dynamic. Can you say, dynamics and energy healing? Yeah. Can you can you define that for me or give me a little insight? Sure. psychodynamics really comes from Wilhelm Reich. Ultimately, he's kind of the father of psycho dynamics, I would say. And Reich is sort of the father of bodywork. But coming from the, from the psychologists side of the fence. Reich was in Freud's inner circle and was kicked out because he put hands on people he's like, it's in the body, you got to touch people you got as I'm laying there in the couch. And that was the absolute forbidden thing to do for Freud. So right formed his own world, and it evolved touching from him came people like Alexander Lowen, and John Paracas, with bioenergetics. And core energetics. Barbara Brennan studied core energetics with John Paracas, whose wife was a channel, Eva Paracas. And so you had the Pathwork lectures that were channeled lectures from, from the guide. And so people would do this work together path work, and, and, and bodywork and Barber, Brandon was in that lineage. And my teacher at the healing school had been barber bindings assistant for some five years or so and then branched off and made his own school. So I went to the school that involves kind of the lineage of Wilhelm Reich through John Paracas, Barbara Brennan, my teacher, and we would read these Pathwork lectures. And, and we would, you know, lay hands on each other. And so that was a foundation for kind of working with groups that I developed, and I don't work any, any way near the style that my teacher worked. levanto Abasi, but, but I did realize that what's important is that people are growing as human beings here. And so I may be teaching anatomy, but why the reason why I'm bothering is to help facilitate people's connection with their bodies, so they can grow as, as a person and have spiritual development, you know, so my workshops have always been transformational. And that I think is, is from my lineage of the healing, healing work. Amazing. This is my healing work. It's my personal healing work, to learn, study and teach. And it's my healing service, to create opportunities where people can step into their own transformational experience through appreciating their bodies, getting connected with them, and then seeing where that might take them. Amazing girl, I can't wait to hang out with you in person. You know, I noticed like, you're gonna be here in North Palm Beach on Feb. 22nd. But I also saw you're gonna be in Miami on February 20. And then yeah, and Orlando, Feb. 25th. So those of you listening, I know it's far and wide. But if you're not in Florida, I know you're all over the place. Your tour dates are so extensive. I mean, when I look at a rock band or a musician, they don't. They're not touring even as heavily as you are. It's pretty impressive. And I just want to thank you so much, Gil, because I wrote you about a year and a half ago and you were so cool. and to respond to me, you know, and I knew it was a, I knew it was like a shot in the dark because I thought, you know, Gil's got so much going on. And I know we didn't know each other have that have a connection, you know, buy from a person and you were so kind in your response and so thoughtful and, and you said, I'm real busy right now working on what you're now presenting and, you know, contact me in the future. And I just want to thank you that for sort of generosity, I felt that from the start. And I mean, your enthusiasm is so infectious. I just, I really appreciate it the first YouTube video I watched of you. I don't even have to ask you this. I swear you had somebody in the background moving the plant around? I think it was, I think you were doing like something about the IT bands and about how massage therapists say you got to stretch the IT band and you're saying, Look, let me show you what the IT band looks like, which for me was so amazing. Because I didn't even realize how flat and wide it was like that. That was cool. I always had like my my textbook vision of the it drive this little thin little wire going down the side leg. So when you showed on the cadaver what it looked like but but on top of it, the plants moving in the background, you're doing some funky head movements. And I was like what is going on right now. And I was just so intrigued. It just like caught my attention. I was like, This guy's cool. This guy's doing something so unique. The thing is, I move so much. I'm literally like, I'm just like, I'm a mover I you've looked at like little videos of me when I was a boy out on the baseball field. And I'm like moving around, I couldn't stand still. I was one of those kids. And it hasn't changed. It's gotten worse. And so we film that. And at the time, we'd film it little clips, and maybe Rachel would edit it. And I edit everything now. But those that were trying to like just throw something up on YouTube. So she grabbed a clip and edited it. And she she was like, Oh my gosh, kill is just like a Mexican jumping beans rolling all over the floor. What can we do and she had some filter selection. And it was like a stabilizer filter. So she's like, let's stabilize him a little bit. So when she clicked the stabilizer filter, she didn't really look at what happened. And then I put up on YouTube when I saw the plan dancing around the background, because basically, they stabilize me. And so the plant was rocking. Oh my gosh, man, I had asked around and said if you left the plant would have been still and I would have been all over the place. But instead they kind of made me made everything move around me. And it just is nauseating. I have so many people writing in and anything like what's with the plan. It's brilliant though. I think it worked in your favor because I don't know a little stuff like that. Like like when you mentioned your anatomy teacher sent here. Let me pull down my pants and show you my quad like, and you're like What the heck's going on? It's something about that. Just it just made me like get even more. It was great. I needed. I needed it. Well, we'll Gilman this has been such a pleasure. I can't thank you enough. I mean, I was mutual. Todd, I'm appreciating your invitation here and a chance to chat with you and I very much look forward to meeting you in person before long after I get through the New Orleans, Texas and then the Florida Panhandle of Pensacola, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Tampa, Fort Myers. And then we'll come over to Miami and, and and Jupiter in Orlando and Jacksonville. Amazing. I know, I think that the cross section of America that you're being able to witness by touring around the country that would be that'd be my question. Maybe at the end of your tour, like what is your synopsis of America from the ground? From? Oh, yeah, I love it. Because I went around and 2017 to 46 cities. So it was this it was this tour, warming up. And so I did go to almost all the states and instead of going to four cities in every state, I went to two. And I'll tell you, you know, once you once you get out of range of a city, maybe five or 10 miles, and you know, the radio starts to go up. And you can't get those city channels anymore. Yeah, you realize that most of the country is empty number one. Like this is one Vast, beautiful, empty land. And you go paranoid about popular overpopulation when you're in the cities and understandably because they're so crowded, but we have a just such a beautiful, vast, rich, gorgeous country. And people think in different ways in a country than they do in the city. And they deserve just as much respect. So that was one of my takeaways I could play I really loved it. that there's that the different environments cultivate different ways of seeing and being in the world that are all all needed to make the whole thing work. Yeah. Cities have to eat. And admire respect and appreciation for the for the folks outside of the city has grown immensely on my last tour, and I think I'm doing the same now. It's just growing some more. That's so cool, man. Ah, thank you, girl. This is like what a treat. I can't wait to share this. I, I hope to have the opportunity to interview Rachel. i She looks amazing as well, Rachel Scott. Rachel is amazing. She's got her whole world, Rachel Scott, yoga. She's Rachel yoga.com. She's very. She's an amazing teacher. That was one of the things that attracted me to her. I was like, Man, this lady, she is smart and on it. And I listened to her working with people because we live together and it's in the background. And I'm like, damn, she, she can she's so good at helping people cultivate their talent. You know? I mean, the two of you together, this is like a powerhouse of education. Delivery. Do you guys have I mean, you are living your future? I mean, not to say like, what's your future plan because I feel like you're doing it now doesn't need to be any different or better change or whatever you're doing it. But when I see what she's doing with helping yoga teachers, create yoga teacher curriculum, creating templates with her background as like a writer, and then and then cultivating plans that work with yoga Alliance and these other organizations. I was like, Whoa, like, that's amazing. I don't see anybody else doing that. So between your work with the body, yeah. I mean, what you guys are going to take over the world are in a good way, in a good way. You know, like, I like what you guys are doing. I have deep respect for it. I think. If you ever get tired of wonder you're fixing a flat somewhere in Texas gone? What are we doing? I just want to lay flat somewhere in the middle of nowhere. That's chop wood carry water. We do a lot of wood chopping and water carry. You said the admin you said the admin or like It's like mountains of admin, like if you knew how much work behind the scene we had to do? You wouldn't? You wouldn't believe it, because we see the glory like the five hours on stage. And we think wow, how cool that you're like, there's a lot of work that goes behind all this. So and we're our own roadies, too. So we're like grunt physical work before and after each event. Like I drove down to this morning to San Antonio to scout out the parking lot. See if my camper would fit. Where am I going to load in loadout? And how which screen can I bring in? How high is the ceiling? Do I gotta move the chairs? Where's the potty? So we can tell everybody that when I come home and you know, I believe that you got you got to get a plant on a little shaker. Like you got to get like some little thing that you can mount to plant. So when we left today, we left for the tour. My son and his girlfriend presented us with the nerve plant. See, it's got this beautiful, beautiful line. So there it is. All right. Thank you man. I needed that I needed that that that rounded it out right there. And then I've one last question for you. If you guys are on the road if we can. I know you can get anything you want on the road if we could bring you something What's like something that you absolutely love? Like a coconut water or like, you know, what do you what would you like a power bar? You know something? I do enjoy those cocoa videos. Alright, I never buy them. All right, so I don't know. I don't think of it. Those things are yummy. I know what you're talking about. All right, cool. Gil, what about Rachel? What about Rachel? There's got to be something that Rachel is a he's a caffeinated coffee machine. Easy. You're making it easy for me, Jane. Her family her grandma passed away about a year ago. Two years ago. Oh my gosh, time flies at 102. Wow. And this lady was pounding down the caffeinated coffee at midnight. And just like Grandma, can I get you a water she's like, I've already gotten her for coffee. She's like wow. I mean Okay. And she would reluctantly accept the offer of the water but not drink it because she was pure caffeine. And her dad is just the same so she awesome. Intergenerational caffeination maximum Yeah, perfect girl. Perfect. Well, I appreciate the insight. Thanks for asking. Do you know it man, you know, well, I can't wait. Thank you for your time. And I will see you soon. Awesome. Thank you too. Bye. Thanks. Bye native yoga podcast is produced by myself. The theme music is dreamed up by Bryce Allen. If you liked this show, let me know if there's room for improvement. I want to hear that too. We are curious to know what you think and what you want more of what I can improve. And if you have ideas for future guests or topics, please send us your thoughts to info at Native yoga center. You can find us at Native yoga center.com. And hey, if you did like this episode, share it with your friends, rate it and review and join us next time

Gil Hedley's nerve tour and his experience being on the road
Gil Hedley's unique project on dissecting the nerve tissues in a cadaver
The physical skill and challenges involved in dissecting the nerve tissues
Teaching dissection to body workers is easier than teaching medical students.
Gil's dissection journey and transition to teaching anatomy.
Challenging misconceptions and expanding understanding of the human body.
Integrating anatomical study and philosophical inquiry
Addressing opposition and skepticism towards anatomy and cadaver work
The Nerve Project and the power of visual imagery
Exploring psychodynamics and energy healing in anatomy teaching
Gil Hedley's extensive tour schedule and his observations about America
The behind-the-scenes work and challenges of touring