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Season 2 - Episode 5

Identity and Movement Styles

25 min - Talk
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Gil explains how environment, activity, and identify inform movement style, and how perifascial membranes adapt to and assist in changes in movement.

This video was filmed and produced by Gil Hedley. It includes videos and photos of dissections of cadavers (embalmed human donors). You can visit his website for more information about his workshops.

What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jan 19, 2021
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I think maybe some of you know I've made a very movie as a kid, I remember all over the place, Frank. I don't even know. I used to know who I am. Favorite name was Kill Carrier. Ten years old, you hit the ball, you run, all your friends run after you. They palm at you, they push your face in the mud, they beat you. And so you let go of the ball, they take the ball and they run with it and you don't see it as that.

I didn't do that for hours now, it was Kill Carrier, and that was my favorite game. That was good. That's the way it is at a party, right? The little kids are running around, they're tumbling around in the rug, they're wrestling with each other, they're running around the house, and the middle-aged folks, they're parents, they're all in the kitchen. They're moving, but they're making a macaroni salad, and this prank on mushrooms is a joke.

Not mushrooms, but marshmallows. It depends on the party. Marshmallows and pajamas, and yelling at the kids. And then they all fuck, they're sitting around, they're watching people moving. The older ones, they're just watching their eyes. They're like, yeah, I don't know.

So this stage is a movement throughout your life. Now when I went from that tremendously moving young child, and then I kind of wrote my bike a lot in high school, but particularly in the 70s, we had a weightlifting machine in a gym called the Universal Machine. Now some of you may remember the Universal Machine that had several stations. Bench press, military press, a lap pull-down, and leg press. We went around and started zooming that, and by junior year in high school, I didn't want to walk around like this.

We had what was called the 24-hour lap spread. We kind of waddled, and we had the range of motion of the Universal Machine. Now eventually I got religion and started to imitate the St. Francis, and I would have wore my hood up and walked around like a monk. And by the time I got to graduate school, I was pretty much like a monk. I walked around and I read for hours, and I was like a professional reader.

And I read philosophy and theology as I walked around the library with my hood up. And if the weather was fair, I would go out on Lakeshore Drive and walk from the south side of Chicago all the way to the Loop 6, 8 miles, maybe. Just reading philosophy. Can you see? My movement pattern had changed. And even I recognized things. It got more limited. And I went to a club meeting at the University of Chicago's club night, right?

And I saw this group of people. It was about a dozen of them. With a leader, he was like a great heron teacher. And it was the University of Chicago Tai Chi Gao Club. And I did this kind of thing. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. So I joined the club. And I did this for seven years.

Until I was going to go and see. I had built up so much choreography that it took me two hours a day just to maintain my choreography. But I had become a tremendous boom to my range of motion from this stage. I had become like a straitjacket over the course of time. And I had to move differently.

Some of that exploration took place through my raw thing, my raw thing training. For instance, when I stood in front of my raw firm for my first evaluation, my first session, I stand there in the underwear and take a picture of the Polaroid. And I'm like, he says, just stand in front of me. I'm like, okay. And he looks out from behind his Polaroid and says, stop doing that. And I was like, whoa. I knew I had been doing something right. My call was to talk, reading from my diaphragm, to take it back, and chin tucked.

And it was like I was a Tai Chi guy, right? So I got my ten sessions right there. I just, shit. I cried on the way to the bus that night. Not from the touch, but from the fact that I was allowing my body to move again in a way that I had sort of dispermitted based on my ideas of what it meant to look like a Tai Chi guy. And when I went to the institute and we did my movement training and I walked in front of the class, Jane Harrington, she heard me walk in front of the class. And I walked like this.

So I then got to evaluate my key, my walking pattern. So here it was. Eyes, six inches, around six feet in front of me on the ground. To avoid the concubicence of the eyes, right? Because if a monk kind of looks up and catches a titty. So, basic form of self protection.

And so while I'm walking, Jane said, Joe, would you consider raising your eyes to the horizon while you walk? I remember the monk while I was there. I looked at my eyes to the horizon and I saw exactly what I see now. So I marveled at this warm group of people who were looking at me with appreciation and kindness and holding the best for me. And I thought, wow, I'm going to miss now. I'm going to miss now.

I just come up to the horizon and spotted the mother of my children. So lots of movements crept into my behaviors. Another thing, I would practice the tai chi outside in order to get kept called, basically. You have to throw beer cans at you and stuff. And that's the way I started to be able to increase our focus.

But the particular kept call that I got more than once was, it looks really pretty. But you don't have any chi. I mean, that was like so mean. And I'm thinking to myself, what do you mean I don't have any chi? I'm a tai chi guy, chi, tai chi guy. And I'm thinking, I'm really taking this to heart. I'm like, do I just have time?

And I'm thinking, my teacher jipped me. He just keeps taking my money without telling me about the chi. And I'm like, pissed off with that. But I didn't have... Where does pissed off fit here?

How can I be pissed off like this? Or this guy walking along like this, right? What does sex fit in there? Is this guy having sex? Remember St. Francis?

So... Turns out that anger... It's sex. That was where my chi was. It was in it.

It was contained. It was kind of going up. I couldn't permit myself those emotions. I couldn't permit those movements. I weren't fit with my identity. So, it's not just stasis, dehydration, and inflammation.

Those are secondary effects to identifications, relationships, behaviors, churches, families, communities, cultures, in which we are moving, in which we are structuring our movement patterns, and creating limit cycles for ourselves. And within those limit cycles, we gum up some of our body and allow some of it to move. Depending upon the identity, you'll allow yourself to move in different ways. And everybody could spot the Tai Chi guys at the University of Chicago. We all move the same way.

And I could spot the other Catholics in my community. We all move the same way. And you could build up those bits and pieces together. You see, it's all the way down to the motor units. You were looking at great, gross differential movements in the body in the footage that I showed you.

But if I could show it to you all the way down to the motor units, all the anatomical-named things aren't functional units. Gastroc isn't a functional unit. It doesn't function all at the same time, right? If all the fibers of gastroc fire at the same time, that's not a functional movement. That's a charley horse.

That's what that is, right? A functional movement is where some units are off and some units are off, and they trade off back and forth between one another. So right next door to each other, a motor unit is firing or not in this differential movement at that very level. And at that very level, these behaviors and patterns and associations and self-identifications are played out. And when you take someone into movement choreography as a Pilates instructor, as a yoga teacher, when you rub on them as a melter or take them through your eccentrics program or your yoga, tune up them, you massage them or ruff them or what have you, you're actually disrupting that set of compensations and making an invitation to move into and live in these tissues that you're touching.

Consciousness comes there and says, is this my home too? Is this the room in my house? Am I allowed to live and move here too? Because if I can do this, it's going to create a very different set of relationships in my home. Hey baby, I just got a massage. And that might open doors in that home.

She could have been waiting for years to see that walk through the door, but it could also get doors shut. Right? Not tonight, honey. Like, who are you? Right? And when they come back to you the next week looking exactly like they did the week before, I don't shame them for that because they could have taken that richness that was offered home and found that home wasn't quite ready for that yet. Sorry, thank you very much. And everybody at their office was divorced.

If you go through this incredible transformative life-changing body exploration and you achieve a whole new level of self where you can now be angry, or you can enjoy your sexuality, or you can live in every bit of your body, then does it fit? Because you're not moving by yourself. There is no yourself. There's only the nest of relationships. You're swirling. Just something to be mindful of when you're working with people and inviting them beyond their place. You're all in transformational territory doing what you all do. Now we're going into the gliding system.

Because in the musculoskeletal system we have differential movement via this fascia, but in the visceral system we have differential movement via fluids. We have true gliding. Sometimes once fluid relationships also get stuck, by the way, from fiber accumulation or mixing, as we mentioned, changes in ground substance gone gummy or brittle. Interventions like the ideas I just took you through, just life lived, the compensations around which we organize ourselves in our communities. I'll take you through some compensations in the musculoskeletal system.

Here's a trench-like scar in a gentleman's belly. The skin has become adhering to the deep fascia. The superficial fascia didn't heal across the incision. That's going to change the movement, right? I have to go along.

I take away this skin. You can see the superficial fascia hasn't healed across the incision, and that's sometimes the case. Not always the case. I've seen many bodies where there's an incision. I dissect away the skin.

I don't see any evidence of it in the superficial fascia. I've got to go down another way. The superficial fascia can heal very beautifully. This is just an instance otherwise. If I take away that superficial fascia, you can see the deep layer, and this scar has formed.

This ain't the enemy, folks. The scars are our friends. We want to be able to heal gaping wounds in our body. This is a good thing. Scars, they're a good thing.

This is homeostasis. This is staying on the planet longer. If you can't do this, you don't stay on the planet as long. They formed a ridge. When I see large incisions in the visceral spaces, I become suspicious of adhesions in the viscera themselves.

Because that's a site of inflammation, I expect things to stick at this point, having seen so much evidence of it. We're going to see all the evidence in the viscera of what's happening in our musculoskeletal systems, but it's way more obvious in the viscera, because those gliding surfaces will be sticking to each other. In fact, in this same body, we see that the greater omentum is adhering to the scar. It's stuck to it. The greater omentum is like the superficial fashion inside your gut.

It's a fatty apron hanging in mesodontary-like tissues and peritoneal extensions of the stomach and the transverse colon. It has a free edge, and it wanders around inside your body like an internal mendicant doctor visiting the various inflamed organs and throwing a wet blanket over them, acting like a clay poultice, drawing white toxins, and generally doing good stuff for you. Sometimes, in the course of its therapeutic interventions, it gets stuck there. It marries the pharma's daughter. Where does this shit come from?

Hip, thigh, scar. We don't always see a mass of scar tissue around this kind of surgery, but in this case, we did. The superficial fascia has been reflected. Even a novice could spot the different coloration and texture on the tissue. What you do with this scar is you finally play with it.

You test its range of motion. You explore the vectors of movement that can pass through that tissue area. If they're the same as before it was there, then you have all your function. If there are vectors of movement that are inhibited there that you once had, then you want to play with it. Maybe we could reclaim those movements.

But again, this is a demonstration of healing. Playing with this one, we found it to be quite mobile. I don't think it caused any trouble at all. We're just looking at the evidence of healing. Here we have an untick's body, arm, shoulder, chest, head, neck, big chest, muscle, wide.

Lots of wire. Like a cable guy came by. They always leave a couple extra feet of wire on the living room floor. It's like little blue snips, little green snips, and two feet of wire on your couch. These guys are nutty.

So it's a pacemaker, a defibrillator, something like that. And is that the pocket that the surgeon put in to hold it? No, that's an encapsulation. And this your body produces? This is brilliant. This is interesting.

It's like a hybrid fascia. I call it a hybrid fascia. It's not quite the filmy fascia. It's not quite the inner fascia. It's like the filmy fascia, felted. It's a felted fiber organization.

It's all higgly-piggly in there, much denser than we find in the filmy fascia with its excursive potential. It doesn't have its excursive potential. It's like the deep fascia in that way, and also thicker and opaque. This is an unfixed body, but you can't even see through it. So we have this felted sac that the body is built.

This is an immune response, a healthy immune response to a foreign object in your body. So I put a foreign object in your body. I like to use them as a pastoral metaphor for the immune system. My T-cells are goats. I don't have killer T-cells.

There's no martial metaphor in my body. I reject that. And I don't have killer T-cells around that much. I've been for germs to shoot. That's the killer T-cells. I have goats.

My goats know their shepherd. And if it's not their shepherd, it's a can, and they can eat it. So I come across a can, and they're like, nosh, nosh, nosh. And they can't digest it. They can't make it go away.

They're allowed to eat it because it's not the shepherd. But they can't. So they try and push it out. They have horns. They can't hang it anywhere else.

They can't push it out. So the body covers it in its own tissue. It wraps it in its own tissue. Now when the goats come by, they just recognize the shepherd. We can't eat that.

And they just move along, move along, move along. Right now it's encapsulated. It's just like we talked about that bladder being covered in the recipient's own cells. This thing is not covered in the recipient's cells. And you're no longer trying to get rid of it.

It's just part of the scene in this capsule. So that's a beautiful immune response to it. And we can pretty much depend on it growing, no matter what we stick inside of our bodies. So I'll show you these breast implants. This is the skin layer and then the superficial fascia layer.

Now is that the deep fascia? No, that's an encapsulation. So these are the implants. These are the capsules. The body will grow a capsule.

It's a normal, healthy immune response to a foreign object in a body that can't be ejected. I think it should be in the brochure. I got nothing against breast implants. We are the species that plays with itself. We pierce our bodies.

We tattoo our bodies. We staple our stomachs. We live in Vancouver or Florida. And our bodies respond like, I am heat tolerant. You are cold tolerant.

That's physiological. Everybody's changed. We play with ourselves by putting ourselves on different parts of the planet, moving in different ways, putting different things in our mouth, doing different things to our bodies. We've got nothing against it. That's like our sport.

My daughter's trying to be a tattoo artist. She's freaking tatted up like you wouldn't believe. That's awesome. I don't care. That's what she wants to do.

So someone says it's fine. And also, no, that it will encapsulate. I've seen encapsulations so dense and so thick, filling in a rim around that on the chest wall, that I absolutely thought at first glance that they had put Tupperware sleeve in there to hold the thing. And when you have grown something that dense on your chest wall, this is going to affect your breathing. It is going to affect your movement.

Now, you might implant it, and maybe you're not a yoga lady. You don't care if you lose 10% or 20% of your breathing because you want big tights. That's a choice. That's okay. So you won't sacrifice X many percent, and then maybe you won't do that because you like breathing more.

Maybe you're a world-class athlete or something, and an Olympic athlete who loses 1% of the breath potential to get the gold. So that 1% matters, so it's mission critical. But it might not make mission critical for you. But still, you're going to need to move them. You're going to need to squeeze them.

You're going to need to just walk up to strangers and say, would you like to feel them? Well, okay. That would be the back of the capsule.


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