Dissection is an act of introspection. By unwrapping the layers of the donor's gift, participants uncover hidden layers of themselves.
Overview: The programming this year is designed to advance anatomical learning and self knowledge by exploring different formats and approaches to discovering the depths of the human form through the dissection process in which the participants engage.
Objectives: The purpose of these events is to provide rare and unforgettable learning opportunities where the participants dissect whole human cadavers for themselves and the benefit of the group. The process of doing so is profound, as the participants will witness, engage, and experience their whole human anatomy in the deepest possible ways. Back to top
Requirements: These courses are designed primarily for people who are hands-on practitioners of some therapeutic modality, as well as fitness professionals, teachers, etc., who have prior professional knowledge of anatomy of which they make regular use. I also admit fine artists, photographers, sculptors, dancers and personal fitness enthusiasts and body-explorers who desire to enhance their knowledge. You are not required to have prior dissection experience as a prerequisite for this class. Many people can be taught to do excellent dissection with proper guidance based on their existing skill set, and a good dose of courage and patience. You are required to be completely commited to what is a challenging process, to be considerate of others, your surroundings, and the donor forms, and to carry to this experience a positive intent. Application and instructor's acceptance are required. It is also expected that you will watch the Enrollment video posted below, as well as watch The Integral Anatomy Series in full as a course preparation. Back to top
Formats: During the 5 Day Workshops we will be working in a "boutique" framework: 2 tables, 2 bodies, 2 groups of 6 dissectors each. We will be working with human bodies that have not been treated or embalmed in any way. This is an opportunity for past participants to compare their experiences and observations of fixed tissues in a way that opens their vision and palpation skills more deeply for having worked with unfixed forms. For new participants, this will as always be an exploration of the depth, complexity, and wonder of the human form where the whole body is approached layer by layer, and the whole person is supported and expanded. I will be with you every step of the way. Back to top
During the 10 Day Workshops we will be working with approximately 6 cadavers at 6 tables, with 5-6 dissectors per table. I will be offering demonstrations on camera and miked so that everyone can see and here everything. Furthermore, in contrast to offerings in the past, during this program we will be attempting to dissect the entire skin and supeficial fascia together as a singular entity (epidermis, dermis, hypodermis). In doing so we will create a very unusual, rare, and untried approach. Further, we will dissect the muscle layer very thoroughly as a group, layer by layer, in order to increase our inventory of knowledge and experience, along with that of the other deeper layers. Back to top
Participant roles: For each cadaver table I will enroll 5-6 participants. Participants will have the responsibilities of both "dissector" and "recorder." Each role is absolutely essential to the success of this project, and will draw from the pool of applicants different talents. Recording involves note taking, measurements, and keeping alert observing and tracking variations being exposed. Dissection involves not only tissue differentiation but also table prep, environmental maintenance, and care of the form. We will create an environment of teamwork, enthusiasm, and excitement for learning with an intent to bring what we discover to the world. Back to top
Deposits and Terms: This project requires a very serious commitment on the part of everyone involved. I am deeply committed to the success of these programs and everyone whom I enroll in them. From you I am asking for a non-refundable $1,500 deposit (consider it an investment/contribution to transforming the way the world sees the human body) to secure your spot at the event if accepted, and the remainder due two full months prior to the start date of the event for which you are accepted. All deposit checks should be held until notification of acceptance of your application and an offer of enrollment is made. Back to top
To Apply: If all of this sounds as much like high adventure to you as it does to me, Contact me (Gil) via email for an application and submit it as soon as you are able. There is different administrative help, pricing, application and support materials for the St. Andrews course, please contact Caroline when the course is announced on the schedule as confirmed, sometime in September, for all matters pertaining to the course in Scotland. I am certain that these workshops will fill rather promptly. Thank you for your interest! Back to top
NB: The following sequence of 4 (@5min/each) videos are required viewing as preparation for your application for the 5 or 10 Day courses. So please watch, in them I will answer many of your questions in advance, and also make clear my expectations of participants~ Back to top
Please read the supporting material above in addition to watching these videos if you plan to apply for a workshop!
Comments from participants:
"I am ending the day in heartfelt appreciation for your skilled and sensitive coordination of the Boston Somanautics workshop. My experiences there rivaled no less than my two childbirths in neural excitement! Such a meaningful event could not happen without an unbelievable amount of personal commitment and planning on your part. So, Thank You for setting a tone of playful, informed leadership...and mostly, for letting us in so "close" to your own heart...we will probably always resonate with your contagious enthusiasm. I have been oozing around in these transition days in a slower rhythm, still a little raw from the daily expansion of my comfort zone. My private bodywork classes are exponentially awesome, as a result. And, I really like not having to know the answers, after all. Thank you for a life-altering week, Gil...You blew me away. Affectionately, Robin Dodson
"Hi Gil, I took your class in Newark in May. I just wanted to let you know that I think of and use what I saw/experienced in class every day in my practice. I feel like my palpation skills are better, and I feel so much clearer about the different tissues that I am working with through out the day. These are good "flashbacks" to have and I wanted to thank you for the wonderful experience and let you know that it has truly changed how I work and think about the body!" Jennifer Gerber, Massage Therapist
"Gil was tremendous. I can't even think of anything he (personally) could have done to better the class. His intellect, wisdom, spiritual sense, discipline, sense of humor and skills were more than I expected." G.L., Muscular Therapist/Spinning Instructor,Gloucester, MA Back to top
"You allow us to use our creativity while learning facts. It's probably the most balanced style of learning I've ever experienced. I would love to come back next year, after I dive into my book list (which has now tripled). This class has given me the courage to pursue an M.S. in Midwifery." J.F., LMT, NJ
"I feel as if this workshop was truly life changing. Close friends have even said I look different. Besides being much more confident about anatomy, I am more confident in my work. And then there's the spiritual side of it all. I approach each body I work on with much more wonder and awe, love and respect. Add on top of that a new self love and respect. I love my amazing body in a way I haven't since I was a child, before I started comparing it to society's idea of ideal. That has been a wonderful gift. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime, oh, and my x-ray eyes! I am definitely promoting you in my area and hope you return to Chicago. Again thank you so much." C.W., Massage Therapist, Springfield, IL Back to top
"Profoundly altered my understanding of fascial planes, visceral structures, and spinal structures." Raymond Bishop Ph.D., Rolfer, Woodstock, GA
"This experience was far different than the 1st, just as I'm sure the next will be from this. I feel so blessed by receiving that post card two years ago." K.M., LMT, CO
I really appreciated Gil's sense of humor and humbleness. I felt as it we were all on this Great Exploration together, instead of having designated "teachers" who supposedly have all the answers." C.M.T., USA
"I'm much more aware of needing to look for viscera where they are and not where they are supposed to be--I can visualize much better what I am working on." James Schwartz, Rolfer/ Visceral Manipulator, Novato, CA
"He encourages dissection as an art form. While encouraging each of us to communicate our states of mind, he was free about sharing the depths of his own experience. Because of Gil's way of presentation, I was able to let down my guard and be open to how I work inside myself. With every layer I excised, I also self dissected. The cadavers were not impassive pieces of data, awaiting entry into my information system--they made me into their own image, and vice versa. I saw them inside myself. I now carry their images inside me now, in the most intimate profound ways imaginable for me and for the others who shared their stories." D.P.-K., LMT, WA Back to top
"Thank you again for the most profound and incredible experience of my life-really! "Coming back" and integrating it all has been interesting and challenging to say the least. I believe what was most impactful to me was to "see" each "body's" "signature" even in its death state. Whew! I really felt like I was at a smorgasboard wanting to try everything in sight that was offered. I look forward to the next class when I can spend more time and give myself more permission to stay longer in certain areas." T.M., Healer, CA
"Thank you so very much for another incredible opportunity to explore myself deeper (and to release some more layers). I am still very much in the process of the class and I'm still enjoying it." N.K., Licensed Massage Therapist, NYC, NY
"I love your brilliant exuberance Gil--and your open minded creative approach provided the most exciting way to study anatomy for me. Thank you!" J.B., Muscular Therapist, Bearsville, NY
"Thank you. It was truly a divine experience! :-) "J.S., LMT, MA.
"I am still enthralled by the resounding effects of class. I may be addicted to the thrill. I have spent half my time massaging and half telling people about class. Almost everyone wants to know something, even people who are not quite sure how to take the whole idea. My friend tried to explain to someone else what I was doing, and called it "(W)Holistic Dissection." Thought I'd pass that on..." L.M.T., Missoula, MT Back to top