Archive - May 2013


…I also learned things I never really understood after 30 years in nursing because the models allow you to visualize in 3-D and make more physiologic correlations. Thanks Zahourek.

Joleen Rinaldo, Secondary Med Prep Instructor, Northeastern Junior College, Sterling, CO

Featured Educator Lise Stolze: Sharing How Anatomy Inspires Movement

Jon Zahourek and Lise Stolze with human hand models

This week we spotlight Lise Stolze, MPT, DSc as our Featured Educator. A physical therapist, trained in Pilates, Lise first experienced the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System six years ago when she took a weekend course at the Polestar Pilates Educator conference that incorporated the MANIKEN® models.

She says, “I learned a lot more from layering the muscles from deep to superficial rather than from superficial to deep as one does with dissection on cadavers. It changed the way I understood anatomy.”

At the forthcoming Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) conference in Fort Lauderdale this October, Lise will teach a short course titled “Muscles of the Hip and their Influence on the Pelvis: How Anatomy Explains Function.” Participants will learn about major muscles of the hip and pelvis, discuss the role of muscle function in the myofascial sling system and understand its influence on the pelvis and spine.

The Clay-building portions of the course will be interspersed with “mini movement labs” to deepen the attendees’ understanding of the concepts, as well as show them new ways to educate others.

As Lise notes, “Building on the models brings anatomy to the forefront of one’s senses – in fact to all the senses. It makes learning so much more worthwhile because it is three-dimensional.”

Stolze also intends to develop a series of short courses, using the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System that would

Lise building clay musculature onto a hand model

serve as an anatomy course pre-requisite for Polestar Pilates professional training. She explains, “Right now students have to take a college level anatomy course, requiring memorization. Building the muscles in clay is a better way to learn.”

Lise uses her knowledge of anatomy to work with her fitness clients and rehabilitation patients – some of whom are severely injured. She conducts clinical assessments of each client, observing how they move, and where they might be compromised or experiencing pain.

At the same time, she determines what healing modalities might serve them best. She incorporates physical therapy, Pilates, Gyrotonic®, and various manual therapies including massage, and trigger point dry needling and  joint mobilization.

“Your body is a reflection of what you do everyday. The more patients I see, the more experience helps me know what works with certain people over time – no particular pain remedy works for everyone.“

In addition, Lise is the primary author of a recent study on low back pain and Pilates. Published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (May, 2012), this preliminary clinical prediction rule is a precursor to a clinical trial and shows that patients with low back pain who are likely to benefit from Pilates-based exercise share specific characteristics.

Lise working on a pelvic skeltal model

We look forward to Lise’s upcoming courses for Pilates Instructors and Physical Therapists. Her valuable contribution not only furthers the study of anatomy, it also supports professionals in their rehabilitative interventions with patients—helping them to diagnose physical ailments and dysfunction, encourage injury prevention, and bring pain relief to many.

Muscles of the Hip and their Influence on the Pelvis:
How Anatomy Explains Function
Post-conference workshop
Saturday, October 12 from1:30-4:30
Fort Lauderdale,FL


photos © 2013 Zahourek Systems Inc.


More Great Connections: STEMosphere and Meeting Dr. Jane Goodall

By Jon Zahourek

Dr. Jane Goodall said “Wow!”

I met a hero last Friday night (May 3) at a reception and dinner for Jane Goodall.

Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at STEMosphere

In a delightful conversation with me, Dr. Goodall was gracious, gentle and low-key. I explained our approach to learning anatomy, which definitely seemed to resonate with her.

When she saw that I was having some difficulty in hearing her soft voice, she was sweet enough to draw me away from the crowd surrounding her. I mentioned that we were supporters of the Fossie Gorilla Fund—as well as her nonprofit organizations—and that we had given anatomical educational equipment to the Fossie group. Asked to clarify our work to her, I showed her a photo of my chimpanzee model, on which I’d built shoulder and arm musculature in clay. Her response was, “Wow!” Since she didn’t seem the kind of person prone to saying this very often, I was very pleased. As she slipped the photo into her purse, I offered to make the same kind of gift to her activities.

Teaching kids at STEMosphere about anatomy

She was in Denver for STEMosphere, an event at the University of Denver designed to bring attention to the growing importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in classrooms. (Of course, as an artist, I prefer the STEAM acronym, which adds the Arts in the middle of the whole mix, but it was a terrific event even without the emphasis on “A.”)

On Saturday, Dr. Goodall talked about her research in the Gombe National Stream Park of Tanzania to thousands of educator and students at The University of Denver event. Her empathy for the animal kingdom was clear, and she was articulate and compelling about encouraging empathy between humans and chimpanzees, as well as all the primates—even all other animals.

She wants us to learn more about the animals we share the planet with so we’ll do a better job taking care of them. In the process, we will become stewards of the planet as a whole.

Of course, Dr. Goodall is known mostly for studying chimpanzees as social beings, bringing wide attention to the idea that animals such as these have unique personalities. Among her other contributions, she has helped us see them as individual beings—with attitudes, thoughts, and feelings so like our own.

On the inside, there are few physical differences in how we’re put together. We’re all part of the Hominidae family—the

Comparing human and chimpanzee anatomy

“Great Apes”—along with gorillas and orangutans. In fact, the scientific name for chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, was coined from two extant hominid species of apes in the genus Pan, charmingly named for the Greek god of the forests.

After Dr. Goodall’s talk, students packed around three tables we set up as part of STEMosphere. They buzzed around for hours—eagerly applying clay to our chimpanzee models as they experienced the hands-on ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System.

One of the long-lasting and rewarding lessons learned through the study of anatomy is the same one Dr. Goodall has been imparting for decades:

We are all connected. We all share the same nest. We must all care for one another.

Special thanks to the entire STEMosphere team and the Carrie and John Morgridge, and their Family Foundation for putting on a wonderful weekend event.

Here are some more great photos from the STEMosphere event:

All images © 2013 Zahourek Systems Inc.




Jon Zahourek Teaches Anatomy to Rick’s Center Middle School Students During “Passion Week”

By Jon Zahourek

I spent two intense days teaching this week working with students from fifth through eighth grade. Our workshop project was a comparison between the anatomy of the shoulder, arm, and hand of humans and their equivalents in the horse.

One key point of this experience is that I didn’t change one thing from how I would teach adults. The verbiage, the discussion, the complexity of how bones, muscles and their tendons all come together in form and function—I didn’t water down anything.

And the students soaked it up—they embraced these fundamental concepts.

Our Denver workshop center is just west of the University of Denver, home to the Ricks Center, a unique school for gifted children that is a fully integrated part of their campus. The Ricks Center’s reputation is sterling and I was eager to explore the potential for a sustained relationship with this school.

The Ricks Center schedule includes an interim session each Spring called “Passion Week,” where students can enroll in short, special classes. Planning for this course started late last year and evolved into a two-day anatomy class for twelve students.

I have to say that the burst of energy from these students took me by surprise, though their ability to grasp these concepts did not. They were excited to see the different scale and detail between horses and humans and in two days, we covered a lot of ground on this subject.

I enjoyed how the students wanted to look closely at my demonstration model as we moved through each new phase, building muscles in clay on scale models. The students came up individually or in small groups—pointing, studying, touching—and then returned to their own models and their own work. They questioned each other, shared information, and buzzed about their progress as ideas took shape.

We worked together at a level that is daunting for many adults. But I knew Ricks Center students would be super-ricks school 4learners, absorbing new information even more eagerly than adults—and I wasn’t disappointed. They practically gobbled us up in their enthusiasm.

The idea, as always, was for students to discover and learn more about how their own anatomy functions. Our body is the one thing that we truly “own” and learning about how it functions inevitably leads to improved self-awareness and self-esteem on all levels.

The reaction from the Ricks Center students was very exciting to me. It represents the first step in reaching a goal I’ve held for over thirty years — implementing a program focused just on middle school kids.


Ricks Group Crop

I loved the comments they wrote. Here are a few:

“It was so much fun I wish we could be here for the entire week: I want to be a doctor so this really helps.”

“The favorite thing was I learned that all animals have a serial anatomy that we all follow.”

“My favorite thing I learned was that the muscles come in all different shapes and textures—and that they are bundles of smaller cells.”

“When I swim I will know more about what muscles I’m using.”

“I enjoyed learning anatomy through the creative process—I knew nothing about it before this.”

Thanks to Ricks Center for the opportunity to work with these wonderful, energetic students. These young people expect a high level of engagement and they deserve it, too.

And my hat is off to their teachers, who work with these knowledge-hungry students every day.

Here’ s a gallery of more photos from the session:

All images copyright © 2013 Zahourek Systems Inc.


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