Blending body work, yoga and anatomy, Zachery Dacuk coined the practice of Conscious Embodiment. Chitheads and Jacob Kyle had the opportunity to sit down with Zach to talk with him about his 15-year journey into holistic healing where he developed an experiential practice that integrated postural analysis and fascia movement. Based in New York City, Zach provides an anatomy curriculum to students and renowned teachers all over the United States. Zach is a registered yoga teacher, licensed massage therapist, and since 2002 has built a successful and innovation bodywork practice that applies the teachings of yoga, Shiatsu, fascial manipulation and Kinesis Myofascial Integration.
When Zachery Dacuk was 14-years-old, he sprained his ankle playing soccer. His best friend’s parents were acupuncturists and after two weeks of no improvement, he accepted their help. It was the first time that Zach was introduced to holistic medicine, surprised by how his ankle was healed in just 5 weeks. When he was given a book on Taoism, his wonderings about the deep teachings behind this healing practice had come to rest.
Zach identified early on his calling as a healer and bodyworker. At just 16-years-old, he knew he liked working with his hands as well as in the holistic healing field, so after graduating with a degree in psychology, Zach continued his education in bodywork. Now a structural bodyworker practitioner, Zach manages his practice in New York City. Through his work in manual therapy, Zach believes that our story in unconsciousness can be unraveled through the consciousness of sensation around the shapes our bodies take.
The Renaissance and Anatomy
Zach traces the Western approach to anatomy to 18th-century Europe. After massive plague that killed millions of people across the continent, the Renaissance began, ushering in an entirely new worldview and way of doing and knowing. It was an age known for its religious upheaval, an exploratory age that pressed against what was known. It is an age most notable for its rebirth of art and medicine, and out of this rebirth came a need to understand the body, to study the human form separate from the activity of the Church, which had, until this time, held sway over most everything.
Zach believes that anatomy is a story. There’s a glimpse of whole-ism and connectivity through the Renaissance approach, but due to a piecemeal approach that wanted to name the specific parts of the body, the physicians of the time got lost in reductionism. We are still, to a large degree, operating in the shadow of the Renaissance physicians, lacking an overarching view of the body that is holistic. The Western system has obviously had some profound benefits, but a recognition that the body’s parts participate in whole systems will lead the way to “tremendous healing.”
A Collective Evolution Towards Conscious Embodiment
This is where, Zach says, the yoga teachers, the chiropractors, the kinesiologists, the physical therapists come into play. The purpose of anatomy in the Renaissance was to bring all the pieces together. However, Western medicine has, in some instances, been detached from its origin and become an outlet for quick fixes, pills and immediacy.
Zach’s practice is rooted in preventative medicine. The most important question, according to Zach, is “what’s stopping my body’s natural processes from functioning properly?” Health is about the relationship we have with ourselves, and collectively, Zach says, this truth is beginning to be recognized.
“My practice is very different than a doctor,” Zach says. “ A doctor will diagnose and give you something, and we look at that exchange as what health and healing is.”
Part of healing holistically hinges on the understanding that there can be no generalization of an entire population when it comes to health. The human form has lived at many different times, and the current synapses of how the body works is but a sample of a few in “a certain place at a certain time.” Through Conscious Embodiment, we see that a holistic approach to health is rooted in a dialogue with ourselves and each other about unique and shared experiences that arise from the inside.