Dr. Pirtle’s Teachers
I have had the great fortune to learn from exceptional teachers, to whom I owe my deepest gratitude.
Understanding the Mind:
Geshe Tashi Tsering
During a dark time in my life when I was processing painful feelings of hate and anger, I spent two months at Chenrezig, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Eudlo, Australia. Yet, in this period of darkness there was also a light, in the form my teacher, Geshe Tashi Tsering. It was a precious gift to know and receive teachings from Geshela, truly the most highly realized person I’ve ever met. Through his compassion and wisdom, Geshela helped me to find a path to clarity and peace that I try to walk today.
Shinzen is my primary meditation teacher. I relied heavily upon his teaching and techniques while developing the Skillfully Aware programming. As a young man, Shinzen traveled to Asia and trained extensively in each of the three major Buddhist meditative traditions: Vipassana, Vajrayana, and Zen. Shinzen developed innovative techniques for pain management that are derived from two sources: the first is his personal experience in dealing with discomfort during intense periods of meditation in Asia, and the second, is Shinzen’s participation in Native American shamanistic ceremonies in the United States. Shinzen has over four decades of experience meditating and teaching students how to relieve all manner of physical and mental distress through meditation. Find out more about Shinzen’s work and teachings through basicmindfulness.org.
Upasaka Culadasa is ordained as a dedicated lay-practitioner. He has been practicing Buddhist meditation for more than 40 years. He is the Director of Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha. His intensive training in, and integration of both Theravadin and Tibetan traditions, provides students with a rich and rare opportunity for rapid progress and deep insight. As a Ph.D., he taught neuro-sciences until 1996 when he left to lead a contemplative life. He is now devoted to helping students master meditation skills. Find out more about Culadasa’s work and teachings at dharmatreasure.org.
Understanding the Body:
Dr. James Cyriax, MD
Though I did not study with Dr. James Cyriax directly, I teach and practice the systematic method of clinical examination of tissue injury established by him. His method of “Selective Tension” is the standard by which skilled neuro-orthopedists examine their patients’ complaints today. Cyriax published many articles and books in which he clearly describes his views on orthopedic medicine. The system we know today is the result of a vast evolution of careful thought and practice.
Dos Winkel, PT
The brilliant Dos Winkel has been successful in business, in art, and in science. Dos founded teaching academies across Europe that embraces the vision, method and practice of Dr. Cyriax. Not one for slowing down, following Dos’ retirement, he became a world-renowned naturalist and photographer. He has published many books on the subject of underwater photography. Dos’ most accomplished student was my primary orthopedic and manual therapy teacher, Omer Matthijs.
Omer Matthijs, PT, MOMT
If there is such a thing as a guru in orthopedic medicine and manual therapy, Omer Matthijs is it. It may be the case that Omer knows more about differentially diagnosing painful conditions than anyone now living. He has supremely gifted hands, and his touch is as healing as it is expert. Though he would blanch at the term expert, he certainly meets the criteria. Omer took Dr. Cyriax’ and Dos Winkel’s work to new levels of exacting specificity. For three years Omer and I traveled across the United States and Europe together.
David Butler, PT
I am additionally influenced by the philosophies David Butler. Through his texts, and through my work with the International Spine and Pain Institute, he framed my perspective on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain conditions. His gift for seeing the big picture of nervous system adaptation to painful states explains much of the mystery of stress-related illnesses. David and his vast network of researchers and clinicians continues to serve the cause of pain. To find out more about his transformative work, visit the Neuro-Orthopaedic Institute.