Four times malignant growths returned to Amit Gal Alon's body and each time he confronted and defeated them. As a result of the willpower which he discovered in himself, he developed a unique system in the field of the Anatomy of Motion and strength training. He decided that this would be his mission in life.
In 1995, during his service in the Israel Defense Forces, Amit Gal Alon discovered that he had contracted cancer. During the next ten years the illness returned three more times.
His battle with cancer was not so simple, especially since the illness returned several times.
During each episode of cancer, what helped him survive was exercising his body and training his brain to achieve relaxation, peace and inner joy.
He is a man of movement.
From childhood Amit was very active in sports and participated in nearly every existing type of sport. Movement was the essential part of his life. During high school, and while in the army, he played volley ball intensively. Then, while still in the army, the moment occurred which he will never forget. The moment when he was told that he has a tumor in his head. It was as if the world stood still. Suddenly, everything took on a new meaning and he began to ask questions about life.
Amit received the standard treatments available then: chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He suffered terribly from the side effects and nightmares during sleep. During the long period of difficult treatments he was unable to eat and could not exercise. He could hardly move his body and lost 15 kilos of muscle.
Amit was so weak that he could not lift both arms above his head. Amit trained with exercise machines, not to provide resistance to his muscles, but to allow him to execute the simple, physical movements that he could not do by himself.
When you work out in a studio there is no time for depressing thoughts. The only thought that you have is which muscle to strengthen/stretch next.
During rehabilitation between chemotherapy treatments he had to gain back the 15 kilos that he lost in each treatment course. Exercise built up his appetite and helped him overcome his thoughts. He stuck to his single aim, not to think about anything other than which exercise to do tomorrow and how to rebuild his body.
" My training combined exercises for strengthening the muscles (dynamic contraction) and numerous yoga poses that included static strengthening of the muscles and of course stretches. My muscles underwent trauma from all the substances that were introduced into my body. The stretches brought me back to life. It is impossible to describe in words how much the yoga practice helped me feel good. In addition to the physical exercise, I learned a lot about guided affective imagery and the ability to direct my thoughts to where I choose and want them to go. I carried out guided affective imagery every day, together with the yoga poses, and also at the end of each training session. On days when I would be lying in the hospital bed without being able to move, connected to instruments, I would fly and travel to other places and people did not understand why I had a smile on my face."
After the treatments, the tumor disappeared and Amit registered to study Sports science and Kinesiology in college. The connection between the body during illness and the study of movement helped him recover and survive that difficult period. He decided that he wanted to make this his profession and help others to connect with their body through movement.
At the end of his first year in college, he began to suffer from headaches, dizziness and imbalance. One morning while shaving facing the mirror, he noticed that the left side of his face was not functioning. Hospital tests found that the tumor had left metastases in his inner ear, adjacent to his brain. It was imperative to remove part of the tumor in an operation. Doctors began to speak with him about the percentage of likelihood that he would survive the operation. This was the first time that he began to think in terms of life and death.
The operation was a success. Two centimeters of the four centimeter tumor had been removed. The remaining two centimeters left next to his brain were to be overcome by treatments. During more than six months he underwent chemotherapy treatments and later radiotherapy treatments. All of the side effects came back: weight loss, vomiting and difficulty in eating. During this whole period he did not stop exercising.
Amit was in one of the most difficult, physical periods of his life. The exercises between the treatment courses helped him. However he also needed something for his soul. So he purchased paints and threw them freely on the canvas with his hands. He found that this made him feel better so he began to paint.
The free-hand painting led him to a new and exciting interest as far as he was concerned: digital graphic art. Upon completion of his studies in college he immediately enrolled for an additional degree in graphic art.
As soon as Amit began to study graphic art he discovered his hidden talent. He began to create and to specialize in the field of three dimensional graphics. He was attracted to drawing the body and especially was attracted to the movement systems in our body. Creating digitally on the computer, together with strength training by exercise helped him shut out his dark thoughts.
The age of internet was just beginning. Amit designed and built the first site in Israel dedicated to physical fitness. This was like rehab for him. It gave him satisfaction to help and to donate his knowledge to others.
In 2001, four years after the second battle with cancer, it returned for a third time. Now they discovered metastasis in the sinuses. They same well-known script repeated itself again. Unlike the first two times, this period was relatively easy. He was able to continue with almost all of his heavy workload and did not slow down. Even during treatments in the hospital he would arrive with his lap-top and continue his work.
"During some of the surgeries that should have been performed under local anesthesia I asked the doctor not to give me the anesthetic.
I simply performed guided affective imagery and in my thoughts flew elsewhere. In this manner I did not feel the pain that I should have felt."
"Over the years I learned to direct my thoughts to where I would like them to go.
I learned to introduce light into my body and am sure that this played a major part in the healing of my body and mind.
The greatest gift that I received from the guided affective imagery and the control over my thoughts is the ability to ignore thoughts that leap into my mind and annoy me and to direct my thoughts to where I choose.
This is a wonderful gift. I learned this from all the times when I had to undergo MRI imaging and had to wait a week or two to know whether I was healthy or still diseased, or whether the tumor had disappeared or had remained. At the beginning, this week of waiting was very stressful, and my head was constantly immersed in anxieties of yes or no... As I continued exercising guided affective imagery, and with time, I gained the ability to ignore the anxieties and simply forget them instantly. And then the week that was once stressful and anxious became a week of joy, and in this way I gain many days of joy in my life."
During his third illness, Amit worked as teacher of anatomy and kinesiology in courses training physical education coaches. He found that his students had an essential need to understand how the body moves. The textbooks and illustrations of muscles did help them understand where each muscle began and ended, but most of them could not imagine how the muscle works when it contracts and extends.
Amit decided to create a system which could help his students understand how muscles move. He had the knowledge that he had acquired studying anatomy and with that the knowledge in digital graphic art and so he began to work day and night on a visual system that would represent the body in movement.
He felt that he had survived for a purpose. This was the mission of his existence in the universe in this life. As soon as he began to build the muscle system and saw the reactions of the students, he felt a deep need to continue and create the project of his life. Up till then there were only two books that presented the body in movement using pictures. He felt a passion to work all night and cause the drawings to move. He himself was surprised at the complex ability of the body to stabilize and move itself. Amit was enamored with this creation. Even today, ten years later, he continues to build and add more and more animations that represent the movement and changes of our body, which serves us all our lives.
In 2004, Amit published a Study Resource on CD-ROM dealing with anatomy of movement and anatomy of exercises. Many students and trainers in Israel took advantage of this tool and the feed back was very enthusiastic.
The students said that they don't have to imaging how the muscles work any more, and that the CD helps them greatly in understanding movement. This encouraged him to continue and develop this tool and make it available to the whole world.
Two years later, Amit once again became ill. The tumor returned to his neck and was removed by an operation. The forth time he got a gift: only an operation and no treatments. The recovery from the operation was not easy because a nerve in his neck had been injured. He was unable to lift up his right arm. So he decided to rehabilitate himself by swimming. Also since Amit lives near the sea he bought a surfboard and began to surf. The paddling helped him rehabilitate the nerve and within a month the hand resumed almost full function.
Throughout this period Amit continued to create and he built a learning tool which represents the body in motion. "Each illness just strengthened my inner feeling that I am still here to give to the world with my capabilities and my ability to represent our complex body in a simple and enjoyable manner." He said, "During the last four years technologies have improved allowing me to improve the movement tool and bring it to a much higher level." Amit decided to publish the creation for the whole world. He set an aim and adhered to it during years of development. This was not easy, but his internal motive of donation to the world was and still is very strong.
In 2010 Amit connected a visual internet system with the anatomy of movement and an additional tool of the anatomy of strength training. Movement exercisers and trainers around the world use the tool and the feedback is enthusiastic.
"After I published the anatomy of movement software and the anatomy of strength exercises, I chose to publish the anatomy of yoga.
This is my thanks to yoga that not only helped me to physically heal my body, but also to connect it to my mind, to my imagination, to thoughts and to my spirit.
I wanted to contribute to the world of yoga as it contributed to me, and therefore collaborated with Dr. Gill Solberg with the aim of connecting the world of yoga to the world of posture and anatomy, such that from today, every teacher will have accessible professional contents that will enable him or her to better understand his or her trainees, and to know how to treat each trainee who suffers from a motor or structural problem. We invested four years in order to transfer knowledge that is very difficult to understand through texts, into animations and three dimensions so that learning can be easy and enjoyable."
Amit does not know how much longer he has to live. But that is not what is important to him, "It doesn't matter whether we live or die, but how we live." Amit is happy as long as he can give from his capabilities.