A path to a vocation can be a long and twisty one.
Mine began as a child of 10. When I looked at my reflection, I noticed there was something different, unique, about my spine. I was embarrassed. My embarrassment grew as I grew into a curvy teenager and my grandmother and sometimes complete strangers would tell me to stand up straight. I wanted to. I couldn’t. I had no pain, just a twisting in my vertebrae.
Fast forward many years, high impact dancing (mostly on cement), two enormous lovely babies later, and I was exhausted. My back still didn’t hurt. It was just tired all the time. I wanted to lie down. Sitting up was so much work. I was stunned when, just as a lark, my mom and I measured my height on the door frame. I had lost nearly two inches since high school. Two whole inches in fifteen years! I wanted those inches back. I was only 31. I felt there was a way, and I thought the way was yoga.
I had been introduced to yoga by Lilias Folan on her PBS television show when I was in 3rd grade. I loved coming home from school to do the poses and movements with her. Later, my father taught me some basic meditation techniques and t’ai chi when I was in 4th grade, so I was familiar with how good those practices made me feel.
I was partly right about yoga being the path for me.
When I looked at my yoga teachers, they were all different physical types, but there was something about the way they moved, that looked so easeful, so pleasant. I wanted to feel that. It turns out, they were moving from their core muscles. Yoga, if taught in a certain way, can be a way to tap into core stability. Why would I want to do that? Because those muscles are our endurance muscles. They are built to fire for long periods of time and have virtually no sense receptors. We should steer away from holding our spines upright with our surface muscles because those fatigue much sooner than the core. Then we are tired. Or in pain.
My surface body was strong from biking in San Francisco, swimming, running, dancing, t’ai chi, yoga, hiking, sailing, skating, and mothering, but I had core failure from the scoliosis and not paying attention to the musculature of my pelvis, and spine. My feet were fine. My excellent yoga teachers helped me, over the years, to gain back almost all of my 5’9″ through stretching, releasing constricted surface muscles, and balancing my body on my skeletal muscles.
Pilates makes me feel good and tall.
That was the beginning. I was moving from the core more, but those muscles were still not fully strong. Enter Pilates, an exercise system designed to activate and strengthen those muscles, without fatigue, without strain. Pilates makes me feel good and tall. One connection between Pilates and yoga is that breathing is essential to both working the core and calming the nervous system. Breath is integral to both practices. What do I do for a living? I breathe!
I have worked with many different people–of all ages, with injuries and without, athletes, women and men, with chronic illness, chronic pain, folks looking to get fit, dancers, skaters, equestrians, and recovering from surgery to name a few.
- 2005, I completed my yoga teacher training with Alignment yoga in Madison and have my E-RYT200 from Yoga Alliance.
- 2009, I finished my Pilates teacher training at the Midwest Pilates Institute, also in Madison, and am certified through the Pilates Method Alliance.
- I studied History and Philosophy of Science at the U of I at Urbana-Champaign, where I grew up.
I was born in the 60’s, so I have been around.
I have been a chef. I worked in San Francisco for Dr. Dean Ornish, helping him with his program for reversing heart disease. I have also been an environmental educator at Hidden Villa Ranch and Nature Preserve in Los Altos, California. I took kids on hikes in the foothills, helped them garden in the organic garden, and take care of farm animals. I teach yoga and meditation to cancer survivors. I am a poet and artist and supporter of animals, plants, organic farming and mama earth. I was raised on whole foods and know we are not separate from our environment, but one aspect of it. I believe in hope, humor, and that the body hears what we say to it. Namaste.