From 8:30 am until 10:00 am
Four-week led by Jennifer Pulvermacher
$165 for the four week series
At Jules Pilates
2160 Atwood Avenue Madison, WI, 53704
Jennifer Pulvermacher is a dynamo. I am hooked on how much energy she has to share. Her story is so interesting, and I am sure we all can relate to seeking the way for our bodies to feel better. Jen took some time to share her story with us.
Who is your healthy back class aimed towards?
I designed the "Back to Health" Yoga therapy program specifically for people experiencing back pain. It is appropriate for those experiencing a chronic or acute condition. No prior experience with yoga is necessary. You won't need to sit on the floor or touch your toes! Accommodations are made to support you and to make you feel comfortable, based on your condition, your ability, and your current level of pain.
Do you do the methods that you will be introducing in the healthy back class? If yes, how does it benefit you?
Yes! I practice movement, breath and meditation daily! My scoliosis condition requires me to continue with a regular practice. While my situation is unique (for example, my range of motion can be limited by the curve in my spine), I adapt the practices for my body, mind, and energy level on any given day. The methods that I use and that I offer my clients have been absolutely transformational for me and my life. My overall pain level has reduced, frequency of "flare ups" has gone down. When I do have a pain flare up, I generally feel that I'm able to recover more quickly. My awareness of my body, mind and energy has improved dramatically. I notice when things become unbalanced and I don't try to "wait it out." I I know which practices will help and I know when I need to seek help from other practitioners (for example, my chiropractor or massage therapist). I experience less fear and anxiety about my pain and my condition. My sleep has improved. In short, these practices have become a way of life for me. They are simple, but powerful. They work well for me and that's why I'm so passionate about offering yoga therapy for other people.
What made you decide to study yoga therapy?
I have had a long and successful career in business. When I was a young professional, I started experiencing pretty intense moments of back pain, due to scoliosis. I sought help from healthcare practitioners and received some relief. Over time, my pain increased. Despite the severity of my spinal curve, I was not interested in pursuing traditional scoliosis surgery (metal rods and a complete spinal fusion). Eventually, I found my way to yoga. The movement and breath practices offered me great relief. I felt empowered to improve my-day-to-day quality of life. I enrolled in yoga teacher training as a way to expand my understanding of yoga and how it could help with my condition. Unexpectedly, I fell in love. I fell in love with the philosophy and traditions of yoga. I fell in love with anatomy and the human spirit. I fell in love with teaching yoga to others. So, I started teaching yoga "for fun" in between corporate consulting gigs. After teaching yoga and meditation for more than 10 years, I learned about the field of yoga therapy. I realized that I could make a bigger impact on the health and well-being of people's lives as a yoga therapist. In 2016, I enrolled in the Yoga Therapy program at the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, CA. I completed the program in 2018 and I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the emerging field of yoga therapy. It is a joy and a challenge to be working with clients "on the ground," integrating complementary healing approaches within our current healthcare system.
What is yoga therapy? Is like yoga? Is it like PT?
Yoga therapy is an integrative medicine approach that focuses on the holistic treatment of various physiological, physical, or mental conditions. A growing body of research shows how yoga therapy helps to treat conditions ranging from back pain to cancer, to headaches, arthritis, anxiety, auto-immune, trauma, and injury rehabilitation. The ancient practices of yoga are utilized to create balance, so that you are positioned for optimal healing.
One of the most important philosophies in the yoga tradition, is that each person is viewed as a multi-dimensional being that includes body, breath, mind, emotions, and spirit. Yoga literally means "union." As such, a yoga therapist will assess your condition and develop a therapeutic plan that creates balance and alignment (i.e., union) across all layers of your being. A yoga therapy plan is tailored to your needs, physical ability, lifestyle and emotional state. A typical yoga therapy plan will include elements of some of the following practices:
- Gentle movement
- Breath practice
- Mantras and/or chanting
- Lifestyle modifiations (postural adaptations, nutrition)
- Sleep hygiene recommendations
- Deep relaxation<
- Suggested modifications for exercise and/or yoga classes
Both yoga therapy and traditional yoga classes aim to integrate body-mind-spirt, enabling a healthy state of balance and alignment. The biggest difference between yoga therapy and a yoga class lies in the approach and teacher credentials. Traditional group yoga classes are typically designed to meet the wide and varying needs of a diverse group of people. Yoga therapy is offered in guided, 1-1 personalized sessions with a highly trained and experienced yoga therapist. Sessions are highly customized for you, your lifestyle, and your health condition. Yoga therapy is also offered in small group settings, often with people experiencing similar health conditions or needs.
Yoga therapy is an emerging field of integrative medicine. Your yoga therapist works with your doctor, physical therapist, and your health team as needed to support healing. Physical therapy is often utilized to treat an injury or support rehabilitation. Yoga therapy also utilizes the concepts of anatomy, kinesiology, and movement to heal. The difference is that your yoga therapist evaluates and treats the injury or pain in the context of your WHOLE being. Yoga therapy focuses on empowering you by working with your nervous system, energy, and your mental condition in addition to treating the specific injury or physical ailment.