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After having 3 children in less than 4 years, I suffered from chronic low back pain. At times, I struggled to get dressed or tie my own shoes, and it was nearly impossible to lift my baby from her crib. It seemed that I was always hurting. If I sat, stood, or lay down for too long, my back pain would flare up. The pain affected all areas of my life, including my personality and my perspective. After examining me and looking at images of my spine, a surgeon diagnosed me with herniated lumbar discs and "degenerative disc disease" in my neck. (C3,C4 and C5 had fused.) He recommended cortisone shots in my spine to help with the pain and warned that I would need surgery.
I was not willing to have a needle in my spine (I had given birth without one and had no desire to have one now) and most definitely did not want to consider surgery. In desperation, I tried yoga. To be honest, I had tried it earlier in my life and found it to be boring. It was very hard to get through class because being physically still was an alien concept and my mind was crazy busy. At this point, I was in so much pain, I was willing to give it another shot. Full disclosure - I can't say I loved it. However, the next morning, I noticed it was a little easier to get out of bed!!
I stuck with it. To this day, I am not certain why I kept going, as lasting results were not immediate. After a few classes, I began to observe a pattern. Class was Monday nights. I would feel some relief on Tuesday. As I stuck with it, the relief seemed to last longer and longer. Eventually, I would feel better all the way to Sunday.
I am indebted to my teachers, Elin Larsen (for getting me started) and Jan Sarala Troy (for showing me the way to heal.) As my body grew stronger, more flexible and resilient, I felt hope and joy for the first time in years. What was most astounding to me was the way I became less reactive, less angry, and less anxious. As my physical body found healing, my emotional and spiritual bodies followed.
I received my MSW (Master's in Social Work) from UCONN. I primarily worked with survivors of sexual abuse, victims of domestic violence, men with anger issues and teenagers who were removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. I also spent a few years in the education system working with kids with special needs.
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training: Yoga Sanctuary, Northampton MA
500 Hour Teacher Training (Yoga Therapy): Inner Peace Yoga Therapy, Durango, CO
Teachers include (http://innerpeaceyogatherapy.com/faculty/)
Maria Mendola (Structural Yoga Therapy), Neil Pearson MSc, BScPT, BA-BPHE, CYT, RYT-500 (yoga for chronic pain), Amy Weintraub (author of the bestselling "Yoga for Depression,") Dr. Marc Halpern (founder and director of the California College of Ayurveda), Laura Kupperman (Yoga for Cancer) and Nischala Joy Devi (co-founder of the award-winning Commonweal Cancer Help Program and collaborator in the Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease).
I am a Certified Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists.