I’ve always loved to move. Extravagantly. As a small girl I’d play around pretending to be a horse, as a teenager I’d dance all night in my bedroom to Led Zeppelin. And as an adult snow skiing, scuba diving, and more dancing at any opportunity! I also loved running, gymnastics and trained to be a fitness instructor. So when I ruptured my ACL playing soccer in the dark one night I was devastated! Would I still be able to do everything I loved? Would I ever get back to my full movement range? I’d taken it all for granted but this was a huge wake up call. And I’d enrolled in my 500 hour yoga teacher training course at Nature Care College!
The short answer was yes, kind of. But I was limited. It shook my confidence. I wasn’t game to go downhill skiing anymore in case I ruptured my ACL again. I couldn’t run like I used to. I couldn’t do extreme flexion or weight-bearing poses in yoga. And that was just the beginning of a downhill slide of another kind!
After a decade of stressful consulting gigs and long hours over hot computers, enter chronic shoulder and neck pain. How could this be happening? I had a regular Astanga practice at the time, and thought I was doing all the right things, keeping my body strong and flexible, yet I was always getting injured. Not to mention regular trips to physios to get my shoulder blade strapped to my body and constantly craving massages for relief.
It wasn’t until I did my advanced yoga teaching diploma with the amazing yoga teacher of teachers, Donna Farhi, that I experienced some profound realisations about why I was so tightly wound-up and could be losing mobility rather than gaining it.
Donna talked about a stereotype that resonated deeply: someone she called a sensation-hound; a person who sought the deepest of stretches, to striving to achieve the most difficult poses. Competitive (mostly with myself), high-efforting and relentlessly switched on: I only knew two speeds; full speed or off! Ironically, I was so over-extended that I couldn’t feel any subtle sensations. I had become desensitised to all but the most extreme ends of the movement spectrum. Was this my legacy from years of leg warmers and Jane Fonda’s ‘feel the burn, no pain, no gain’ mantra?!’
3 weeks of intensive studies with Donna Farhi opened my eyes to a different, gentler and more functional possibility. I have spent the last 10 years re-learning how to move; letting go of what I looked like in my asana and tuning into the subtleties of how I felt instead. I learned that slow and gentle was the new advanced. Because the slower you go the more chance your brain has of processing how you feel. And because practicing gently within my range of motion actually meant I moved better without incurring the injuries I’d get from flinging my body around.
Donna introduced me to a host of related movement modalities including Hanna Somatics. Founded by Thomas Hanna in 70’s, this practice felt like a slow but profound revolution in my body. I started to enjoy the sensuality and pleasure from moving this way. I felt more balanced in my body and I was! A physio who measured my body before and after a 4- day somatic movement training, found dramatic differences. He was blown away – in all the years of prescribing his type of rehabilitative exercises he’d never seen such impressive results in such a short time.
I was empowered by these sensory skills but I also felt there were many more ways to heal. So I kept seeking the answer to my chronic tension. I started exploring more of the movement modalities including the awareness and integration of Feldenkrais Method and Laban/Bartenieff movement analysis.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to spend a weekend training with the remarkable Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, the founder of Body-Mind-Centering. Bonnie turned 70 that year but demonstrated how her embodied approach to movement, the body and consciousness allowed her to move as effortlessly as a child!
In 2019 I explored a different way of moving, looking and being in my own body with two legendary Alexander Technique teachers here in Canberra. The practices helped open my eyes to how I interacted with the world and how I could be softer and less reactive in my body. It was a deep ‘coming home’ and connection with Self that I harbour in my cell memory to this day. Through it I learned how to better regulate my nervous system whilst continuing to work an intense corporate role in management consulting.
I also began studies in JEMS; a wholistic rehabilitative practice curated by the wonderful Australian physiotherapist and rehabilition expert, Joanne Elphinston. Her sound principles of functional movement are coupled with seeing the whole person, with compassion, not just a collection of body parts and aiding them with visualisations that make sense to their schema.
On a spiritual level, my movement ethos aligned beautifully with living more from my feminine Self. I regularly participate in women’s circles where I replenish my feminine energy and enjoy the support we co-create.
I doubt I will ever stop seeking answers to the mysteries of my own psyche and body but I believe my journey has gifted me with a unique set of skills and understanding that I long to share with others who are struggling.
Leaving my day job took courage but I have now stepped into a pathway leading from the heart. I believe this is the reason I’m here: to guide you along your own journey back to the soft animal wisdom of your own body. I am here to help people relieve their pain, sleep better and feel free to move to do what they love most.