In my athletic and active youth, I broke a number of bones, including hand, wrist and foot bones. As a young adult, I was hit by a car, thrown to the pavement from a motorcycle, knocked unconscious and suffered torn ligaments in my back. I dislocated my shoulders several times while skiing, diving or climbing and had surgery to repair them both. In my mid-40s, I got involved working with and riding horses and was run over or bucked off unruly horses I was training, and was once kicked in the jaw (which broke and was wired shut for six weeks). After this, my body was kind of a wreck. I also spent over 20 years working in the computer industry, mostly sitting at a desk. One day it dawned on me that all these injuries – and sitting and inactivity – had really taken a toll on my body. I had spent thousands of dollars on a plethora of therapies including physical and occupational therapy, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, and more. Each modality offered some relief, but it was always temporary. At some point I decided to switch careers and work in the fitness industry thinking it would motivate me to maintain a more active and healthier lifestyle, help others do the same, and perhaps help to alleviate some of my chronic pain.
In 2011, I became a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). I received additional training through NASM and was also certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist, Senior Fitness Specialist, and Strength Training for Post-Menopausal Women fitness instructor. I later received training as a Tabata High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Bootcamp instructor.
After my training, I opened a small fitness studio. I taught classes and offered private sessions; most of my clients were seniors and the majority were women. I began noticing that despite engaging in regular exercise, many of us (my clients and I) still had pain and physical limitations which prevented us from gaining the most benefit from our workouts – even those that were designed as corrective or senior-oriented exercises.
In 2013, while working for a short time at an occupational therapist’s office (his assistant was on maternity leave), I read a book that changed the course of my career. It was called Pain Free, written by Pete Egoscue with Roger Gittines. I was excited to find what I felt was the thing that I had been looking for to help myself, and to better serve my clients. I did an online search, discovered the Oregon Exercise Institute, contacted the owner, Matt Whitehead, and became a devoted and grateful client. I was so impressed with the results that I achieved doing his prescribed exercises that I decided to become a Posture Alignment Specialist (PAS II). I was certified through the Egoscue University (now Egoscue Institute), in 2014.
Doing the exercises regularly I experienced decreased joint pain with increased range of motion, improved strength of deep core muscles, better balance, and a greater ability and desire to move. I was able to partake in many athletic activities without pain or discomfort. I could even do handstands on my two shoulders, both of which had been under the surgical knife and that I believed would never be strong or flexible enough to do such a thing.
I closed my studio in 2015 and went to work at The Sequim Gym, where I conducted several multi-day workshops. However, soon after that, members of my family took ill and I moved to Arizona to care for them. (They all died. Maybe I wasn’t the best caregiver? No, seriously, it was actually quite a blessing to be able to take that time to be there for them. I especially felt honored to care for my father, who benefited from the posture exercises I gave him at the ripe old age of 101.)
In 2018, I became a PTX licensed therapist and returned to Sequim. I am now super excited to educate people about the profound effect that posture has on their health and well-being. I want people to know that it’s possible to tap into their body’s natural ability to heal itself and to experience less pain when it is in proper alignment. Even after years of being misaligned.
The exercises I teach are relatively gentle (though they can also be challenging) and can be done with a minimum amount of equipment at home, or in a gym or yoga studio. I especially enjoy the camaraderie and dynamics of groups, and so I love to teach workshops and small group classes. I also work with people privately in their homes if they cannot make it into the studio. My passion is really ignited when I find clients who are highly motivated and willing to commit to improving their posture through daily exercise.