I am going through a Bible study right now that talks about how ones’ life experiences shape their path. My life is full of milestones that revolve around the health of my body.
As a child, I suffered from foot pain. It was something that I could never really describe, but it hurt. My best explanation is it felt like my feet were on fire. I remember crying because they hurt so badly, and my mom didn’t know what to do to make it go away. We called them growing pains, but my feet never grew.
When my feet were really bad, I would sit on the rim of the bathtub and I would run freezing cold water over them because I couldn’t find any other relief. To this day, I still have a burning sensation with my feet, especially at night. During my second pregnancy, I would often sleep on the couch with ice packs on my feet; otherwise, I couldn’t sleep because the burning was so intense. I have never gotten an official diagnosis for my feet. It is kind of hard to share with doctors when I can’t explain it, it comes and goes, and it mostly happens at night. I have discovered that releasing the fascia on the bottoms of my feet with a golf ball and alignment socks do help tremendously.
In college, I was also diagnosed with falling arches. They thought falling arches might be the cause of my hip and back pain. A podiatrist fitted me with orthotics, which I wore faithfully for over a year. Then I met a yoga instructor who changed my feet forever. This woman was being trained by a barefoot runner. I started practicing the exercises she taught her students on a daily basis for months. As I did this, my orthotics began to hurt my knees and ankles, so I started to wear them less and less. Eventually I tossed the orthotics in the garbage. It has been 10 years since my feet, back and hips have hurt (except for the burning sensation), and I haven’t seen a podiatrist since.
In high school, I was an athlete and participated in three sports throughout the year. During my sophomore year of high school, I developed terrible hip and back pain that led me to seek out the sports medicine doctor at our school. She gave me various stretches to do, but they never helped. I eventually was referred to a doctor, physical therapist, and myofascial massage therapist. I hated the myofascial release work the most; I would just cry when she would work on my tight piriformus. Eventually I started seeing a chiropractor as well. At one point, I decided it wasn’t worth it to be 17 and play basketball while dealing with chronic pain, so I didn’t play my senior year.
As I was given more and more exercises to work on by various professions, I realized a lot of it was yoga, so I started to research yoga. As I practiced it more and more, my pain started to fade away. In college, I took my first yoga training and was hired by the university’s fitness department to teach yoga classes. That department paid for several other yoga trainings in subsequent years. I fell in love with yoga and fell out of love with group exercise and running. Both of them made my body hurt.
Motherhood trashed my body. I developed a diastasis, which I had never heard before until I started researching why my stomach would not return to normal after my third pregnancy. I developed terrible shoulder pain and tension from carrying my kids and breastfeeding. During this time, I started to hate my body. I had no time for myself, yoga, or even moving my body. In addition, I lost my joy for life. I wasn’t depressed; I was just in mommy mode all the time and I couldn’t remember what fun looked like anymore.
My heart was still in love with yoga, especially Holy Yoga, but I longed to move my body more actively like I once did in high school and college. I longed for those weeks when I taught 5-7 yoga, Pilates, and senior exercise classes and trained 3-5 personal training clients. I wanted to like fitness again.
In 2012, I enrolled in the Revelation Wellness Instructor Training. The longing for more intense movement was burning too strong. Upon attending my retreat in April of that year, my life was changed. I found my joy for fitness. I found my joy for life.
I also started to research diastasis more and more, which lead me to finding Katy Bowman. I am now a Healthy Foot Practitioner, helping others reduce their foot pain and I’m an alignment nerd. I love everything about it. As I started to work on my own alignment and to restore my body, my health improved even more. The restorative work I was doing on my body has allowed me to run again. Last year, I was able to run three 5Ks totally pain free.
In addition, I have discovered YogaTuneUp balls and The MELT Method. Through these modalities, I’m learning to release my fascia and let go of chronic tension. My shoulders, neck and entire body have never felt so good.
I’m still knee deep in motherhood, but I have joy and a body that no longer feels like it is faulty, painful, and stiff.
This month, I am are kicking off a blog series about restoring, aligning, and reclaiming one’s body. This might just be your next health milestone.