My journey into the healing arts began with a personal experience of debilitating injuries, chronic pain, and depression, an altogether different experience from a childhood filled with physical prowess and happiness. During my first years as a physical therapist, I received care for my own injuries, including physical therapy and massage. With only moderate recovery, additional injuries, and lingering debilitation limiting my life, I began to seek further education and experiences outside allopathic models of health care.
“I feel fortunate to find myself navigating three forks of a river—a personal fork, a professional fork, and the middle fork, Hatha Yoga—bringing it all together into a confluence of an authentic life and a journey of service.”
My journey into the “outside the box” practices of physical therapy began during graduate school. I was struggling with the dominating perspective of mechanical low back pain, biomechanics, and how to address dysfunction with isolated movement. I believe now whatever was generating the friction, fueled my desire to explore other realms of movement and health. Because of the dominating perspectives that flooded my professional field, it was difficult to find real solutions based in integral movement and systems the amazing body has for health and performance. And the pursuit of not being satisfied with superficial techniques and methods led me to progressive practitioners with experience beyond the mechanics of the body. That time and effort required setting aside some of the concepts of movement and health, was happy to do that, and deeply study the philosophy, concepts and hand use, and personal experiences to formulate a system I was confident to share to serve others.
That first spark “in the field” was when I was presenting my graduate research paper – padded socks for protection of the feet – in Toronto at the annual APTA conference. It was unique in it was the first time the APTA and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association combined their annual gathering. I was fortunate to attend a presentation on Adverse Neural Tension by Dr. David Butler PT, EdD, who is one of the founders of the NeuroOrthopedic Institute (leading edge education and programs for chronic pain, Explain Pain,). This encounter, and his perspective, has stayed with me as a cornerstone to my perspective throughout my career; and to this day his group’s offerings are some of the most effective and compassionate in the study and relief of chronic pain. I later was influenced by my experience with Craniosacral Therapy through a massage therapist, to help me with my injuries. This experience further sparked my drive for discovery and to learn alternative therapy modalities, specifically those originating from the field of Osteopathy. I enrolled in Craniosacral and Visceral Manipulation trainings. Through these phenomenal programs, I was introduced to Integrative Manual Therapy, Therapeutic Horizons, and eventually to my teacher, Frank Lowen. Frank Lowen’s approach to manual therapy IS revolutionary and includes in-depth teachings in Biovalent Systems (Lowen Systems—Dynamic Manual Interface). My experiences with Frank Lowen continue to forge and navigate that fork of the river which has allowed me to explore the integrative wisdom of the whole body. Since 1998, I have committed my postgraduate endeavors to the healing art of Manual Therapy and have received both personal and professional growth finding and expressing my love for the opportunities to provide these services.
In 1998, I also discovered Hatha Yoga as taught by Nicky Knoff. Since my introduction, I’ve had wondrous opportunities to study with world-renowned teachers such as Sarahjoy Marsh, Tias Little, Judith Lasater, and Matthew Sanford. In 2010, my teachers appeared – Scott Blossom, who led me to Shandor Remete & Emma Balnaves. The practices of Shadow Yoga and Nrtta Sadhana – a traditional practice has given me a deeper understanding of the anatomy and energetics of the internal healing art of Hatha Yoga. The furthering deepening of the Tantric practices include the contemplative practices of Vajrayana with Jennifer Welwood – Integrated Awakening and the Mystery School.
Serving as a Physical Therapist in a traditional hospital setting of acute care for 8 years (orthopedics, neuro-trauma, cancer, general surgery, intensive care, cardiopulmonary, burns, pediatrics), in clinical settings for more than 20years, and the authentic guidance in Hatha Yoga and Vajrayana integrated with my experience of suffering have reshaped my definition of healing. That healing is the potential of each and everyone of us, and the essential healing is up to one’s own practical participation. I do not consider myself a healer, rather an experienced adult human being with a set of skills to help others in their predicaments and bodily limitations.
In my spare time I love to ramble in the great outdoors, find off-beaten trails into wilderness, and put my hands at the helm of the oars and ride the currents of some of the greatest rivers in the West. Nature has always called to me, from the canyons and deserts of the Southwest, through the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains and its neighboring high altitude spectacles, to the adventures of the Northwestern ranges and ocean scenic beauty that I am fortunate to explore out my backdoor. Of recent, I have found incredible joy riding the fresh blue-green waves behind a wave boat on our local lakes. I also love the small rambles with the loves of my life – my sweetheart and our new pup, Ole(Yellow Labrador Retriever). Life is full and abundant for sure.
Today, it is with a deep sense of compassion, curiosity, contentment, and honor that I find myself in a place to assist others along their healing paths. To be able to bridge the healing arts of Yoga, Physical Therapy and Manual Therapy ignites in me the passion for life. Embodying my soul’s expression, teaching and assisting others in their healing journeys is the greatest gift to my Self.