Chronic pain can be a very lonely, scary and confusing experience. I believe knowing you are not alone is a powerful aid which is why I regularly share Jo’s blog with my clients that are working through chronic pain. It has been as beneficial and supportive to them as it is to me. Jo blends pain science with heart through authentically sharing what she learns to her own life. Her work is informative, poetic, and empowering. She is a gift to many of us out there who need to be reminded of what’s true and what’s possible.
I connected with Jo through Facebook several years ago. Through her posts on Facebook and blog, I found that we had a lot in common, especially in our experience with pain. Although the details were different, there was a similarity in in the ways we had found to live through pain. Our pain experience had also become a big part of our meaningful work. While Joletta and I were now working to be a support for others in pain through our work, we still have our own pain ups and downs. Even though I may have more knowledge and tools for pain now, the experience can still sometimes create various thoughts and feelings and support from others is still helpful. Reading something from Jo and connecting online with her was a kind of refuge and encouragement for me in times I experienced a flare-up pain was high.
Support and empathy
One time, when I was in Bulgaria preparing to film yoga videos all day for four days and I had a muscle strain that brought on a flare-up of other pain right before I left. I sent Jo a message telling her I was in pain and feeling insecure, weak and fearful — just because I knew she would understand. She sent a reply that was exactly what I needed. It was supportive and perfectly empathetic.
She said, “… you’re not defeated! And you’re not weak nor fragile nor broken. You’re strong and capable and able to recognize what’s going on and how to get through it.” About the injury and pain I was experiencing she said, “So we make space for it, we get through the flare-ups, and we continue to live right now. We don’t need to wait for ideal. All we have is this moment. So we do what we can with love and gratitude and try and enjoy our surroundings, in and out.”
Jo was reminding me what’s true about this experience and about me. She provided clarity for me when my fear clouded things. And it helped! Being heard and known by Jo was a powerful support. I was able to get through the filming just fine. This is community, this is the support and encouragement we are designed to be for each other. I am so grateful for my friend, Jo. She is a gift to many of us out there who need to be reminded of what’s true and what’s possible.
Tami is also a part of our awesome volunteer staff!
My fondness of movement started when I was introduced to yoga in college in 1998 by my Kinesiology teacher who taught the study of movement through yoga poses (asana). I started learning more and practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation. The introduction of yoga through Kinesiology (the study of movement) also started my interest in the anatomy of yoga asana and the science of movement. Equally, I was deeply curious about how the whole person interconnected — body, mind, relationships, soul, life story, etc.
My interest in movement along with my desire to help people thrive holistically drew me to study and obtain certifications in Massage Therapy, Yoga, Pilates (mat and equipment) and corrective exercise. I started a career as a massage therapist in 2000 and have been teaching yoga and Pilates since 2006. Because of my own personal experiences with chronic pain, I have been interested in the health enhancing benefits of mindful movement, yoga, Pilates and mindfulness meditation from the very beginning of my career.
Yoga, movement and pain
My curiosity has led me to learn more about chronic pain and how to best support myself and others through movement. I received valuable training and certification through physiotherapist and yoga therapist, Neil Pearson’s, Pain Care Yoga courses. This work is a blend of the ancient art of yoga with evidence-based modern pain science to develop a mindful movement practice that addresses the whole person. Visit Neil’s Pearson at his website, lifeisnow.ca, for more information on this fantastic approach.
My work now includes working alongside health professionals providing yoga and mindful movement to support those working through pain issues. My personal and professional experience has taught me even more about how our life story shows up in our bodies. Yoga and mindful movement create space for us to discover ourselves — our body, mind, heart, soul, the world around us, and how it all connects.
I want to be more than just a movement educator. My hope is to inspire a way of living, moving and being that allows the pursuit of what is truly valuable in life. In making choices about our health, I believe in moving from a place of meaning and grasping our unique physical dignity.