THE MAKING OF A BENDY ANATOMY NERD.
I was an active kid but I had all the signs of hypermobility syndrome from an early age. I remember passing out in elementary school when I had to stand for a long time for our musical performance, and other early signs of dysautonomia that were interpreted at the time as general nervousness. As a high school tennis player, I spent an inordinate amount of time with my physical therapist due to chronic shoulder subluxations.
My experience of living in a body plagued since adolescence by chronic pain and odd injuries eventually led me into yoga practice and then to become a yoga teacher. Unfortunately the way I practiced yoga asana for many years only exacerbated my physical challenges, even though other aspects of yoga practice served me in other ways. It would take me many years to understand how to practice yoga asana in a way that supported my unique needs as a bendy person.
When I finished yoga teacher training in 2005, I knew almost nothing about anatomy. In fact, I found the whole subject decidedly intimidating. But when I started teaching, I quickly became enamored with the human body and wanted to know SO MUCH more. This led me back to school to study physical therapy and I’ve been a physical therapist and full-fledged anatomy nerd since 2011.
Physical therapy and yoga mixed well for me. I began training yoga teachers and found a particular passion in teaching anatomy. I love seeing teachers gain confidence about the human body and cut through the anatomical nonsense that so often floats around yoga spaces.
STUDYING ANATOMY HELPS YOGA TEACHERS SAY WHAT THEY MEAN AND MEAN WHAT THEY SAY IN YOGA CLASS.
Becoming a mother changed everything…
Despite always having wide-ranging symptoms of hypermobility syndrome, my body fell apart for real after two pregnancies. I developed significant widespread pain, chronic fatigue, POTS, and a list of musculoskeletal complaints too long to detail here. I felt awful all the time. I went through the same medical gauntlet that most bendy people go through. I saw all the specialists, got to all the dead ends, was told everything was fine and I looked too healthy to have all those problems. Unfortunately it’s a familiar zebra story.
Luckily, I was already learning about hypermobility syndromes in the context of my clinical work with chronic pain patients and injured yoga practitioners. Treating people who presented with the same issues I’d always had helped me realize I may have a genetic connective tissue disorder. After a very long wait, a geneticist finally provided me with a diagnosis of Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I was 43 years old. That geneticist may never know how powerfully that moment would shape the rest of my life.
Now, I’m learning to live my best bendy life and doing what I can to help others do the same.
Today & beyond
I WAKE UP FEELING GRATEFUL TO KNOW MY PURPOSE AND EXCITED TO SHARE WHAT I’VE LEARNED WITH OTHERS TO ACCELERATE THEIR HEALING PROCESS.
When it comes to supporting yoga teachers, I love combining my love of anatomy and biomechanics with a continued dedication to the inner experience of yoga. My anatomy education programs help yoga teachers develop the confidence, competence, and clarity they need to make a bigger impact, while cultivating a sense of playfulness, awe and wonder about the human body.
When it comes to hypermobility syndromes, I’m here to push the envelope on the quality of care available to bendy people by offering one-on-one physical therapy and consultation as well as an online community and educational podcast.
I hope there’s something in my work that serves you on your journey towards optimal thriving.
Ten Quirky Facts about Me
I grew up in a small town in eastern Tennessee, pre-internet.
My first job was at Dollywood theme park.
I drink cardamom tea with oat milk and honey every morning.
I have one older sister who also lives in Asheville, NC and is also bendy.
My favorite food is my mom’s peach cobbler.
I tried to learn to play the violin in college. It was too late.
I sing in a community chorus because singing is magic.
I’m an Aquarius sun with Leo moon and Virgo rising. It all tracks.
My name comes from the Libby’s food commercial, popular with my 3 yr old sister when I was born.
The road to my heart is paved with chocolate.
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LISTEN TO PODCAST
ZEBRA TALKS: How to Thrive in a Hypermobile Body
Experts and fellow zebras share insights, tips, and strategies for living their best bendy lives