I grew up as a dancer. My St. Louis based dance studio became like a second home. And while I was diagnosed with scoliosis in middle school, I was told it wasn’t severe enough to treat so kept moving my body in the ways I always had. By the time I left undergrad with a degree in journalism, I entered my early twenties already experiencing back pain.
While living in Texas in my mid twenties, I fell in love with vinyasa yoga, and not long after that, I got certified to teach. At the time, I had never heard of hypermobility or understood how it could affect an already vulnerable spine. By the time I was 26, I developed SI joint dysfunction. Through physical therapy, I discovered the stabilizing benefits of Pilates, and decided to add that to my certifications, but continued to teach yoga. At 33, after having my first child, I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and stenosis of my lumbar spine. The first surgeon I consulted with recommended a fusion, then proceeded to fill me in about how hard of a surgery that is to undergo and recover from, and told me not to bend forward, backward, or to the side, and not to twist or lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I had a 1 year old at the time. So I sought a second opinion from a doctor who encouraged me to continue to build core strength, prolong the surgery as long as possible, and let pain guide me in what movements to avoid. At that point, after a conversation over coffee with a trusted colleague and Pilates instructor, I switched the focus of my practice to Pilates. It turned out to save me from surgery and allowed me to have a second child with no progression in my injury.
I’ve learned firsthand how imbalances caused by scoliosis can lead to compensation and further injuries. And nerve impingement caused by stenosis can be aggravated by just about anything. I’m intimately familiar with pain and injury, but also committed to staying healthy, and I’ve worked hard to find ways to keep my body strong without compromising my overall well-being, which can be a real challenge. What I’ve learned is that applying Pilates principles to other low impact forms of exercise allows me to get an effective workout while keeping my body safe and in alignment. This is how the idea for The Reformed Method was born.
I’ve spent the last 14 years teaching a combination of yoga and Pilates. Two years ago I added barre, and I’m currently fine tuning my specialty through focused Scolio-Pilates training. The feedback I often receive from clients centers around my precise attention to form, expertise in the area of spine issues and back pain management, creativity in formatting my classes and carefully curated playlists. My goal is to use my experience to connect with clients who have also suffered with injuries, looking either to rehabilitate or challenge themselves through exercise that is both safe and effective.