Welcome to the Jungle.
I was an active kid. Tee ball, basketball, playing outside, probably a bunch of other stuff I don't remember, but as I grew up, I ended up liking books a whole lot better than activity. I went off to college and was feeling fine and free for about a year.
I can nail it down to the day it started. I stepped up the first stair to my dorm and felt a pain in my sacroiliac joint. For a few days, it felt like it wasn't attached right — more of an annoyance than anything — and then it went away.
These episodes escalated and spread through my joints throughout my college career. Once I was out in the workforce, there eventually came a morning when my parents had to team up to get me into the bathroom. I felt betrayed by my body, and the self pity began.
After five or six years of feeling broken down, I was *finally* diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that's always flagged with a squiggly red line when you type it.
I felt like an idiot for wasting the body I had. Now that I "couldn't" run, "couldn't" participate, "couldn't" physically tolerate even a hug, all I did was wish I could do things I believed I could no longer do.
I tried everything natural and cycled through several medications, but it wasn't until I changed what I ate and started yoga that I found the empowerment to shuck off the ratty old bathrobe of self-pity.
I started going to yoga at the suggestion of my rheumatologist, but I knew I "couldn't" do anything but stretch a little, so I wasn't super stoked about it. But in the span of an hour, I fell in love.
Since then, my yoga practice has been an adventure. There have been good times and tough love, but through it all, I've learned one of the best lessons of my life: ahimsa, or non-harming. To me, ahimsa is loving what my body can do, pushing its boundaries, giving it a break when it needs it, holding it to task, and becoming best friends with it.
I started learning about the impact food has on autoimmune health, and learned to experiment on myself and tune into how foods affected my body. Between a food overhaul and a deepening yoga practice, all those "couldn'ts" fell away, and I realized I'd been selling myself short.
My dietary changes helped to an extent, but it wasn't until I found a functional medicine doctor and the AIP (autoimmune protocol) lifestyle that I truly started to heal.
I became a 200-hour RYT yoga instructor and certified health coach because I wanted to go even deeper, learn even more, and since then, I've discovered this body that I once believed to be a broken traitor can hike uphill through a Costa Rican jungle, spin in aerial silks, plunge into an icy lake, and endure every hug thrown at it.
I move every day, even when a flare up tries to keep me down. I use food to nourish my body. I make myself and my health a priority every damn day. And now I'm starting to feel a little selfish, so I want to share what I've learned with you.
Get in touch, and let me know what I can do for you.
I aim to help you manage your autoimmune disorder, find empowerment, and grow happiness through yoga. I promise to help you jump fearlessly, breathe fully and laugh through your nose so you get that cute little snort.