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Chronic pain brought me to the practice of yoga in 1996.  I had thoracic outlet syndrome and by the time I was finally diagnosed with the condition I had not only been in chronic pain for many months, but I had lost the feeling of hot/cold in my fingers and could no longer use my arms and hands for even basic tasks.  I couldn't drive a car, I couldn't hold a pen, I could not lift my then 3-year old daughter.  I was the sole caregiver at home with 3 daughters and eventually had to leave my job as a chef as I could no longer perform those work requirements.  Western medicine offered me anti-depressants and surgery to remove part of my ribcage - though they cautioned me, there was no guarantee that would alleviate my symptoms.  I did neither. (please note I have nothing against Western medicine; this story is just about my personal choices).

After a good year of sinking into depression and a feeling like I had no control over my life, I stumbled across yoga at the local recreation center.  I knew absolutely nothing about it but knew I needed to get off my couch!  I'd like to be able to tell you that I had an instant medical cure - which wasn't the case; however, I did start feeling less like a victim and had a more positive outlook. (I would later learn that yoga promotes healing, but that healing does not always = cure.  I was fortunate, I both healed and cured).   After 2 years of practice, I decided to go to yoga teacher training myself to find out more about what was going on.  At that time, I was still unable to do all the poses, as I still had symptoms; however, Kripalu Yoga (the discipline I first studied) made allowances and modifications to meet me where I was.  A full 4 years after I began my yoga practice, and 2 years after I was a certified teacher, I found I had become symptom free.  But even before I was symptom free, I found that I felt more happy, relaxed, comfortable and confident than I ever had even before my injury.

Since then I have gone on to study and receive certifications as a Professional Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher, Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga, Integrative Yoga Therapist, Adaptive Yoga Teacher for MS, Advanced Training Level II iRest Yoga Nidra and designation of E-RYT500 from the National Yoga Alliance.  I am a member of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher's Association, iREST Community Network, International Association of Yoga Therapists and the Mass Yoga Network.  I served as directress of the Shakti Yoga and Healing Arts Center from 1998-2005 which was the first in the Merrimack Valley offering more than 30 yoga and meditation classes weekly and adjunct healing practices of reiki, acupuncture, shiatsu, massage and more. I have experience implementing yoga based wellness programs for a variety of settings including corporate, hospital, civic, physical therapy and mental health facilities.  I have worked with the Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell to bring therapeutic yoga to female survivors of sexual assault as well as patients in recovery at McLean Hospital in Boston.  I was the first yoga teacher at Lowell General Hospital and initiated both their yoga in a chair and prenatal programs during that time.  I also work one-on-one with clients in order to tailor the practices to the individual's needs.  I have given talks on the benefits of yoga and meditation to medical, business and civic groups and have created and produced a CD for beginner yoga practitioners as well as videos for the local Chelmsford (MA) Community TV which continue to air.  I have brought groups on retreat to St. John, USVI and The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA

My focus in teaching these practices are in the spirit of helping people find some facet of Moksha - freedom or liberation - within their own life.  Whether it be an experience of freedom from stress, negativity, self doubt, liberation of movement or thoughts, or even the ultimate experience of being all you were born to be; my intention is to utilize the practices in a way that enrich our every day modern lives so that we can feel calmer, happier, more comfortable in our own skin and open to possibilities that we may not have previously imagined.  To paraphrase the Kripalu Center, what good is standing on your head, if you don't know how to stand on your own two feet?

Currently I divide my time between Westport, Massachusetts and Boulder, Colorado.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about yoga, meditation or iREST.  I always offer free 10 min consultations and am happy to listen and make suggestions that may support you in beginning a practice (even if its not with me!). 

to make an no-obligation, free 10 min consultation appointment, please email me shaktiwellnessyoga@charter.net