How Critical Movement Coaching came to be.
First... I agree there is way too much to read on the internet about health. It is a vast sea of information that can get confusing quickly. While it is amazing that we do have all of this information at the tips of our fingers, it can be too much, even if you choose just one topic. That has been me for the last 11 years in dealing with my pain. From massage therapy to chiropractic, physiotherapy to laser therapy. I have tried many things in the course of the last 10 years for 2 main issues: In 2009 I was hit by a car while cycling. I had physio, shockwave therapy (hurts like hell), Cranial-Sacral therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, laser therapy, and prolotherapy... The prolotherapy on my knee helped and I haven't had any issues from that since. I had excellent results from Cranial-Sacral treatments with the concussion, my brain went from being stuffed with cotton balls to the feeling that someone had turned on a garden hose and was rinsing away all the cotton. In the end I needed surgery to repair damage to my ankle. The second main issue, my lumbar spine. The language that was written on my first x Ray was harsh: severe disc degeneration, osteoarthritis in the facet joints, and compression fractures. Cranial-Sacral treatments for my back pain that were effective, but only for a very short time. I would go for an appointment, leave feeling fabulous, then get home and put the kids in the car or pick them up for a hug and it was back to pain. Physiotherapy treatments were by far not the right thing for me at the time, I usually left there in more pain then I went in, to the point I often couldn't close my car door to leave, let alone trying to put my shoes on after the appointment. It took me 3 years to get my GP to finally listen, to stop prescribing more drugs, and refer me to a spinal clinic. It has now been almost 4 years in seeing the Spinal Physician and I am not only learning more on my own terms, but learning more about the 'system'. The four main things that I have learned. 1. Movement is critical. 2. There are a lot of treatments you can waste your money on. But how do you know? My new rule of thumb is that if you don't find significant results within 3 treatments... move on. 3. You need to be in the know, you need to be your own advocate of your health. This doesn't mean you need to go to your Dr. and tell them you know more, but do your research, ask your Dr. questions. What about this? If they say no, ask them why. You know your experience of your pain better than they do.
And fourth... that chronic, persistent pain that I was experiencing was not all biomedical. Yes, the xray results and further imaging that I had done sounded harsh, but though all of this I've learned that chronic pain is so much more. There is a pain theory called biopsychosocial that taught me to look at my experience in a different way. I'll write more on that later, but for now, the fourth thing that I've learned, is to look beyond the medical aspect of what you are experiencing and work on your relationships, your lifestyle, your overall health, including your mental health. So what does that mean in terms of how I ended up dropping my yoga asana practice? After my girls were born I tried to get back on my yoga mat but I was too tired and when I did have the energy and manageable pain levels all I wanted was to be outside. The kids loved going to playgrounds. In 2014 my awesome Osteopath suggested I try MovNat. Between that time and finally getting to the point I could take the Level 1 training in 2016; I got back on my bike (road cycling, if I was going to have back pain anyway I may as well be on my bike too) and in 2015 I started going to Lagree. Lagree was a next step in the chain of movement. It was the slow, full range of motion, resistance training that allowed me to strengthen my body while always working with the connections from my 10 year practice in Critical Alignment. After 4 years of attending over 250 classes, I am now a Lagree YYC instructor, and I love teaching these classes! I've always loved the logical, anatomical approach in Critical Alignment combined with the breath and work toward the CONSCIOUSNESS. I fully credit this practice in itself to a) keeping me moving through my back issues; b) causing me to be in the medical system without a referral further because each time I went to the Dr. I was always able to move well with what they asked me to do; c) giving me breath awareness and pay attention to the subtle connections; and finally d) having taught me to pay attention to language that I used, in my classes and in my head. This awareness of the use of language is a HUGE aspect in the treatment of persistent pain and working with clients.
The pain wasn't gone yet... I had great self-efficacy, but still had daily issues. It was after working with a therapist to see certain habits and relationships in my life that weren't healthy that I really started making major changes and began to experience pain-free days. This revelation made me want to learn more... in 2019 I enrolled in Cor-Kinetic's Mentorship Program. Finishing that in 2020, I've learned so much, with the one thing that I now know... I hardly know anything! And while my learning continues, I know that I can help. After all of this, I really believe that the combination of Critical Alignment, Lagree and MovNat are excellent tools in building a healthy, active life as well as the perfect bridge to get from rehab into living your life. Critical Movement came to life after combining all of these modalities and creating classes that helped to bridge the gap between rehab and/or working with injuries and pain into living a full, healthy life of movement. Right now I see a gap, on one side you have bodyworkers (massage therapists, physio, chiro, etc...) then on the other side you have fitness classes, yoga classes, and sports. Many of the end range activities that we do, it is up to us to listen to our bodies and try to feel and find the right way to move. This isn't easy for many people. Critical Movement takes a step back from the end range fitness classes and fills in that space of learning about movement, connections in the body, how and why our body moves the way it does and if they movement it is doing is helping or setting us back. From there we add in the basic movements of being a human. Sitting, walking, crawling, jumping, bending, lifting, etc... This is not Boot Camp. While we can certainly work hard in a class and push our bodies and minds, the concept here is to find our space, find our mobility with a strong sense of play, to have fun and make it practical to our daily lives! It is still a work in process, there is so much to learn. Everything I read though seems to point that I am on the right path. Movement is the key, but to live a full healthy life we need to add in the aspect of the mind. The practice of building not only the awareness within us, but of our surrounding environment and relationships. Interested? I look forward to posting more, there is really so much I'd love to say!