I believe in better movements for better living. For reducing pain and fear, building confidence and making room for joy and adventure. Whatever abilities or disabilities we possess, we can learn to forgive our weakness, embrace our strength, and celebrate successes along our own unique path.
Education and Experience
After obtaining my B.A. from Eckerd College, where I indulged my curiosity with a double major in Psychology and Anthropology, I worked several different jobs as I started my adult life. Dabbling in office work, landscaping, and retail, I finally opened my own paperhanging business.
Itching to get back to school, I began working part time at a Counseling Psychology Master’s course at the University of South Florida. Life events brought me to New Jersey, where I eventually completed that Master’s degree at Monmouth University.
During my master’s study, personal experiences taught me a more important lesson – the extraordinary benefit of regular exercise, for the mind as well as the body. Consequently, I directed my attention toward learning more about exercise.
I began a series of educational quests:
2002 - AFAA (Aerobic and Fitness Association of Ameria) Personal Trainer Certification
2007 - AEA (Aquatic Exercise Association) Aquatic Fitness Professional
2008 - AEA Aquatic Personal Pool Trainer
2008 - AEA certifcate in Aquatic Options: Special Populations & Post Rehab Fitness Training
2009 - ACSM - (American College of Sports Medicine) Certified Persoal Trainer
2009- Zumba - official Level 1 Instructor
2011 - ATRI (Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute) Certificate of Completion - Ortho and Neuro Treatment Progressions Specialty Certificate Program
2012 - SCW Fitness Education - Pilates Matwork Specialty Certification
2013 - AFPA (American Fitness Professionals and Associates) Certified Yoga Fitness Instructor
Throughout and since, I have worked with clients and groups at several local gyms as well as seeing clients in their own homes, and giving presentations to groups on such topics as “The Benefits of Meditation”. As learning never ends, I was lucky to attend several Yoga Journal Conference in NYC, studying with the genius of Leslie Kasminoff, Bo Forbes and other esteemed yogis. In 2016, I delved deeper into the secrets of Professional Fitness in a private FitCamp with Lawrence Biscontini, world renowned guru of Mind/Body, Group Ex, and Aquatic Fitness.
Due to this broad range of education and experience, I am able to connect with a broad range of clients and address their individual needs. My clients’ achievements range from ostensibly awesome to abashedly ordinary, but most often the greatest accomplishment is sticking with their program long enough to look back and say “WOW! Look what I can do now!” And that’s what it’s all about – better movements today for better living tomorrow.
Bio - "A crooked path"
Besides my background in mental health and work experience, my personal life spread a wide net of the first-hand experience kind of empathy that enables me to find common ground with virtually any individual. At some point, I wanted to be a writer, and it became my mission to accumulate as many experiences in life as I could – so I would have lots to write about!
My childhood was spent in rural Ohio, the younger of two children of a very hard-working and compassionate Civil Engineer father and an intelligent, loving, and rebellious stay-at-home mom. Our Catholic background provided hearty doses of discipline as well as holiday gatherings filled with relatives of all ages and food for all appetites. My favorite pastime as a child was going for long walks alone, with a peanut butter sandwich tied in a bandana on a stick, like a real "hobo".
My brother was both my idol and enemy as we grew up wandering through woods and farms; he taught me to be brave and strong and trust no one. I had a few close friends who taught me how to laugh till my sides hurt. Along with the joys of companionship, we learned about the fragility of the human mind in a horrific, life-changing demonstration of how mental illness and firearms don't mix.
Several weeks after my 15th birthday, the family packed up and moved to the west coast of Florida, where my parents became entrepreneurs of several businesses, and work became as familiar to me as breathing. As I moved through my adolescence, learning about love, high tides and skateboards, I also learned the businesses of my parents as well as my own jobs – working retail at the mall, and assisting a paperhanger, who taught me the skill that would sustain me through the first years of my adult life.
At age 18, I began having severe lower back pain. X-rays showed excessive curvature and compression of the lower portion of my spine, and special exercises were recommended. This was my first experience with “Exercise as Medicine”, and although the exercises helped relieve the pain, it would take a lot more pain before the import of that lesson sunk into my brain.
While in college I took up swimming, both in a pool and at the beach. The warm, calm water of the Gulf of Mexico was especially conducive to long swims. When not in the water I spent more time on my skateboard than my feet, thrilling at jumping off curbs and over short flights of stairs. I traveled to the Cayman Islands, ostensibly to learn “International Business”, but came away with a deep affection for scuba-diving. Then a semester in London fueled my new travel bug, including several Magic Bus tours and a whirlwind scary hitchhiking adventure through Europe.
Fast forward through several jobs, a 180 mile bike ride, one marriage/business partnership, buying a home and becoming part of the wonderful community of Tarpon Springs, FL. Life moved quickly and I learned the hard way that I cannot control everything and everyone in my life. In 1995 I packed up a few things, including my son who is evidence that great things can come from poor decisions, and moved to New Jersey, renewing a lost love and starting a new life.
Running became my coping skill, my daily escape during those trying times. I ran most mornings, not far or fast, but regularly. Eventually my knees began to scream and after several shots of cortisone, the doctor cut me off. He said “You better get off the pavement and into a pool, or I’ll see you on the table with a knife in my hand.” My meniscus was worn through, bone on bone. A combination of overuse, hypermobile joints, and osteoarthitis. I was only 38 years old, too young for knee replacements!
Lucky for me, a new gym was opening later that year, with a big, beautiful swimming pool! I joined that gym and learned the value of aquatic exercise, the joys and dangers of spinning, dancing and kickboxing, and eventually, the ESSENTIAL value of basic strength training to sustain muscles to support the joints and facilitate any and all movements for my life!
The year 2000 brought a new, brief, sweet chapter to my life. After years of struggling with infertility treatments, I finally wrapped my arms around my daughter, a 5 month old bundle of fire from Guatemala. Barely a year into our baby honeymoon, tragedy struck with 9/11, and as I grieved in shock with my directly affected comrades, little did I know that my personal grieving was not far behind.
The very next day, the phone rang and I was informed of a terrible car accident in Florida, My father was in a coma due to a head injury and delayed medical care because the 9/11 “no-fly” restrictions grounded the helicopter that would have flown him to emergency care. 10 days later we reluctantly let him go, and I held his hand tightly and greeted death for the first time.
Despite my best efforts to stay healthy, the struggles of dysfunctional, stressed out families (some say “that’s normal” but there lies many shades of gray… and ultimately personal and perceptual experience defines reality anyway, right?) and a declining economy eventually took their toll. In 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent two surgeries and radiation. My mother had survived concurrent ovarian and endometrial cancer, so the battle was not new to me and I faced it with confidence.
Refocused on my health, I took up yoga, a path that I have returned to again and again, getting healthier each time! My health and strength returned in full, enough that I completed a Sprint Triathlon in 2012. My training business grew steadily, and as life got busier and busier, perhaps I slacked in my post-cancer regiment of self care.
Cancer has a way of creeping back when you let your guard down. In 2015, lung cancer finally caught up with mother’s lifetime of smoking, and I spent several months helping her on her journey. It was the second time I watched death take a parent, this time leaving me feeling very alone in the world. Less than a year later, cancer began to creep back into my body and I underwent a complete hysterectomy, forcing me to re-evaluate my lifestyle once again.
During that long quiet winter I discovered Cate Stillman, author of Body Thrive. I re-ignited my passion for yoga, and delved deeper into Ayurvedic science, meditation and other realms of the yogi lifestyle. As I began to practice a more holistic approach to wellness, I discovered how incredible I could actually feel, and how quickly my body will get sick in protest if I slack in taking care of it.
It’s as if my body was saying “I’m getting sick and tired of this abuse, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” And so I did, as I teach my clients who return to me after a time, often more broken than ever; I forgave myself and recommitted to trying harder each day to create a better tomorrow by consciously choosing my steps today!
No matter what mistakes you’ve made along the way, what conditions you bring to the session, there’s a way to make life better for you, and it’s my mission to help you find that path, guide you on your way, and celebrate with you- better tomorrows, starting today!