I have always been an athlete. I grew up dedicated to gymnastics through 10th grade (three hours daily), participating on every varsity team from 7th grade on and ice skating, bowling, anything that involved the place I was most comfortable—my body. During summers at sleep-away camp I lived to both waterski and swim twice daily, and run up and down the rocky paths of the Adirondack Mountains. By the time I was 12 years old I was ski jumping and I'd already passed my expert level. In college, I was on the fencing team, and always played tennis and swam.
After I graduated from college my first job was at an Ann Taylor, a job where I was on my feet all day. Almost weekly I purchased a new pair of shoes not understanding the problem was not the shoes. It was my feet. I moved back to NYC and walked about five miles a day for many years while being confined the rest of the day in an office. I went through many stages of foot issues, getting inserts for my shoes at 22 for the first time. I used Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoes and tried a variety of “natural footwear.” I made sure to always have arch support. By the time I reached my fifties I was in pain walking most of the time. I returned to a podiatrist who made inserts based on foot molds, told me never to walk barefoot and to wear special slides while at home. The pain did not diminish and I realized I had to change my feet.
Beginning in my fifties I became certified as a foot practitioner in Yamuna, Restorative Exercise, Gyrotonic/Gyrokinesis and the MELT Method, and was able to switch to zero-heel shoes and begin walking barefoot again. Life was so much better but not perfect. I then read Oliver Sacks's book On the Move (2015), where he writes about three patients who suffered viral infections of their nervous systems and the proprioception they lost for life. Suddenly I could connect the dots in my own life to when I was 17 and suffered a viral infection of my nervous system for five months. No doctor, or anyone else, had ever made the connection between my life long foot issues and this root cause. It was an eye opener, allowing me now to change my story.
During the week of my first Kaiut Yoga training this past September, I experienced more sensation in my feet going to bed at night than I can ever remember, despite having already come a very long way from a decade ago when walking would bring me to tears. Ironically the week before the Kaiut training, I had been in fact questioning whether I should attend the training at all because I'd slightly torn a medial meniscus, but Francisco said come and we'll make accommodations. Once I heard that I knew the week would be one of important healing. With the week of Kaiut work, after six weeks of limping, I regained full knee flexion when standing and my knee pain diminished steadily. I found the kneeling position Virasana so helpful and have taken to working on my computer in this position at home. But really any Kaiut pose with a bent knee is an aid to my knee recovery. Virabhadrasana, a standing pose with Iegs separated, remains instrumental in allowing me to experience a normal flexion in gait, renewing my belief in full recovery from my torn medial meniscus. I also feel a daily Sukhasana addressing the restrictions both in my hips and ankles. I am so grateful to have found a practice that takes me deeper into healing my body.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA, USA