Laura is a movement specialist and the founder of the School of Happiness; a Holistic Online Wellness Studio. She is a passionate wellness educator and mind-body-spirit specialist offering retreats, classes and workshops live and online.
I remember the first time I felt back pain. I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Physical Education at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and was working part-time as a fitness trainer for a club on the West Island of the city. I consulted one of the osteopaths at our center and he suspected that my tight hip flexors were part of the problem that contributed to my back pain. I worked out often and taught numerous spinning classes per week. These fitness activities were beneficial for my physical performance and for managing my stress but the combination of long hours sitting at my desk and many cycling hours during the week without enough stretching, active recovery, proper breathing and relaxation led to my pain. The accumulation of those repetitive daily activities resulted in the development of muscular imbalances and chronic discomfort within my body.
Other factors also contributed to my discomfort and needed to be addressed. In the early days of my fitness management career along with being a student, I often felt nervous and lived with chronic low levels of anxiety. The constant nervousness I felt inside of me was mostly due to the self-imposed pressure while studying full time at University and working part time to make ends meet.
Today, research has confirmed the direct link between our thoughts, emotions and how we feel in our bodies. Being too busy in our heads and living with chronic symptoms of stress gradually breaks down the body leading to fatigue, an inability to concentrate and may cause various forms of body pain. I didn’t have all the coping tools back then as I do now. Over the years, I sought out guidance from numerous specialists and experts in the field of fitness, wellness and back care to gain the tools I needed to help myself and others to be fit and healthy.
Unknowingly at the time, the Mend my Back program had been an active work in progress for the past 25 years! If we are to be well, we need to look at the whole person mind-body & spirit. I have learned over the years as a fitness professional and wellness professional how to care for my body; physically- through proper movement and nutrition, mentally- through yoga, coherent breathing, meditation and a variety of healing methods and spiritually- through the exploration of meditation, self-awareness, self-realization, and tapping into who I am at a soul level to liberate myself from struggle, anguish and pain.
I love to move, especially in nature. My favourite activities include: skiing and snow shoeing in the winter and hiking trails or swimming in the lake in the summer with my family and our energetic Golden Retriever, Shiva. I want to have the freedom to do the activities I enjoy without feeling limited by back pain. I still at times live with low grade tension or discomfort if I have over done it physically or if I am worried about something, my back reminds me to slow down and breathe!
I rely on my body to work. I prefer feeling great, I believe it is important to keep a positive vibe as a fitness and movement specialist, yoga teacher and conference presenter. The exercises included in this program have all been my favorites over the years and most effective movements to keep me at my best. I am inspired to share them with you. I look forward to guiding you on your back care journey.