A few weeks ago, I flew to Miami for a five-day core and pelvic floor teacher training.
During the training, we were asked to volunteer if we had certain things going on to teach the group about that particular issue or body part — from the feet to the shoulders and everything in between.
When we were discussing the sacroiliac joint, I eagerly volunteered because I’ve had sacroiliac joint pain off and on for years. If I could get some new insight into how to help myself, I was ready to have it.
The group first assessed my standing alignment and posture, and then I was asked to walk, so they could assess my walking pattern or gait.
Standing in front of the group, I felt mortified and ashamed.
During a brief pause, while another student was being assessed, I inwardly sent myself some compassion. But, I was rattled.
That night, I called a friend and shared how hard it was to be seen, especially in this way with all of my flaws being pointed out.
I felt unnerved, like my peers wouldn’t respect me — a movement teacher for 16 years — who had a body that looked and moved like mine.
I felt incredibly sad because for so many years I’ve been seeking to understand and heal my body. I felt like a failure and like I was broken.
The next few days, the more I focused on my gait, the more awkward and restricted it felt. And the more disconnected I felt from my body.
At some point that week, I realized I’ve been at war with my body for much of my life. I’ve wished it was different in so many ways.
With tears in my eyes, I also realized that my body has served me so well for the last 40 years. It helped me to survive trauma, do all kinds of physical activities, and grow a baby boy.
I’d forgotten about all of the good my body does for me every single day without me having to think of it — breathing, circulating blood, building bone, fighting viruses, healing injuries.
It’s been doing these miraculous things and so much more while I’ve been plotting to change it, to make it different, to make it better.
My practice is now to figure out how to care for my body, to trust it, and to listen to it. That’s my first step toward coming home to my body and working with it instead of against it.
I’ve been reminding myself that my body knows what to do. And it does.
Funnily enough, when I relax and just walk, my movement feels so much freer. It’s as if I’ve been whole this entire time, and I just didn’t realize it.
Joanna Zaremba is a mom and wife, a nature lover, a writer, a photographer, and a movement and mindfulness teacher. She has lived in the Cheyenne Cañon neighborhood since 2012. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.