I am still doing headstands and feeling stronger each day in this year of strength.
Thinking recently about how I got from “I’ll never be able to do a headstand again” to doing them often reminded me that I had an inspiration in this leap, and that I should take a moment to thank her. She has no idea that her words helped me.
Ginny Hamilton of Amherst, Massachusetts, is a pain specialist who uses yoga and reiki as treatment modalities. She helps people all the time. By some twist of fate, I met her when I needed her most.
Diagnosed with scoliosis at 9 years old, Ginny suffered chronic issues with neck and jaw pain for most of her life—until she met in a private session with Lee Albert, a neuromuscular therapist at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires. Inspired, Ginny completed 300 hours of study with Lee, and in October, she was certified as an Integrated Positional Therapy Professional in the Albert Protocol for Muscle Pain Relief.
Ginny and I worked together a few years ago for a Voices of the Valley piece in the Republican newspaper, so Ginny knew that news is my thing. She reached out to ask if I could write a press release for her on her certification, and I said sure.
I was happy to help Ginny but had no idea she would also help me.
The day I interviewed Ginny, my plantar fasciitis was raging, and my feet hurt at rest, kind of throbbing. My entire body was stiff and sore, and I was fairly depressed. Of course, I didn’t speak about this, but as she talked about her work, about helping people who are in pain, I listened as a PR specialist, but also on a more personal level.
Ginny works with people in group classes and one-on-one, she told me. Her work is based on the philosophy that most chronic pain is caused by muscle imbalances in the body—from sitting, driving, typing, texting, and other repetitive motions.
“Muscles work in pairs,” she explained. “We often tend to have one stronger than the other because of how we use our bodies every day. These imbalances can create muscle pain. It’s about knowing what to strengthen, what to stretch, and specific body positions to slacken and release muscle tension.”
A tiny little a-ha was creeping into my consciousness as I listened to Ginny. I was thinking about how I have been running 12 miles a day for 25 years, but I never, ever take the time to stretch, to work my core, to strengthen the muscles I used as a dancer.
I cut my running workouts to six miles each week, and, two days a week, I began my own yoga practice in my home gym, incorporating some dance stretches and moves into the workout to keep it fun and interesting but also to further enhance my flexibility.
I began to realize that it took me 25 years to feel stiff and sore. It could take me a good long time to bring my body back into balance. I called on my patience, which is sometimes in short supply.
As you know, I can now stand on my head. I am not stiff and sore. I feel flexible and perky. Feeling strong of body makes you also feel strong of mind.
Thank you, Ginny, for the work you do and for knowing how to help people in pain, and for helping me without even knowing it.
Ginny can help you too. She has guided many people back into good health. I know this because I interviewed three of her clients for the press release I wrote about her. They raved about their magical transformations.
Cut yourself some slack in whatever area of life is making you feel old, tired, sore. Think about what might bring you back into balance.