I have been living with migraine since 2007.
When I was in my most challenging period of chronic migraine, I was doing too dang much.
I was a full-time middle school Spanish teacher, mother of two little ones and bellydance company director and performer.
I was dependent on near-daily meds to survive the daily grind of work, parenting, and pain.
I was a total wreck.
I had no energy left to enjoy my life.
My spoons were completely full.
I couldn’t make plans, let alone think about my future.
I tried OTC meds, prescription abortives, prescription preventives, birth control, electro-magnetic devices, injections, mouth guards, supplements, diets, counseling, chiropractic, massage (I’ll take that over Botox injections any day!), the list goes on…
I counted once — I have tried over two dozen holistic and pharmaceutical treatments to manage my migraine symptoms.
I spent over twelve thousand dollars on doctors, counselors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors and prescriptions trying to figure out how to relieve my migraine pain — and each medical expert believed they had the missing piece to solve my migraine puzzle.
I learned how to regulate my nervous system with my own special blend of migraine-informed yoga practices and to shift the way I was responding to migraine with Pain Reprocessing Therapy.
And this self-empowering approach made a world of difference for my migraine and mental health.
The depression that accompanied my chronic migraine was often more debilitating than the migraine itself. Depression was not entirely new to me. I had gone through bouts of depression since I was a kid.
When I discovered yoga and mindfulness as a teenager, it offered me a refuge from my difficult family dynamics and a way to move through depression when it hit. I loved the vigorous vinyasa-style ‘hot yoga’ for the emotional and physical release, but when I developed migraine in my mid-twenties, the heat and intense physical activity became a definite migraine trigger.
I thought migraine meant I couldn't practice yoga anymore.
Stubbornly, I kept searching for yoga classes that would ease my migraine symptoms and not trigger them.
I would get my hopes up about a “gentle” yoga class, only to realize that it was in a heated yoga studio and the practice was not nearly gentle enough.
BAM! Migraine attack the next day.
It was deeply discouraging and depressing that I wasn’t able to do the activities that once brought me great joy and peace.
In fact, yoga would end up being my most healing practice to help me recover from chronic migraine and depression.
I saw that there was a need for a specialized yoga practice that was both safe and healing for people living with migraine.
Yoga helped me see that more was possible for me beyond the daily grind of work, mothering and being in pain from migraine — and in practicing migraine-friendly yoga, I realized that it was not only refueling my precious energy reserves (without triggering migraine attacks!), yoga was actually making those migraine attacks less frequent, and less debilitating.
Yoga - even Yoga for Migraine - doesn’t cure migraine. I still have a handful of migraine attacks each month. But I wanted to continue on the path of being less reliant on doctors and prescriptions, so I kept searching for different ways to live better with migraine.
After devouring Alan Gordon’s book The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain, I immediately signed up to get certified in Pain Reprocessing Therapy with the author himself. (If you’ve dabbled with the Curable app, then you’re probably familiar with PRT.)
By understanding how the brain learns chronic pain, I felt so empowered to “unlearn” my chronic pain and change how I respond to my migraine symptoms. PRT is not only incredibly compatible with yoga, but it has been a game changer in terms of learning how to harness pain psychology to decrease my own pain.
Self-care practices like Yoga for Migraine and Pain Reprocessing Therapy gave me the tools to decrease my own migraine suffering, without having to rely solely on doctors or even alternative practitioners to “fix” me.
With a little practice, guidance and an open mind, you too can learn these self-care practices in order to dramatically reduce your migraine days and boost your enjoyment of life.
1) Assess your current migraine challenges with empathy and understanding…
2) Identify which aspects of your lifestyle to adjust first to get the biggest reduction in migraine symptoms…
3) Determine which baby steps to take to decrease your migraine symptoms in a sustainable way…
One of the first activities we do when new clients introduce themselves is to first share who they are without migraine.
🏖️ I’m half Brazilian and half Jewish, born and raised in the Hollywood Hills. Which means I am Brazilian enough to sing along with classic Bossa Nova tunes, but not speak Portuguese fluently and Jewish enough to throw some Yiddish around when I’m schmoozing, but not know a lick of Hebrew.
🏔️ These days, I’m a blue girl in the red state of Idaho, where I live on the land of the Shoshone-Bannock people, known today as Boise.
💃🏽 I was a professional bellydancer for twenty years, performing every weekend at hookah-filled restaurants and parties and directing an award-winning dance company.
🏫 My favorite grade and subject to teach during my ten year career as a public school teacher was middle school Spanish, making up hilarious skits and singing songs en español.
👨👩👧👦 I’m a wife to my college sweetheart Nathan (violin teacher extraordinaire) and mom to Emile (age 10, aspiring Youtuber) and Leona (age 5, aspiring unicorn farmer- at least that’s what she said yesterday).
🐶 Totoro is our beloved pandemic puppy goldendoodle and our very first family dog ever.
🛼 I’ve been kicking it old school lately with my new hobbies of classic-style cross country skiing and roller skating at the local roller rink.
🍵 Wanna go out for a drink? I’d love a matcha or chai latte (of course, what else would a yoga teacher drink?). Or I’ll take a caipirinha or margarita if we’re talking drink drink.