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About Catherine Tardif
Catherine Tardif has been teaching Yoga for fourteen years. Catherine’s practice began in 1999 when the pressures of working in a corporate job led her to Yoga for stress reduction. A year later Catherine became chronically ill with Fibromyalgia, Vertiginous Migraines and Chronic Fatigue. After many Doctor’s and little relief Catherine found solace in her practice. Yoga helped her heal enough to start to get her life back. Understanding the remarkable transformation was mostly due to Yoga, she realized her dream of sharing the gift with others.
Catherine’s intention is to teach classes the way she would want them. Always striving to provide a personalized experience. She believes everyone should emerge from class feeling nurtured, rejuvenated and challenged.
Catherine enrolled in a Yoga Teacher training in July of 2003 with The Yoga Institute of Houston. Her teachers Lex Gillan, the Swami and Stan Haffner, the Yogi, provided the perfect foundation for her to achieve her goal. Lex studied with Chogyan Trungpa Rinpoche, Ram Dass and Stephen Levine. Stan one of the first students invited to India by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois to learn the Ashtanga Vinyasa Method. Later on Stan became registered in Vini Yoga as taught by the late Desikachar, the son of Krishnamacharya.
In 2006 Janice Clarified certified Catherine in Prenatal Yoga. Janice is world-renowned and sits on the board of Prenatal Yoga Advisory Committee for Yoga Alliance. Many other teachers have influenced Catherine’s teaching including Shiva Rea, founder of Prana Flow Method and Micheline Berry, founder of Liquid Asana. Catherine also worked at Namaste Yoga Studio in Tampa. Adrienne Reed, the owner, created the series Power Yoga Mind and Body on PBS. Adrienne’s teaching has inspired Catherine’s teaching as well.
Catherine is also a Reiki II Practitioner, certified through The Amrit Yoga Institute. Additionally, she is certified level II Thai Yoga Massage from The Florida School of Massage.
Catherine has been teaching yoga for sixteen years
Suncoast YMCA in Crystal River
Belavita classes on hold due to covid.
Relieving Fibromyalgia Pain with Yoga – By Catherine Tardif, RYT, CPT
As sufferers of the condition well know, there is no definitive test to diagnose Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). A disorder marked by debilitating pain and exhaustion, its cause is still largely mysterious. Naturally, if you have Fibromyalgia, you want to know why. Unfortunately, the list of what is known and generally accepted about FMS is small and rapidly changing.
At this time it’s classified as a neuroendocrine condition. This means that FMS seems to affect the way the body communicates pain to the brain and the systems that govern this communication and additional communication that occurs with in your body. And a study published in the Journal of Medical Virology in December 2003 found that a chronic viral infection appeared in the muscles of some FMS patients. Even so, some physicians still believe that FMS doesn’t exist; instead they attribute symptoms such as severe pain, muscle tenderness, fatigue, and sleep troubles to a psychiatric problem. This misconception does little to help sufferers and can leave them feeling demoralized and discouraged.
Fortunately, yoga can provide two invaluable things to people with Fibromyalgia: relief from symptoms and hope. Though it isn’t a cure, yoga can offer better quality of life. A study in 1999 led by Patrick Randolph Ph.D., at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center, found that a program of gentle yoga stretches and mindfulness meditation helped reduce pain and improved patients’ ability to deal with it. From my own experience as a Fibromyalgia sufferer and Yoga Teacher here’s what I suggest for a yogic approach to managing FMS.
The Gentle Approach Regarding a Yoga Practice is Best
I recommend regular practice of at least 10 min. of meditation, breathing and stretching. The beauty of this exercise form is that it is not necessary to be able to do all the postures. You can choose to work within your own limitations. I commonly remind my students “You’re never the same person twice. Adapt your yoga routine accordingly.”
Symptoms Vary from Day to Day
On a good day it can be tempting to practice vigorously. While physical activity can be very helpful, it’s important to begin slowly and progress gradually to avoid a flare-up of symptoms. On days when you are particularly tired, stick with restorative poses, such as legs up the wall and forward bends with a bolster. On good days practice backbends such as, Cobra or Upward Facing Dog to create more opening to breath and energy. Be sure to have some kind of inversion such as, Downward Facing Dog or Bridge. Inversions help relieve stress and doubles as an energy booster as well as a way to settle down. Always conclude with Corpse. Corpse pose is a conscious relaxation done lying down. It relieves insomnia and over all levels of fatigue. Also it helps to rebalance hormones.
Learn When to Work Through Pain
Much of the pain caused by Fibromyalgia seems to be due to inappropriate amplified nerve cells, so even though a posture might feel slightly painful, you’re probably not damaging your muscles or connective tissue. It’s important however, to differentiate between the dull discomfort that comes from stretching tight muscles, which is safe to work with, and the sharper pain that comes from compressing a joint or straining a ligament.
Reversing Energy Expenditure
Typically, people with Fibromyalgia are go-getters, with high energy levels, who give selflessly of their time and energy to others, more frequently than not putting others’ needs before their own. From an energetic expenditure perspective, the energy people with FMS expend dramatically exceeds the energy returned, leaving their energetic body depleted over time until the physical body finally follows.
Many behavioral shifts must take place to reverse the flow of energy so balance is achieved. Because sufferers so not reverse this energy expenditure on their own the body forces them to take care of themselves. The illness’ debilitating symptoms alone compel such care. But permanent behavior shifts need to occurs as well.
The more debilitating the illness, the more sufferers need to help themselves by taking more time for themselves first before service to others’ needs. This is the first step toward healing – a major and most difficult step. This is where yoga comes in. If you are new to yoga you may want to enroll in a beginner’s class or even private classes. Those of you already taking time out of your schedule to incorporate a yoga class or two see the benefits of treating your body to some revitalizing stretching and strengthening. This time for yourself in a healing and healthy way is a vital step toward reversing energy expenditure.
Try a Diverse Approach
In addition to postures, try breathing and guided imagery. Regular meditation can teach you to modulate pain and quiet internal chatter that can heap mental suffering on top of physical discomfort. As a sufferer of FMS I find western medicine, chiropractic, massage, and other forms of body work to be very helpful. (Choose a practitioner who has experience treating people with FMS).
Find a Community
The love and support of a community can be exceptionally therapeutic. Contact Fibromyalgia Coalition International at www.fibrocoalition.org/
Catherine Tardif has been teaching yoga for five years. She understands the transformative power of yoga through her own experience. It comes from her deep appreciation for the practice that helped her heal from years of pain. Catherine also teaches pilates, breathing and various styles of meditation.
“I had been working as an account executive when I started to develop health problems,” she explained. “Six years later I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.” Even before she was diagnosed, Catherine set a goal to get better. “On good days I would roll out my mat and do a few minutes of postures, pranayama (breathing), and meditation.”
Catherine credits yoga with helping her reclaim her health and energy. A native of Vermont, Catherine moved to Tampa, Florida in spring of 2005.
1. Stacie L. Bigelow, M.A., Fibromyalgia: Simple Relief through Movement (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2000) firstname.lastname@example.org
2.JJ Gormley, Yoga and your Health: Dealing with Fibromyalgia. www.healthandyoga.com
3. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Pub. Group, 2001); www.endfatigue.com
Reproduced with permission from the July/August/September issue of Fibromyalgia Coalition International’s Fibromyalgia Alternative News magazine (www.fibrocoalition.org).