1. How would you define your personal practice?
Several years ago I was doing research on hypermobility and realized that I myself am on the hypermobility spectrum. This condition is complex presenting with not only laxity in the joints, but a whole host of other systemic symptoms. With these symptoms coupled with aging I have modified my movement practice to keep the injuries, fatigue, and other symptoms at bay. In order to keep my mobile bones not “feeling” like they are tectonically shifting I do at least 2 days of some sort of pushing, and pulling of heavy things around to cinch my body together. My aerobic activity may just be two 15 minute walks to pick up my kids. I still love the high of running so I get some quick jaunts in when I can. If I’m lucky I get to run or hike out in the wilderness which is hugely revitalizing to my system.
The mantras of “every damn day” or “go big or go home” that is screamed from the mountain top in the fitness industry these days doesn’t quite resonate anymore. I do what feels good, and will benefit me on any certain day. Some days I may feel great and go hard lifting weights, on other days it might mean I’m laid out on the couch. It’s all a journey.
2. What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey?
Early on like many athletes it was injury that forced me to modify my movements and routine. Dealing with injury taught me the important lesson of finding alternatives, and modifications for everything. Managing my frequent injuries has also kept me continually learning and investigating the body which I find a constant marvel.
Another turning point was going through pregnancy. For someone who was active nearly all the time. Pregnancy stopped me in my tracks. It was an enlightening and humbling experience to accept that a walk around the block might be the activity of the day.
Yet another change is simply the march of time through my body. Luckily it has gone through my mind as well donning it with a bit of wisdom and patience. So my practice is more about letting go of expectation, and accepting the present situation. I try to view aging and/or injury as an opportunity to learn, and try to use them as a jumping off point to explore different movement avenues. Of course this zen approach is not always accessible and sometimes my inner pissed off 12 year old just wants my body to do what I bloody well tell it do. It’s a process.
3. What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche?
Injury was my initiation into my whole career. As I mentioned I was plagued by it so much as a young athlete I wanted to understand everything about it. In order to do that I took the ATC track in college making injury my main focus. I became very good at relating and empathizing with those who were injured or post injury. Right now I use this knowledge to help those with hypermobility who also happen to experience frequent bouts of injury.
4. Do you consider yourself a teacher? Why or why not?
If a teacher is someone who likes to pass on information, dispel myth, and guide people, then yes I would consider myself a teacher. I love making the complexities of the body accessible and comprehensible. Hopefully this information will help them to get the most out of their body.
5. What was your experience with PE, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere?
I probably am one of the few that enjoyed PE because I excelled at it in elementary. In high school I played three sports so I was not required to take PE.
6. How do you involve your mind/emotions into your physical routines?
This I believe also has been an evolution with age. In my youth I think I used my angst or anger as a propellant to increase my performance and relieve a lot of the angst. With age my emotions are a bit more even keeled and I use exercise to maintain the calm and work through any day to day meanderings of my mind.
7. What are your personal aspiration regarding movement? How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built?
I still hold on to some of the goals of my youth of running a certain speed, or getting back the ability to do silly tricks like flips, press handstands, and handsprings. As I witness more folks my age or older do these tasks, I hold out hope for attaining these goals. I also want to help guide others keep their movement goals while chronologically advancing. As I reach towards my goals I try to also maintain the goal of trying to stay as zen as possible and enjoy the strength gains and lessons learned along the path.
8. How can people find/ contact you? Do you have a site or social media handle to share?
FB: Catherine Cowey