Everything started with the body for me – I was a 3-sport Varsity athlete at The Kinkaid School in Houston, TX, a 2-time All-American and All-ACC field hockey player at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and played two years as a member of the United States Field Hockey Team. While at UNC, I was named NCAA Woman of the Year for UNC, attended the Division One Final Four all four years, winning one Division One National Championship. Throughout this decade or more, striving, pushing, accomplishing goals, and overcoming obstacles defined me. Abruptly, a career changing injury came along my path and opened my eyes to other perspectives and new ways of being in the world.
I went back to school and studied Exercise & Sport Science at UNC-CH, became an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, a NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, and a NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. I created a personal training business where I offered functional physical training to high school athletes with a desire to be recruited collegiately. Although I enjoyed this stage in my life and valued working with so many youth athletes, my curiosity grew as I witnessed the inter-relationship between the body, mind and emotions in my athletes, calling me to further my studies.
I sought out coaching and guidance from former high level athlete/coach, Chip Richards and later became a Holistic Life Coach through his program. He was my first guide into the unknown…the terrain ‘beyond’ the physical. He showed me how the Body + Mind + Emotions affect one another, and the several years I studied with him dissolved many barriers within me.
But the trail twisted and turned a new direction, one that required me to go even deeper within onto the path of motherhood. As my focus shifted away from coaching others, and more onto my new daughter (Lily) and myself, I began to relax and open up to other possibilities as I learned about patience and compassion. This stage was excruciating for me. Although I valued the experience of being a mother, I felt like I was losing my old identity. I fought and resisted slowing down….but life kept giving me cues and quite honestly, dragging me along this new path. Moving from physical intensity to fluidity and ease on a totally new level, I slowly began to redefine myself…this time, from within the very depths of me.
During my own metamorphosis, I realized that what used to work was no longer working, and new skills were necessary: mindfulness practice, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, Rolfing or structural integration, fluid movement, and qi gong began to support my new identity as a balanced, healthy woman. In this process, I literally re-created my focus and future client base.
Seeking a setting to practice balance in my personal and professional life, I joined Elizabeth Towe and Brian Beatty at Balanced Physical Therapy & Movement Studio for seven years where I valued the healing environment and shared belief that each person has the power to heal themselves. I had the opportunity to work with clients with MS, Parkinson’s disease, Asperger syndrome, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, those with chronic injuries, and naturally, athletes transitioning away from high intensity competition.
I continued to grow my experiences by diving heart first into yoga with Lisa Clark of EmbodiYoga in Chapel Hill, NC earning my 200 Hour certification. Years later after moving to Houston, I studied with Robert Boustany at Pralaya Yoga and completed my 500 Hour certification in 2014, making me an E-RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher) through Yoga Alliance.
While still in NC, I studied with several mindfulness meditation practitioners on a regular basis, Kay Goldstein and Mary Love May. These teachers were mentors in my formal and informal mindfulness practices, and served as gentle yet powerful female role models. I began to learn how to be ‘strong’ without being hard. Their compassion and empathy started to melt away my tough exterior and reveal my true strengths. Slowly but surely, I was letting go of who I thought I had to be, and bringing to the surface who I truly was/am.
These newfound strengths were further cultivated in a year-long Duke Integrative Health Coach training program which grounded everything I had already learned into a larger framework of what true health means: Health is not merely the absence of disease, but a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being — World Health Organization. The structure and vast medical knowledge supporting the IHC program gave me even more confidence in the power of mindfulness and health coaching.
Always the student, my curiosity was sparked as we embarked on this new adventure out west in Tucson, AZ. It was stressful moving to a completely new place during mid-life, getting used to a different way of being, while also experiencing the process of aging, shifting hormones and inevitable change. All of this combined inspired me to complete two new movement specializations: Senior Fitness Specialist, 2016 and Pain-Free Movement Specialist, 2018. Each has given me new insight into how to approach movement as we age and have the inevitable bumps and bruises along the way. It’s important to continue to challenge ourselves, to push up against the edges, but to also value recovery, rest and discernment. My own practices have shifted yet again to accommodate my own experiences. Creativity, patience, acceptance and appreciation have all been called up in recent years:).
When I’m not working with clients, I enjoy being outside in nature hiking and seeking out quiet places where I can enjoy the silence, mountain biking, road cycling, walking our dog, reading about 20 books at once (never really finishing any of them), being in the garden, and hanging out with my husband, Jim and our 17 y/o daughter, Lily.
Learn more about the kinds of clients Amy works with HERE.