About AnnMerle

How She Became a Self-Care Vigilante And How You Can Too!

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“Your ability to share and be vulnerable was so authentic and comforting.”

–Shari Greenberg

“Your ability to share and be vulnerable was so authentic and comforting.”

 

–Shari Greenberg

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management.

 

I am 66 at this writing and I work with women who are 50 and wiser. Chances are you have built a career and, perhaps, raised kids. Most likely, you have given up on aerobics and vinyasa yoga, but not because you wanted to. You’re frustrated because this fabulously addictive exercise doesn’t seem to reduce stress and keep the weight off anymore. You’re carrying around too much pain. You’ve lost mobility and strength and you’re afraid of getting injured and then being sidelined with endless chiro and physical therapy session

I want to share what I’ve learned!

If this is your story, welcome to my life, because this was my story, too. You can read my story below, but first, I want to cut to the chase and tell you how I learned how to take care of myself and bring this knowledge to others, like you.

Your Third Act Will be Extraordinary!

I work with women who know that they are entering a new phase of life — a third act, if you will — and need a new sort of support. We want to get unstuck and have the energy to move forward, fully able to enact our visions for the rest of our lives. If you’ve broken a hip, had a hip replacement, suffered from rotator cuff problems, low back pain, headaches, tight hips, and pain that travels around your body, this is the practice for you.

I teach Yoga Tune Up® and the Roll Model,® which, together, allow you to erase pain, improve posture, grow stronger, improve mobility, and most important, feel more relaxed. The focus on breath and the ability to create calm and relaxation is invaluable. It has helped my not only with my body, but with my life-long constant struggle with my weight. And, most important, I can now give myself permission to follow my dreams and do what I intend for this precious moment in my life!

 

This work offers what yoga intended, but is designed especially for us — who we are now — in our contemporary, chair-focused, too-sedentary, culture. Even though these practices are used with elite sports teams and athletes, this innovative work is especially powerful for women 50 and wiser, because it provides that crucial course correction for exercise that stopped doing what it was supposed to.

The most fabulous part of this whole process is learning to use specially-designed massage balls to bring life and nourishment back to dehydrated connective tissue through myo-fascial release. This is very focused self-massage that can bring ignored and abused areas of your body back to life.

I am 66 at this writing and I work with women who are 50 and wiser. Chances are you have built a career and, perhaps, raised kids. Most likely, you have given up on aerobics and vinyasa yoga, but not because you wanted to. You’re frustrated because this fabulously addictive exercise doesn’t seem to reduce stress and keep the weight off anymore. You’re carrying around too much pain. You’ve lost mobility and strength and you’re afraid of getting injured and then being sidelined with endless chiro and physical therapy session

I want to share what I’ve learned!

If this is your story, welcome to my life, because this was my story, too. You can read my story below, but first, I want to cut to the chase and tell you how I learned how to take care of myself and bring this knowledge to others, like you.

Your Third Act Will be Extraordinary!

I work with women who know that they are entering a new phase of life — a third act, if you will — and need a new sort of support. We want to get unstuck and have the energy to move forward, fully able to enact our visions for the rest of our lives. If you’ve broken a hip, had a hip replacement, suffered from rotator cuff problems, low back pain, headaches, tight hips, and pain that travels around your body, this is the practice for you.

I teach Yoga Tune Up® and the Roll Model,® which, together, allow you to erase pain, improve posture, grow stronger, improve mobility, and most important, feel more relaxed. The focus on breath and the ability to create calm and relaxation is invaluable. It has helped my not only with my body, but with my life-long constant struggle with my weight. And, most important, I can now give myself permission to follow my dreams and do what I intend for this precious moment in my life!

 

This work offers what yoga intended, but is designed especially for us — who we are now — in our contemporary, chair-focused, too-sedentary, culture. Even though these practices are used with elite sports teams and athletes, this innovative work is especially powerful for women 50 and wiser, because it provides that crucial course correction for exercise that stopped doing what it was supposed to.

The most fabulous part of this whole process is learning to use specially-designed massage balls to bring life and nourishment back to dehydrated connective tissue through myo-fascial release. This is very focused self-massage that can bring ignored and abused areas of your body back to life.

Each of us wants to move ahead without restraints and limitations and, speaking personally, Yoga Tune Up® and the Roll Model,® has given me that freedom. If I stand too long, or sit too long — even though I know I shouldn’t — my Yoga Tune Up® and Roll Model,® tools are available to me at any moment to restore my “can do” sense that my goals and aspirations are readily within reach.

Being a “self-care vigilante” means to be aware, attentive, and sensitive to where we hold tension or pain in our body and how we can, ourselves, learn the tools to let those unwanted sensations go.

If you would like a taste of what I am talking about sign up for my free, 5-day challenge to mend your neck and shoulders. This is one of the “911” areas for our bodies and my gentle, but profound, approach will help you to see how 15 minutes a day for 5 days can, in the words of my students, shift you from “tight to much more relaxed.” And you’ll have a toolkit at your disposal to return to again and again.

At 50 I was Stuck in Pain

At 50, as a professional, single mom, I was a stressed-out, sleep-deprived, achievement junky, suffering from constant pain and headaches. I could barely get from day to day without popping ibuprofen for pain and eating to numb my emotions.

My job, as an English professor and administrator at the University of Illinois, Chicago was exciting and challenging. I gave it my all. For many reasons, I wanted badly to succeed. I certainly needed to support my two lovely children. And, my work at the university — designing writing programs for first year students and helping them to see how writing could change the world — was fascinating and rewarding. Here’s a photo of me from those days. When I look at it now, I see stress lines across my forehead and a clenched jaw. I’ll bet I was nurturing one of my unstoppable tension headaches, while attempting to look calm and in control!

Can You See the Tension in My Face? Looking Back, I Can Feel it!

I Tried Everything

I tried to stay healthy by going to the gym before work and then I bought a cross-country ski machine for my bedroom, so I wouldn’t have to go anywhere to workout. I walked and ran outside when the weather was good and when it wasn’t I used my indoor machines.

But I was still in pain. Yes, I was in pain all the time. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the stress was killing me. And, as I got older, I realized that the exercise was just not doing the job.

My low back hurt from too much sitting and my shoulders never relaxed. I got massages, which felt amazing at the moment and at least until the next morning. But then the pain returned. When I couldn’t stand the back pain anymore, I went to physical therapy, but it really didn’t help. The therapist, at a very prestigious center in Chicago, told me he would help me manage the pain and put me through a series of exercises which seemed to work while I was going to his sessions, but which became unsustainable after my insurance ran out.

And, I didn’t want to just “manage” my pain. I don’t even know what that means and his assumption that I would be living with pain still makes me angry.

I knew things had to change. My kids were getting older and I could see beyond high school and the freedom I would have once high school became college. I was now married for the second time and wanted to enjoy this new relationship.

AnnMerle FeldmanEach of us wants to move ahead without restraints and limitations and, speaking personally, Yoga Tune Up® and the Roll Model,® has given me that freedom. If I stand too long, or sit too long — even though I know I shouldn’t — my Yoga Tune Up® and Roll Model,® tools are available to me at any moment to restore my “can do” sense that my goals and aspirations are readily within reach.

Being a “self-care vigilante” means to be aware, attentive, and sensitive to where we hold tension or pain in our body and how we can, ourselves, learn the tools to let those unwanted sensations go.

If you would like a taste of what I am talking about sign up for my free, 5-day challenge to mend your neck and shoulders. This is one of the “911” areas for our bodies and my gentle, but profound, approach will help you to see how 15 minutes a day for 5 days can, in the words of my students, shift you from “tight to much more relaxed.” And you’ll have a toolkit at your disposal to return to again and again.

At 50 I was Stuck in Pain

At 50, as a professional, single mom, I was a stressed-out, sleep-deprived, achievement junky, suffering from constant pain and headaches. I could barely get from day to day without popping ibuprofen for pain and eating to numb my emotions.

My job, as an English professor and administrator at the University of Illinois, Chicago was exciting and challenging. I gave it my all. For many reasons, I wanted badly to succeed. I certainly needed to support my two lovely children. And, my work at the university — designing writing programs for first year students and helping them to see how writing could change the world — was fascinating and rewarding. Here’s a photo of me from those days. When I look at it now, I see stress lines across my forehead and a clenched jaw. I’ll bet I was nurturing one of my unstoppable tension headaches, while attempting to look calm and in control!

Can You See the Tension in My Face? Looking Back, I Can Feel it!

I Tried Everything

I tried to stay healthy by going to the gym before work and then I bought a cross-country ski machine for my bedroom, so I wouldn’t have to go anywhere to workout. I walked and ran outside when the weather was good and when it wasn’t I used my indoor machines.

But I was still in pain. Yes, I was in pain all the time. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the stress was killing me. And, as I got older, I realized that the exercise was just not doing the job.

My low back hurt from too much sitting and my shoulders never relaxed. I got massages, which felt amazing at the moment and at least until the next morning. But then the pain returned. When I couldn’t stand the back pain anymore, I went to physical therapy, but it really didn’t help. The therapist, at a very prestigious center in Chicago, told me he would help me manage the pain and put me through a series of exercises which seemed to work while I was going to his sessions, but which became unsustainable after my insurance ran out.

And, I didn’t want to just “manage” my pain. I don’t even know what that means and his assumption that I would be living with pain still makes me angry.

I knew things had to change. My kids were getting older and I could see beyond high school and the freedom I would have once high school became college. I was now married for the second time and wanted to enjoy this new relationship.

Annmerle Feldman

Enter Mind-Body Awareness

Life suddenly got better when I found yoga. The poses, coordinated with my breath, seemed to drain the tension out of my body like a spigot that, once opened, never stopped. I loved this new awareness and began to attend weekend-long workshops and then, I surprised myself, by signing up for shorter, and then longer, teacher trainings.

I now could see a path forward in which I would continue to train as a teacher. I had gone to a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. We were deep in the jungle — this was not a luxury retreat, to my dismay. There were adorable sloths hanging from vines in front of my room’s balcony. As we practiced yoga on a second floor, open-air studio, my teacher, Steve, would say, “Step your right foot forward into lunge,” and the monkeys responded, shrieking loudly, adding their own attitude-filled comment on our practice.

But later that day, laying on the incredible, black-sand beach, hearing the waves lap at the shore and tickle our feet, my friend Rachel turned to me and said, “You know, you could retire from the university and teach yoga.”

I looked at her as fireworks erupted in my brain.

“Really,” I said, “Do you think so?”

And a new plan had been hatched and could not, even if I wanted to, be stuffed back into a place of not knowing.

Now I teach in ways that heal my body, making me stronger and more resilient.

I started teaching the yoga I had been taught. Much of it was amazing and fun. Even at 55, I could get into poses that I never dreamed of. Many of my students were quite a bit younger than me. I had the feeling that they looked at me as a quirky mother figure, which I kind of liked.

Even though, yoga was clearly good for me — my stress level diminished, my headaches were fewer, and my flexibility improved — my body continued to deteriorate. I was shocked to find, years after starting yoga, that I had developed a frozen shoulder. Yoga could not undo all years of immobility, typing, and holding a landline phone with my shoulder. One morning I woke up with nerve pain traveling my arm and tears in my eyes. And, my back pain continued to recur.

Soon, I realized that I was struggling to teach poses that I could no longer do and that these poses, I reluctantly guessed, were not very good for my body.

At about the same time, I learned about Jill Miller and her self-massage balls. I bought the book, The Roll Model, and a pair of balls and I began to play with them. Sometimes I followed the self-massage sequences in Miller’s book, but other times I just rolled around on the balls to see what would happen. I was dumbfounded by the range of feelings and emotions that rose to awareness. Sometimes it was outright pain, but sometimes is was a soft, encouraging, “hurts so good” feeling. I knew I was onto something and wanted to learn more.

 

Enter Mind-Body Awareness

Life suddenly got better when I found yoga. The poses, coordinated with my breath, seemed to drain the tension out of my body like a spigot that, once opened, never stopped. I loved this new awareness and began to attend weekend-long workshops and then, I surprised myself, by signing up for shorter, and then longer, teacher trainings.

I now could see a path forward in which I would continue to train as a teacher. I had gone to a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. We were deep in the jungle — this was not a luxury retreat, to my dismay. There were adorable sloths hanging from vines in front of my room’s balcony. As we practiced yoga on a second floor, open-air studio, my teacher, Steve, would say, “Step your right foot forward into lunge,” and the monkeys responded, shrieking loudly, adding their own attitude-filled comment on our practice.

But later that day, laying on the incredible, black-sand beach, hearing the waves lap at the shore and tickle our feet, my friend Rachel turned to me and said, “You know, you could retire from the university and teach yoga.”

I looked at her as fireworks erupted in my brain.

“Really,” I said, “Do you think so?”

And a new plan had been hatched and could not, even if I wanted to, be stuffed back into a place of not knowing.

Now I teach in ways that heal my body, making me stronger and more resilient.

I started teaching the yoga I had been taught. Much of it was amazing and fun. Even at 55, I could get into poses that I never dreamed of. Many of my students were quite a bit younger than me. I had the feeling that they looked at me as a quirky mother figure, which I kind of liked.

Even though, yoga was clearly good for me — my stress level diminished, my headaches were fewer, and my flexibility improved — my body continued to deteriorate. I was shocked to find, years after starting yoga, that I had developed a frozen shoulder. Yoga could not undo all years of immobility, typing, and holding a landline phone with my shoulder. One morning I woke up with nerve pain traveling my arm and tears in my eyes. And, my back pain continued to recur.

Soon, I realized that I was struggling to teach poses that I could no longer do and that these poses, I reluctantly guessed, were not very good for my body.

At about the same time, I learned about Jill Miller and her self-massage balls. I bought the book, The Roll Model, and a pair of balls and I began to play with them. Sometimes I followed the self-massage sequences in Miller’s book, but other times I just rolled around on the balls to see what would happen. I was dumbfounded by the range of feelings and emotions that rose to awareness. Sometimes it was outright pain, but sometimes is was a soft, encouraging, “hurts so good” feeling. I knew I was onto something and wanted to learn more.

 

I signed up for a week-long Yoga Tune Up® training at Kripalu, in western Massachusetts, with Jill Miller and six, or so, extraordinary assistants. Jill Miller’s new way of understanding the body, healing, and mental awareness was completely new and very intoxicating. I was exhausted each day and drunk on all this new knowledge, but more than that, I was dumbfounded that just a few of Jill Miller’s new movements could banish my back pain and unravel the tightness in my shoulders. This went way beyond yoga into a totally new healing territory.

I continued to take trainings from many of the amazing Yoga Tune Up tribe. Among my instructors and colleagues, I found former yogis, crossfit coaches, athletes, dancers, and trainers. We all were intent on healing our bodies and creating a mindset that invited a restorative sense of wonder. I went to Cathy Favelle’s CoreQuest Yoga in Wautoma, Wisconsin to finish my Roll Model® training with Lauri Streff. And I went to LA to take Jill Miller’s Breathe And Bliss Workshop. Then, I returned to Kripalu to do a Core Immersion, more Roll Model® trainings, and to New Haven, Connecticut for a hips immersion. I believe I have only two more trainings to complete the entire sequence.

I learned about what was missing from yoga and what, of value, could be brought back from weight training, meditation, and breathwork to create a complete package of healing work.

But beyond all of my trainings, my heart is behind all that I do. I’ve worked with women with spinal issues, with back pain, with frozen shoulders, with broken, even shattered, hips and with other chronic pain issues. We all, in this culture are taught to think about our bodies as composed of discrete parts that can, individually, be fixed. But moving better and living better in our bodies means that we have to take into account how we treat ourselves 24/7, not just in our hour of yoga or therapy or exercise. We must think of our bodies as homes for our divine souls. As such, healing involves taking care of ourselves as an integrated whole.

When I teach courses online, give workshops, or work privately with clients, I want to share these healing tools so that we, extraordinary women in our third acts, can fulfill our missions with pain-free bodies, heart-centered energy, and a vision for what is coming next and what might be!

 

AnnMerle Feldman is certified by 

Ana Forrest in Forrest Yoga,

By Steve Emmerman and Talya Ring in Turbodog Yoga, and

By Jill Miller in Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method

AnnMerle Feldman, Ph.D. is also

Professor Emerita in English,

At the University of Illinois at Chicago

I signed up for a week-long Yoga Tune Up® training at Kripalu, in western Massachusetts, with Jill Miller and six, or so, extraordinary assistants. Jill Miller’s new way of understanding the body, healing, and mental awareness was completely new and very intoxicating. I was exhausted each day and drunk on all this new knowledge, but more than that, I was dumbfounded that just a few of Jill Miller’s new movements could banish my back pain and unravel the tightness in my shoulders. This went way beyond yoga into a totally new healing territory.

I continued to take trainings from many of the amazing Yoga Tune Up tribe. Among my instructors and colleagues, I found former yogis, crossfit coaches, athletes, dancers, and trainers. We all were intent on healing our bodies and creating a mindset that invited a restorative sense of wonder. I went to Cathy Favelle’s CoreQuest Yoga in Wautoma, Wisconsin to finish my Roll Model® training with Lauri Streff. And I went to LA to take Jill Miller’s Breathe And Bliss Workshop. Then, I returned to Kripalu to do a Core Immersion, more Roll Model® trainings, and to New Haven, Connecticut for a hips immersion. I believe I have only two more trainings to complete the entire sequence.

I learned about what was missing from yoga and what, of value, could be brought back from weight training, meditation, and breathwork to create a complete package of healing work.

But beyond all of my trainings, my heart is behind all that I do. I’ve worked with women with spinal issues, with back pain, with frozen shoulders, with broken, even shattered, hips and with other chronic pain issues. We all, in this culture are taught to think about our bodies as composed of discrete parts that can, individually, be fixed. But moving better and living better in our bodies means that we have to take into account how we treat ourselves 24/7, not just in our hour of yoga or therapy or exercise. We must think of our bodies as homes for our divine souls. As such, healing involves taking care of ourselves as an integrated whole.

When I teach courses online, give workshops, or work privately with clients, I want to share these healing tools so that we, extraordinary women in our third acts, can fulfill our missions with pain-free bodies, heart-centered energy, and a vision for what is coming next and what might be!

 

AnnMerle Feldman is certified by 

Ana Forrest in Forrest Yoga,

By Steve Emmerman and Talya Ring in Turbodog Yoga, and

By Jill Miller in Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method

AnnMerle Feldman, Ph.D. is also

Professor Emerita in English,

At the University of Illinois at Chicago

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