Cathy Madeo is an E-RYT 500-Hour RYT, YACEP certified yoga instructor, social media influencer, entrepreneur, and mom of 2. She has devoted her life to the study, practice, and teaching of yoga.
Women Fitness President Ms. Namita Nayyar catches up with Cathy Madeo, an E-RYT 500-Hour RYT, YACEP certified yoga instructor as she talks about her diet and her success story.
You began practicing in 1994 & teaching yoga in 2004. Often referred to as a teacher’s teacher who has dedicated her life to the evolution of yoga practice. Share your journey with yoga. Series of events that lead to the same.
In college, we were required to take a private group yoga class with an Iyengar yoga teacher twice a week for a year. I felt like I had found a home in the strange yoga positions and spiritual teachings. I then moved to Los Angeles, the mecca of yoga in the 1990s, and was influenced by my teachers at the time and the dedicated yoga students in LA. I got my certification in 2004 and began teaching in LA, then San Francisco. I moved to the east coast to return to school thinking I would start a “real” profession and stop teaching yoga. I was miserable. After reflecting deeply on what made me happy, I realized I was most content when being of service to others. So I left my corporate job to teach again.
When I came back to teaching yoga, social media was here and vinyasa style ran supreme in yoga studios. I began to think critically about everything I thought I knew about yoga. It was during this time of chiseling away what I thought I knew of the yoga practice, that I became my own teacher. I began teaching everything I uncovered in local yoga studios and eventually opened my own studio for a few years. Both my teaching and yoga career expanded from that point on in the online space and my life has never been the same, as my reach now spans the globe. I believe curiosity and the willingness to evolve is what has shaped my yoga journey and kept me on the lifelong path of yoga.
You suffer with chronic back pain due to spinal stenosis, a condition of the spine, you have been able to heal yourself. How did you go about gaining control over the pain & suffering?
Spinal stenosis is a genetic spine condition, it’s a narrowing of the spinal canal that tends to cause herniated disks and is degenerative. After over a decade of living with chronic back pain, I ended up needing emergency spine surgery in 2018 due to one of my disks rupturing and another one causing permanent nerve damage. I made a commitment right before surgery that no matter what happened to my physical body, I would continue to practice yoga.
While I recovered from my spine surgery, barely able to walk, I meditated, practiced pranayama, balanced my chakras, and I moved every day even if it was just my joints while in bed. Even after surgery, I was still in a lot of pain. Seeing doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist, I realized it was time to put my own knowledge to the test. I connected with my body in a new way that was less forceful and gentler; through this intimate experience, I began to heal. I then added strength building in the areas that had gone into atrophy, such as my glutes and leg muscles.
I called upon my own Activate Your Core method to rebuild my deep core muscles around my spine to better support my back. Now, I am stronger and more flexible than I have ever been in my life and I’m a much more compassionate yoga teacher.
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