Mandy began practicing yoga roughly 15 ago. At that time, she had graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and found herself bouncing around the U.S., from state to state and job to job, with a general sense of discontent. Once she began practicing yoga, what kept her coming back to her mat weren’t the physical benefits of her practice. It was the way in which her mind seemed to turn off during yoga. The “what next, what if” worries, concerns and chatter seemed to fade away. It was as if the physical postures took enough concentration to quiet down all of her mind chatter, and before she knew it, she was even moving without thinking. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the answers to her worries would come. It wasn’t long before Mandy would turn to her yoga mat before making any big life decision.
In 2003, Mandy graduated from her first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program from the Mount Nittany Institute of Natural Health. She later completed the 200 hour, 500 hour, and advanced Yoga Therapy programs through Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, allowing her to become one of the first Certified Yoga Therapists through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). Phoenix Rising is an inquiry-based method that uses classic postures, breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques to increases awareness of body, breath, and mind. After completing her Yoga Therapy certification, Mandy left the engineering world and began a full-time career as a Yoga Therapist/Yoga Teacher and later opened a yoga studio in State College, Wellness in Motion LLC.
In 2014, with the birth of Mandy’s second son, her practice took another big turn. Suddenly Mandy found herself with intense back pain. While she had had “marked” scoliosis for as long as she can remember, she was able to live pain free until this point.
Before having children, Mandy had a 68 degree thoraco-lumbar “C” curve. Several years and 2 baby boys later, the curve had deepened to 77 degrees making Mandy a full 2 inches shorter.
Mandy sought the help of a wide variety of professionals, both main stream medical and alternative health: chiropractors, her family doctor, a specialized pain management doctor, massage therapists, an acupuncturist, a Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Physical Therapist. While Mandy received varying amounts of compassion and true desire to help from each of these professionals, one theme remained the same – she was still one of the most healthy people they worked with and nobody could understand the source of her pain.
Fueled by her desire to truly understand the nature of her pain, she began to research Yoga for Scoliosis and jumped into learning with both feet. Mandy has studied with Rachel Jesien, Loren Fishman, Alison West and Elise Browning Miller.
In many ways, Mandy feels like her yoga journey has come full circle as she is now seeing great physical benefits from her practice. Within four months of changing her yoga practice to account for her spinal curvature, she was again living pain free and had decreased her curve to 63 degrees, making her spine straighter than it was before having children. She also finds her dormant engineering mind sparking back to life to help understand the very complex spinal relationship that is created by scoliosis with it’s lateral curves, accompanying rotation, and possible hyper-kyphosis and hyper-lordosis.
Mandy remains grateful for her Phoenix Rising training, as this work of correcting spinal asymmetry often feels like she is unraveling at the seams and is then being sewn back up again, and again, and again.
Mandy is a member of the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500), the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT), and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. In addition to those listed above, Mandy earned teaching certificates in Prenatal Yoga, Curvy Yoga, and has attended countless teaching training workshops over the years.