Movement kitchen for me symbolises weaving movement into the everyday. My studio really happens to be in our large open-plan kitchen. When I don’t teach here our living space is still an ever‐changing obstacle course with balance boards, half domes and spiky balls lying around and me and the children playfully climbing over them as I’m trying to cook dinner.
I aim to create the warm, homely, intimate atmosphere of the kitchen in my sessions too. I work a lot with biomechanics and science of movement but in a relaxed and informal way, guided by empathy and intuition. Instead of a lab my working space is a kitchen, both literally and metaphorically.
My movement journey has been paved by various injuries and an unstoppable urge for learning in the process of overcoming them. I often felt my body was too fragile to follow my pace of life.
In 2008 I left a career in corporate law with recurrent back and shoulder pain and not being able to feel parts of my left foot. I completed my first 200 hour yoga teacher training with the Yoga Federation of Serbia back in my home country. In 2012 I continued my yoga studies at the Yoga Institute Santacruz in Mumbai, India focussing on the therapeutic aspects of yoga. I spent three months living and studying full time (900 hours) at the Institute, assisting and teaching at health camps and workshops that the Institute regularly held for the locals. Coming back to the UK, I continued studying with Yogacampus in London. After years of learning, teaching and a dedicated daily practice I managed to fully restore my feet and rarely had any back pain.
But then in 2014, shortly after my first child was born, I suffered a severe abdominal separation - diastasis recti and De Quervain’s tendinosis on both wrists. After the birth of my second child - in 2015, my core was completely destroyed. The recurring back spasms made me unable to continue my practice the way it was. It was so incredibly frustrating to be re-injured over and over again and in pain after every time I practised yoga or even just carried my baby. Not moving couldn’t be an option, but the way I used to move was hurting me.
I found that there was so little support offered by the healthcare and very little research done about diastasis recti, especially about its connection with back and pelvic pain and disfunction. Abdominal separation is usually seen as a cosmetic problem and most of the solutions available focused on patching the gap instead of looking into what had caused it.
I wanted to understand why injuries happen and how to avoid them in the first place
Looking for answers I started obsessively researching and learning different approaches to movement and bodywork. Questioning, deconstructing and learning again from various teachers across the fields of yoga, pilates, somatics, movement and dance therapy, Structural Integration, myofascial release and massage.
In 2015 I discovered the work of biomechanist and researcher Katy Bowman looking into loads and forces of physics created by movement. I felt I finally found a missing piece I was looking for in my journey to heal the abdominal separation without a surgery. I started the 2-year certification with Katy Bowman’s Nutritious Movement Institute and in October 2017 got qualified as a Nutritious Movement™ certified Restorative Exercise Specialist. Studying biomechanics and science of movement felt like peeling off layer by layer of all I knew about movement, rebuilding and reconnecting everything again. I quickly gave up on the surgery idea and instead of focussing on the separation itself I started focussing on restoring the functionality of everything around it. And gradually I have restored a strong, working core and a body that is able to support me in doing what I love.
Trying to make my skills more useful to women who are looking to improve their quality of life after pregnancy and childbirth, I am currently studying Advanced CPD in Modern Post Natal Assessment, Core Restore & Functional Exercise Programming with Jenny Burrell. My passion for movement and fascination with the body keeps driving me to learn, research and explore new approaches and tools across the fields of functional movement, physiotherapy, fitness and soft tissue therapy.
And my personal journey towards a more movement-rich lifestyle continues. Over the last five years I’ve thrown out all the supportive insoles from my shoes and gradually replaced the heeled shoes with wide and flexible minimal ones. Our family got rid of most of our furniture and equipped our house with a climbing frame and a plenty of unstable surfaces instead. We started spending a lot of our time outside, moving in nature. I started looking at my environment differently, finding movement opportunities where there were none: noticing all the trees for climbing on my walks, walking much more barefoot and on varied surfaces, using the children playground time to hang, climb and play with them instead of just standing around.
Longer I work with movement and the body, more I realise, the progress is defined not by one time achievements, but by general blurring of the border between exercise and life.
Exercise is not enough - I realised, we need MOVEMENT to thrive. Our bodies are beautifully malleable and adapt to the way we use them. You can create an environment that requires you to move more frequently and move more parts of you as you go about your everyday life. Each little change creates a thousand ripples.