Lynn Crimando, MA, C-IAYT, Integrative Health Coach
My mission is to empower my clients to live their best lives.
My day on August 10th of 1997 started with me thinking of myself as a strong athlete and a pretty adept yogi. A busy Type-A publishing executive, I prided myself on “doing it all.” As a single mother and in the midst of helping to launch a major national magazine–I was the Managing Editor of soon to debut, ESPN the Magazine–much of my free time was spent in vigorous athletic endeavors. I could swim a mile with ease or bike 75 miles at a steady clip, and walking everywhere was my preferred mode of transit. I regularly practiced Ashtanga yoga, a physically challenging style that flows progressively through an ever-escalating array of impossible looking poses. Breath awareness was something I used as a tool to steel me through the challenging physical exertion. My arms and hands securely supported me in inversions. And tricky one-legged balances? Pfft, no problem. I was very good at asana practice, that’s for sure. In hindsight, I was also pretty clueless about yoga.
As it turns out, it only takes an instant for one’s life to be irrevocably altered. I learned that for the first time when my father dropped dead from a heart condition years earlier. The second less came while my daughter and I were vacationing in Seattle. The plan that August 10th was to bike 50 scenic miles and end the day eating blackberry pie on a veranda somewhere. Instead, a steep descent into a sharp blind curve culminating in an unceremonious “face-plant” that resulting in a shattered collarbone and permanently modified skeletal structure. One collarbone is now an inch shorter than the other, resulting in markedly asymmetrical shoulders—one still droops a bit more than the other.
That accidental fall, which lasted no more than 30 seconds, triggered a grueling physical rehabilitation, years of limited movement, constant pain, disrupted sleep, and a permanent case of Post Traumatic Fibromyalgia. Emotional recovery was equally slow. The reality that I would never look “even” again, coupled with chronic pain and an extended period of sleep disruption triggered a major situational depression.
It was during those months and years of reassembling my body and learning to accept the lasting physical changes that my true study of yoga was born. After years of schooling and training and being in the world, I had encountered my greatest teacher.
My recovery team, which over time comprised my GP, an orthopedic doctor, physiatrist, neurologist, physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, medical masseuse, social worker, minister, devoted daughter, family and friends, among others, did their best to help. But in the end, it was me alone at the bottom of that black hole. I would need to climb myself out, one painful inch at a time back to wholeness.
Returning to a physical but much modified asana practice helped restore almost normal range of motion, no small feat given that a year after the accident I still could not raise my left arm more than ten inches. Accepting and embracing my new reality and living with 8 years of chronic pain was much tougher. This is where the yoga came in. Forget about fancy arm balances; At my lowest, I found myself one Saturday afternoon that November pondering the point of moving a dirty cup from the coffee table to the dishwasher. Getting up was going to be painful, walking across the room was going to hurt, bending over and pulling the door open to the load the cup? Well, that idea was too much to bear.
Yoga helps us cultivate more positive relationships – to ourselves, other people, and the world at large. I returned to my practice humbled by my life’s circumstances and in need of something much more transformative than the proper alignment for Warrior 2 pose. I began to listen to my body, my breath, and teachers like the Vietnamese Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, who teach about compassion and lovingkindness. Finding solace in the deeper practices of pranayama, meditation, and self-study, I also began to work with my body, rather than against it. To listen to what my pain was trying to tell me about movement, rest, and self-forgiveness, rather than trying to regain what I used to have.
Two years into my rehab, I undertook my first teacher training. Being honest, I did it for selfish reasons: I needed a different way to define myself other than as victim of an accident. But as I grew in my own practice, I realized that I could do more than that. I now understood what it meant to have your whole world suddenly turned upside down. I determined that my contribution to yoga teaching would be to bring the practice of yoga to people who really needed it. I endeavored to become the teacher I needed when I was at the bottom of my very black hole. (I used to joke that I didn’t want to teach classes for people who were trying to decide between me and kick boxing that day. Of course, years of practice later has shown me the arrogance of even that statement. In fifteen years of teaching, many a student has wandered in from kick boxing and found profound transformation. My bad for judging, but forgive me—I’m still learning!)
Knowing from the start that working with people who for whatever reason were dealing with compromised physical, physiological or psychological conditions, I understood from the start I would need a lot of extra training. I began to learn everything I could about anatomy, physiology, yogic, humanist, and buddhist philosophy, neuroscience, and trauma. Along with learning everything I could about being a teacher of therapeutic styles of yoga, I undertook a fairly rigorous Yoga Therapist Training at the American Viniyoga Institute. I’m still on that learning path and expect I always will be.
This work of empowerment led me naturally to the magical work of coaching, first on the executive level and, more recently, at Duke Integrative Medicine, where I completed Integrative Health Coach certification.
The ability to help others is an awesome privilege and one that I intend never to take for granted. I try to honor it by continuing to practice, study, listen, and be open to what is. The clients and students who place their trust in me to help them navigate their own choppy waters deserve no less.
My Credentials and Training:
I bring a diverse blend of trainings and experiences to all of my work with clients.
- Certified Viniyoga Therapist – My teacher is Gary Kraftsow.
- Essential Lower Back Program Teacher – Certified by Robin Rothenberg, Essential Yoga Therapy
- NYU-certified Executive Coach and a Duke IM Integrative Health Coach
- Level 1 Social Resiliency Model Training
- I’ve studied anatomy under Leslie Kaminoff at the Breathing Project and also previously served as the coordinator for the Therapeutic Yoga classes and the Anatomy & Breath Clinic.
- I consider Thich Nhat Hanh to be my primary spiritual teacher. It is a gift beyond words to have occasionally been in his presence.
- My teaching experience is rich and diverse, from health clubs, to a womens’ resource center in the South Bronx, to the Memory Support unit of an assisted living facility, to the corporate office of Tiffany & Co. I travel throughout the city, teaching and lecturing on behalf of the Arthritis Foundation and I teach throughout New York City for Health Advocates for Older People. I’ve helped to launch a wellness initiative at the Rutgers Presbyterian Church in NYC.
- My therapy and coaching clients include people living with arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, herniated disks, trauma-recovery, RSD, MS, Parkinson’s, dementia, anxiety, obesity, sleep disturbances, stress and the desire to experience healthy aging.
- Prior to finding my true life’s work I held top management positions at Sports Illustrated, Money Magazine, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com and the ESPN New Enterprises division.
- I have a BFA in Dance from the University of Detroit/Marygrove, and a Master’s degree in Communications from the New York Institute of Technology.