29 December 2010

Tumbling for joy!

My daughter Clara is a gymnast. She has been in love with gymnastics ever since she was five... We have enjoyed watching her blossom into a wonderful young woman and a beautiful, strong athlete. In 7th grade she was the only student at her school to meet all presidential standards for physical fitness... Most girls her age could only do 1-2 pull-ups on the bar, she did 14! Her commitment to her beloved sport is truly remarkable, spending over 16 hours a week at the gym, admirably without losing her academic focus, as she maintains straight A's in high school. But it hasn't been an easy road... We've struggled with our share of injuries, doctor visits, physical therapy sessions, X-rays, MRI's...

Clara, age 5

Yet, no challenge has been more frightening and  life-altering than the one she was faced with just a few months ago... Without any warning or obvious trigger, she slowly started developing this intense fear of backward movements, and most of her tumbling came to a screeching halt, as these mental blocks permeated and controlled her mind.... Her coach tried everything but felt helpless... I didn't understand it... She had done those skills before, why couldn't she do them now? Her regression was too strong to ignore, and our options were discussed.... Maybe seek a sports psychologist, maybe become a specialist in the areas she could still perform, maybe quit... But, even faced with the possibility that she wouldn't progress to the next level, Clara never considered quitting... She wanted to keep on trying...

I decided to do some research on my own about the fear of backward movements. I discovered that it was a lot more common than I thought, especially in gymnasts. I also found out that there was hope... Many gymnasts had been able to succesfully overcome this fear, in some cases with the help of a technique I have to admit I am unfamiliar with: hypnosis. I purchased a download on the spot, willing to try anything to make my girl better... This series of hypnosis tapes specifically designed for gymnasts included subliminal messages (to be heard while sleeping), aimed at helping with affirmation and validation of one's abilities. It seemed to slowly do the trick... I do mean SLOWLY... Every little conquest is being highly celebrated., and nothing is making me happier than seeing Clara's smile when she comes home glowing about her (re)achievements...!

I know how hard Clara has been struggling to conquer her mental blocks... One tumble at a time... There is still a lot of work to be done, but I am tremendously proud of her for never giving up... So, when I saw her perform her level 7 routine for the first time just a week ago, it brought tears to my eyes... It sure has been  a treaturous and bumpy uphill climb, but, oh, boy, the view from the top...? Priceless!!!


  1. you're one proud mama,I can tell.

    happy new year to a good friend

  2. Hooray for Clara and her persistance! Surely these struggles and road blocks will not only strengthen her as a gymnist but as a young woman as well! I believe that with every adversity is a seed of equal or greater benefit! And isn't it amazing what the internet has done for our lives? How neat that you were able to research online and find a therapy to help her out! Happy New Year! Amanda

  3. Bravo for Clara!! And what a great mom you are to try new things to help your little girl. Bravo to you, too!!

  4. Good for her. The obstacles and fears these teens of today have to face is extreme. I am glad that she is getting better and better. I am sure she will be back to her self soon.
    congrats - tammy

  5. The only way to overcome our fears is to face kudos for your lovely Clara and her loving Mama! Happy New Year to you all....xoxo

  6. Hey Doll
    "Happy New Year!"
    Have a Fab 2011!

  7. Bravissima Clara!!;)) I wish you a fabulous, sparkling, healthy and joyous 2011, dear Isabel!
    Big hugs,
    Monica xoxo

  8. She's lovely!

    Belessings to you and your adorable family for a fabulous New Year!

    XO Glad & Cel


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