Looking at Keri’s Instagram feed gets you excited about different things, from cosplay to yoga and the many fur babies she and her family share their home with. Speaking to her, we get an overload of wisdom and enthusiasm. Her spirit is both wise and young; she retains the joy we often forget after childhood, what a magical combination.
However, she has gone through a few things to gather this wisdom she freely shares. “I’ve been on my own since I was 16, I’ve learned to make my way, it took a long time, but I finally found contentment in life… I am no longer held back by what I think I need to do; you only get one life – I’ve gone half way through it now let’s make this last half worth it!.”
Keri uses Blue Ridge Hemp products to treat the inflammation and pain caused by her autoimmune diseases, and her fur babies use the Pet Tincture as well! So how did Keri find out about Blue Ridge Hemp and how does her story connect with ours?
“Most of the time I feel 16, but with the autoimmune stuff there are definitely times I wake up, and I feel 90.”
Accepting “A New Normal”
Six years ago Keri was diagnosed with skin psoriasis, her first autoimmune disease. Keri has always been very active and at that time, getting aches and pains, she placed the blame on rock climbing or on when she partially tore both her rotator cuffs. She didn’t know it was psoriasis.
Keri also had tendonitis in her wrists when she started noticing something different with her fingers.
“One day my knuckles were just swollen out.”
She went for many tests, “and everything just keeps coming back negative, and you know it’s not gout, it’s not osteoarthritis, it’s not rheumatoid arthritis because these other things will show in these lab test results and I knew this from working in medical, it is hard to pin down the diagnosis.”
Then finally, three years ago Keri was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, about 30% of people with skin psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. A diagnosis is important, often people without autoimmune disease or chronic illness do not entirely understand why the fight for the diagnosis is so important.
There can be many reasons, but within everyone’s story is a similar theme, without a diagnosis, you cannot start treatment and prevention plan.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
“That’s pretty much when your immune system goes on full-blown attack and says, “I’m going after your joints now.”
Inflammation of the joints, caused by psoriatic arthritis can lead to permanent joint and tissue damage if not treated early. Keri became her own advocate and did not want to even think of a future that may include not being able to walk.
“That diagnosis really spawned me to do yoga, and that’s when I started practicing yoga every day.”
Keri shares with us that in addition to yoga and keeping her mobility up; she has come a long way in accepting the medication she has to take to treat her condition. It’s not always easy and comes with its side effects, but she is brave and her outlook, confident, not getting consumed by the pain or uncertainty. Inspirational.
“When you are told that we can’t cure it, but we can treat it, that’s a pill that takes a long time to swallow on its own.”
Doga, Dog Yoga
Keri has a dog training studio and yoga facility, Mudra Mutz, where she teaches basic dog training, obedience classes, K9 good citizenship and “I get to put my creative spin on it, I do yoga with dogs, Doga.”
The yoga with dogs spawned out of Keri’s practice and love of yoga, which she has been doing for six years and is completing her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program as well.
Keri has also been training her dogs since 1997 and attended formal classes that encouraged her love of dog training. Now she has found a space where she can combine her different purposes and passions and encourage other dog owners to connect with their pets fully.
“Here is a way of helping you to connect with the natural world and helping you to connect with your dog.”
Keri started doing the practice with her dog and noticed how calm her dog would be towards the end. This eventually led her to develop her own Doga program.
A CBD Doga Class
She has also recently taught a CBD Doga class, where participants, including those of the furry variety, got to use some of the Blue Ridge Hemp Products such as our Pet Tincture which will soon become a regular product featured on our website.
Her class included, similar to many of our other classes part of our CBD Sponsored Yoga Program, Blue Ridge Hemp products at the matt for each student to use before, during and after the yoga practice, such as the CBD Infused Gel and some of our CBD Roll-On Essential Oil Blends.
The class was interactive, with students sampling the CBD Infused products and seeing how they work for them. Their pups were incorporated into the Doga class leading to everyone having a good time connecting with their furry friends.
“We’re not really fully present with the dog; we are watching TV.”
Doga changes this. It encourages the student and pet owner to be present with their animals, the dogs are leashed during the classes, and Keri’s programme is focused on breathing and gentle movement.
The postures don’t include “crazy handstands” or acro-yoga and “what I’m getting you to do is to connect and concentrate with your dog, which you already have a bond with.”
Keri has other trainers that train at her facility as well and together they are working towards building a Doga and Yoga community in Anchorage, Alaska. Mudra Mutz is also the first private Doga studio located in Anchorage. You can learn more about her studio and Doga here.
“The only true failure is just not trying.”
Keri’s Self-Care Routine & Blue Ridge Hemp
She recalls Nikki sharing how she was taking a certain amount of Ibuprofen a day and wanting to take her Instagram community on a journey to show something else she has been using…
This is what Keri connected with; she shares “I would like to [take] a lot less Ibuprofen myself.”
“The swelling in my hands would cause it to [be] where I couldn’t even open a condiment package or twist off a tube on the toothpaste; it was small motions like that that was so limiting.”
Now Keri can close her hands and make a fist.
“I use it every day.”
Keri follows many Ayurvedic practices and has implemented the Blue Ridge Hemp Product Range into her daily self-care routine.
Keri uses the products preventatively and shares some of her routine with us.
Once she gets out of the shower, she used the CBD Infused Massage & Body Oil and massages it into her body and then she adds the CBD Infused Organic Hand & Body Lotion to any spots that hurt and applies it to all her joints.
Keri then massages the CBD Infused Salve into spots for her joint care and focuses on areas that are hurting and aching on her body.
“I’ve had multiple injuries to my one poor left leg outside of just the one hamstring tear, so it helps with a lot of things like that.”
She adds that she uses the CBD Infused Gel on areas of her body for muscle care, especially on muscles that she may have worked too hard.
She uses the CBD Infused Roll-On Essential Oil Blends throughout the day as well and includes the CBD Infused Roll-On Essential Oil Blend Joint Care in her daily routine.
“My fingers haven’t swollen up, and I haven’t had any problems in my hands since I started using the Blue Ridge Hemp products.”
Keri shares that if she does skip the products for a few days and doesn’t adhere to the system she has put in place, she can feel the difference.
“With the last recent flare-up, it wasn’t as intense, using the Blue Ridge Hemp products really just helps the psoriasis as well, it didn’t make it go away, but it definitely made it better.”
A last tip from Keri, she reaches for the CBD Infused Roll-On Essential Oil Blend Headache & Stress instead of Ibuprofen for a headache or after maybe having that one extra drink.
“Blue Ridge Hemp has made the pain issue so much better, I’m not getting that joint discomfort and joint pain and if I do get a flare-up, I have something I can rely on to help me treat it as opposed to hitting that bottle of Ibuprofen up or even going for a stronger pain medicine. And while those are always options, it’s nice to have that natural option available. It is something I can use, and I don’t have to stress about.”
Doing Things Your Way
Speaking with Keri, we learn that as with all of us, life has given her hurdles and challenges but what moves us is the way she has faced them and come out stronger and wiser on the other side.
It’s not just her health that challenged her, although for someone as active as she is, “accepting this is your new normal” is a big step, and she did that. She is also honest about her possibilities and where invisible illness limits her:
“There’s gonna be days I wake up, and I’m not going to want to get out of bed. I tell people one day I can climb a mountain and the next day I can’t climb out of bed.”
This honesty is what inspires us. Her attitude and mindset are as unique as her story, and as with every story we have the privilege of being part of, Keri’s has moved us and showed us that it truly is about doing things your way.
We look forward to seeing more Doga, cosplay and furry friends living it up in Anchorage, Alaska!
“We each have to do what is right for ourselves and what feels good to you.”