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SLP 183: Human Beings Are Designed To Live Extraordinary Lives with Dr Carmen Atkinson
31, May, 2022
‘For me chiropractic is about helping people fulfil their potential. I have, my tag line, my Northern Star, the thing that excites me about what I do, is that I truly believe that as human beings we are designed to live extraordinary lives. And that’s why I put my hands on people, and that’s why I want people to come and see me through chiropractic is to not just be out of pain which is perhaps where chiropractors choose to play the game of chiropractic, it certainly is still a part of my practice if that’s what people want. But beyond pain relief there’s prevention and beyond prevention of pain there’s performance and beyond performance there is truly fulfilling your innate potential to live an extraordinary life.’ Dr Carmen Atkinson
Growing up Carmen Atkinson was always super active, determined and deeply driven. She saw herself as a bit of a tom boy with a love of all sports. Her brother Brad had a lot of talent too, which inspired Carmen hugely. And whilst neither ever settled for mediocrity, she acknowledges that this was a gift and a curse. She has always been curious about human potential and believes that we are all designed to live extraordinary lives.
Carmen’s family were all drawn to Chiropractic care which inspired her to do a Human Movement degree which then led her into doing her Chiropractic degree. She has always had huge reverence for the human body and elite athletes and how to optimise function to optimise human performance to optimise human health and vitality.
It saddens Carmen to think people do not take care or acknowledge what they are truly capable of and the intelligence that moves through them. ‘We are an innate expression of Universal Intelligence’, says Carmen. And if people only knew that they can express themselves differently, whether it is about relationships, sleep, food or stress… it is these things that can compromise our wellbeing.
We put so much stress on our bodies and chiropractic is a wonderful way to be healthy with regular adjustments to create optimal function and a healthy nervous system. It is important to listen to the whispers with regularity.
As far as her ability to do ultra’s and becoming an incredible athlete it started for Carmen at school running a 10km run at 12 years of age. There was deep sense of pride in completing that. Those 10kms runs turned into half marathons which then became a marathon. She continuously pursued that feeling of satisfaction. And her first marathon was what drove her to understand pushing through pain to get to the opposite feeling of exhilaration and joy.
She then met someone who had run the Conrad’s Ultra. She got curious about it and ended up running in a team of four in a 100km trail run. It was her first ultra and it was this race that she realised she loved the longer stuff. The capacity to do more has been cultivating within her from this very first ultra.
A question that she was asked when all she wanted to do was quit was, ‘Will it hurt more now, or will it hurt more if you quit?’ She has since completed in over 20 ultra’s and has a huge passion for this sport.
There is no doubt in the long stuff that you go to some dark places, and you are in a constant negotiation with self. The way Carmen works through this is to constantly evaluate oneself and get curious. She uses mantras a lot and counts a lot. All strategies of mind distraction come into play. Carmen is deeply committed to her spiritual practice and says pain is inevitable, but suffering isn’t. She has learned to change her story around it. The key is to experience pain with curiosity, to lean into it and acknowledge it but work with it.
You don’t train to get to race day, so it doesn’t hurt, you train to meet it in the race. And move with a little more ease and less suffering mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
An ultra is all about training oneself for life really. We can get through tough times, and we can find our capacity and Carmen believes there is nothing that replicates life as much as running. Beyond cultivating resources for managing life and races there is this spiritual revelation that you cannot get anywhere else where we can dissolve our sense of self. Time stands still. You become this minute experience in life. You are connected simultaneously.
As Carmen has aged and become a better athlete, she has learned to prioritise her recovery. And even her training has changed as she ages. She says it is crucial as we get older to take even more care and pay attention to all aspects of training and recovery.
Carmen shares her experience of what she has considered the perfect race which she says was in July 2021. She also shares how tough it was to open her own practice some 21years ago. She was riddled with self-doubt and wondered if she had what it took. She reached out to Laurence Tham who is a chiropractic coach and business coach. Then she wondered, what if she did it her way? How could she embrace her authenticity? How could she embrace a heart-led business?
Her definition of self-love is reminding herself that she is capable of more than she can imagine. That she is a part of the divine blueprint to live an extraordinary life. She says it is always about coming back to being part of this amazing thing called human-kind, and nature remembering that it is all divinely created. Recognise it within yourself to keep going. And meet yourself with more kindness.
Her final message is to let you know that you are designed to live and be extraordinary and be mindful of the choices you make to bring that potential forward.
Her favourite quote is:
‘You never know how far reaching something you may say think or do today will impact the lives of millions tomorrow.’
Dr BJ Palmer
About Dr Carmen Atkinson
Graduating from RMIT Melbourne with Honours in 2001, Dr Carmen Atkinson successfully owned several Chiropractic Practices in Melbourne, before relocating to the Sunshine Coast in 2016. Before long she opened The Health Studio in Mooloolaba, a practice that is dedicated to delivering the highest quality Holistic health services and is cultivating a strong community of wellness focussed people aspiring to live their best lives.
During 2009-2012 Dr Carmen sat on the Board of the Australian Spinal Research Foundation, a Non-for-profit organisation aimed at generating funds for Spinal research. During this 4 year period Carmen convened the largest Chiropractic conference in Australasia, co-ordinating 1000s of delegates, Exhibitors and speakers from all over the world, delivering the latest in research, practice management and personal development to Chiropractors and their teams.
Carmen is also an avid Ultra-distance endurance athlete. Competing in her first marathon in 2005, she quickly found a passion for races that went beyond the usual marathon distance of 42.2km. Carmen has since competed in over 25 Ultramarathons and in 2018 claimed the title of the 100km Australian Trail Ultramarathon Champion. Carmen has also completed 6 Ironman Triathlons including the illustrious Kona Ironman World Championships in 2015.
In 2018, Carmen completed Australian Ultraman, a 3-day Ultra distance triathlon covering over 512km of swimming, cycling and running, a race she attempted a year earlier but crashed her bike on Day 1 resulting in face, head and hand fractures.
Never deterred by setbacks and challenges, Carmen feels 2021 was her best year of ultra-distance racing, competing in the inaugural Ultra 355 in Hervey Bay another 3 day triathlon, finishing 2nd Female as well as completing the audacious task of racing a 100mile ultra trail running event in Brisbane, finishing on the podium in 3rd place.
There are many events still on Carmen’s bucket list.
All of this has been achieved in spite of a diagnosis as a teenager with severe spinal Scoliosis and was warned that without surgery she would end up in a wheelchair.
Over the past few years Carmen has made a conscious decision to immerse herself more fully in her Yoga and spiritual practice, deepening her personal practice that has spanned 20years.
Carmen completed her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in 2020, as well as completing a certification in Trauma Awareness Yoga and is currently completing a further 300hrs of study. As a student and teacher of Yoga, Carmen offers a unique approach that fuses her clinical perspectives as a health practitioner, with her athletic knowledge and experience, together with a reverence for the subtle energetic body and the spiritual teachings of ancient yogic traditions.
Carmen’s fundamental belief is that as human beings we have the divine blueprint to live an extraordinary life, and she is committed to helping and inspiring people to realise that innate potential.
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Email: [email protected]
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