Several weeks ago, Laura my lovely chiropractor informed me that I have mild scoliosis (great!) and, more recently, that I have osteoarthritis in my left ankle (double great!!), and that I was NOT to run for exercise any more. Obviously, I was devastated by this command. What I AM to do is walking, toning using a resistance band, swimming and yoga.
And so, after a 12-year hiatus, I am in the midst of a beginner’s course in Iyengar yoga. I had completely forgotten how much I love yoga and its affects on my body and, more importantly, my mind. I have, according to my teacher, a “loose body” that I must learn to “contain”. I spend a lot of time stretching to relieve the discomfort I experience because of scoliosis. Flexibility is not a bad thing, of course. But now, I need to work on muscular strength and stability. Hence, yoga.
I chose Iyengar yoga because its emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the physical body appealed to my control-freakery, not to mention that it is the ideal form for those with scoliosis to practice:
“The body with scoliosis has developed a highly sophisticated compensating ‘act’ and it can also learn a more refined symmetrical ‘act’ with proper instruction. By combining the yoga postures with breathing awareness, one can develop a structural alignment, creating a more normal symmetrical alignment. This is accomplished by stretching muscles that have tightened and strengthening muscles that have become weak from this asymmetrical imbalance. Thereby the body will create a more effortless posture using the bone structure, rather than over working the muscles to hold itself up. Through yoga, one can find that balance point that allows the scoliosis curve to coexist with gravity and activates the body’s natural plumb line. The result for most people with scoliosis is better posture and less pain.” *
Even after just five weeks, I can feel and even see a difference in my body. Nothing startling, but finding a comfortable sleeping position is much easier, I feel slightly less graceless in the way I move, and things generally feel a bit less jiggly. I attend classes at Marrickville Yoga Centre, and I cannot rate the teachers highly enough.
If you’ve ever thought about trying yoga but haven’t, I urge you to give it a burl. Your body and your mind will thank you.