THIS IS MY SPINE. I remember when I was around 8 years old, and a friend curiously placed her hand beneath my right shoulder blade, asking why it stuck out so much. At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis, I got my brace and wore it 23 h/day for two years. I tried to hide it at school by constantly wearing a backpack full of books. Miraculously, I was not bullied, which I’m grateful for.
After I got out of the brace, I did my best to deny that I was any different. I was normal, my spine was normal. This continued until in my early 20’s when my yoga practice hurt my back. The pain asked me to acknowledge that I had a winding twisting s-curve through my spine. That I have a different quality to my fascia and that my proprioceptive system has less receptors in the muscles telling me about my movement and posture. When I began to listen, I could find a way to practice yoga and relate to myself, that instead of being perfectionistic, ambitious and striving, is built on compassion, patience and a genuine sense of caring. Still I have some moments of frustration, judgement and sadness related to my spine, but very seldom.
I love the image of our bodies unfolding like plants from a seed, ever seeking the light. Some of us grow into sturdy oaks, other into sinewy mountain birches. No tree in the forest is alike the other. Through the years I have studied many different movement methods to manage Scoliosis. I am so thankful that I realised that I can affect my spinal health. The orthopaedic doctors I met as a teen told me that I could do nothing. They were right in one thing, I still have my scoliosis. What they missed, is the fact that I can slow the progression and not have any pain. My spine reminds me everyday how big difference mindful movement can do.
I recently got the chance to reflect on what good has come from my Scoliosis. It guided me to study anatomy and eventually to become a yoga/physiotherapist. The greatest gift my spine has taught me is that I can honor and love myself, that I am worthy even though, or even because, I am not perfect.
With hope and gratitude / Petra