Welcome to "Back Stories", our TOPS Guest Blog Series. In our third guest blog, Ahava Shira, a professional facilitator, masterful at guiding each person to express themselves in their own way, in their own time, with their own words, shares her story and how she utilizes writing as a form of healing and teaches others to do the same.Read More
Introducing "Back Stories", our TOPS Guest Blog Series. In our second guest blog, Deborah Wolk, a Yoga for Scoliosis specialist based in New York City, details the incredible experience shared by all in attendance at her Yoga, Scoliosis and the Organic Body retreat for TOPS on Salt Spring Island, BC, this past July, 2018.
We live in a time when the earth is stressed: fires blaze along the West Coast, resources are dwindling, and the ocean and its inhabitants are diseased by plastic. The state of our planet raises questions. How does our own condition reflect this?Read More
Recently, Martha Carter caught up with Kristen Fay Gorman by phone to find out about her latest scoliosis research findings (nine years after Martha's original visit to Kristen's lab to see the guppies with scoliosis!). The result is a fascinating look at the questions, quandries, explorations, and discoveries that Kristen and her team have been working with most recently in the area of scoliosis research. While there may be no known cause or cure for scoliosis yet - there is definitely hope!
Click Read More to hear the audio file of their conversation.Read More
Introducing "Back Stories", our TOPS Guest Blog Series. Our first guest blog is this incredible raw and moving story by Cindy Heidel from Florida, USA.
I was born, a stick with a head on it. People loved to point out how skinny I was. By thirteen, I knew I was abnormally tall, flat chested, and had two buck teeth that could open a soda bottle. Some brat in the neighborhood nicknamed me Fang. But I also knew that something was wrong with me.
In 2009, TOPS director Martha Carter and filmmaker Clancy Dennehy visited the Simon Fraser University Scoliosis Research Centre in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. They spoke with genetic researchers Felix Breden and Kristen Fay Gorman about their work with the 'curveback' guppy, with the goal of uncovering the many mysteries about scoliosis.Read More
A recent study claims performing a single yoga pose for 90 seconds for at least 3 days a week could reduce spine curvature in patients with scoliosis in as little as 3 months.Read More
The future of scoliosis outreach and awareness is in the hands of our teens – check out this inspirational story about a young girl who worked to create scoliosis support in her own community.Read More
It can be hard to keep the facts straight – especially as there is still so much testing and study to be done on non-medical treatments for scoliosis. Here’s a quick breakdown of need-to-know scoliosis basics, including causes, effects and treatments for scoliosis.Read More
Can't keep all the brace options straight? Take a look at this review of different back braces currently on the market and make an informed choice.
Short and sweet answers to everything you've been wondering about yoga and scoliosis.Read More
This personal and informative article shows why Elise Browning Miller is one of the leaders in the Yoga for Scoliosis practice.Read More
TOPS commissioned Vancouver illustrator, Gary Leung to draw the 4 most common forms of scoliosis. The inspiration for these illustrations came from images drawn by Alexander Laurant in Elise Miller's Yoga Journal article “Yoga for Scoliosis.” Gary developed these schematic portrayals of scoliosis to convey the overall shape of the spine, lending the viewer an opportunity to identify on a visual level.Read More
Previous long-term studies of idiopathic scoliosis have included patients with other etiologies, leading to the erroneous conclusion that all types of idiopathic scoliosis inevitably end in disability. Late-onset idiopathic scoliosis (LlS) is a distinct entity with a unique natural history.Read More
"The Alexander technique teaches the ability to improve physical postural habits, particularly those that have become ingrained or are conditioned responses. The technique is purported to improve performance, self observation and impulse control and relieve chronic stiffness, tension and stress." ~WikipediaRead More
Generally speaking, the medical field offers three options for the scoliotic spine: observation, bracing and surgery. This would be dependent on the nature and depth of the curves. Although exercise is also suggested by some medical professionals, it feels like a broad stroke piece of advice given to many, scoliosis or not.Read More
About other Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Methods
Since I had my Harrington rods removed, I have explored and discovered many therapies. Aside from Yoga for Scoliosis, which has been my main focus, there are three other popular Scoliosis-targeted exercise methods that are becoming more available and showing promising results.Read More
Becoming a Yoga for Scoliosis teacher
One of the hardest things about scoliosis is that it is difficult to know what to do to make it better. People ask me questions like these all the time:
How do you cure scoliosis?
How can I make my back straight again?
How can I stop the curve from getting worse?
What can I do to get rid of the pain?
Though extremely understandable questions to ask, they are very difficult questions to answer, because every person and every curve is different. There is one thing that is for sure though: it is NOT possible to CURE a structural scoliosis.
A 200-hour Yoga teacher training adventure of discovery on Salt Spring Island, BC.
Through attending Yoga For Scoliosis with Elise Browning Miller, I came to clearly understand that Yoga could really help me, but it also opened me up to the realization that I didn't know anything about Yoga — in the wider sense. When I first started studying Yoga, I was completely distracted by my own body fears and discomforts.Read More
What happens in a Yoga for Scoliosis class
When I discovered Elise Browning Miller and her method, Yoga for Scoliosis, I finally felt confident to explore Yoga further. First of all, Elise had scoliosis! So, unlike other Yoga teachers I had worked with, her teaching provided insights that could only come from having personal experience with this condition.
Starting yoga and a key discovery: Elise Browning Miller’s Yoga for Scoliosis
When my back finally started to feel stronger and more mobile, I found myself dreaming about dancing. In that moment between sleep and awake, I would have visions of myself in an extreme arabesque with my an open chest, arched back, and a long, high leg. Sometimes it was à Ia seconde - with my leg lifted to the side. I was never wearing a tutu. I was always either in street clothes or naked. I could feel my spine - free and powerful.