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. 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.
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
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.
How dance and dancers have shaped and informed every step of the journey
I keep wanting to talk about getting into Yoga for Scoliosis — an eventual and integral part of my scoliosis journey following the removal of my Harrington Roads — but as I write this serial blog, and look back on all that’s happened, other memories get triggered and new understandings appear.Read More
Exploring Different Healing Modalities: Alexander technique and Taoist meditation
Ever since my rod removal 21 years ago, I have spent a LOT of time exploring different options for supportive care.
I never expected to go down this road, but exploring the myriad supportive care options out there has become an ongoing educational journey that I continue to find not only self-empowering, but endlessly fascinating.Read More
Taking the leap into Emotional Counselling
Shortly after my Harrington rods were removed, I was talking to a friend about my rehabilitation regime combination of massage and gym training. As a dancer himself, he recognized the obvious benefits of these activities, but he also suggested I consider doing some emotional counselling to support my physical healing.Read More
My journey - and discoveries - in Supportive Care
The results of my intense massage routine and gym training slowly gave me confidence to try new things in the search for more mobility and pain relief. I thought that by having my Harrington rods removed, everything would be better, immediately. But, as it turned out, I encountered a whole new set of challenges...Read More
Harrington rods removed - the healing journey begins
As I mentioned in Part 3 of this serial blog post, after the removal of my Harrington rods, I was eager to experience movement in a new way—without the restriction of metal implants. But because I still felt stiff and had muscle spasms, I decided to work with a massage therapist, Dawn, to help break up the scar tissue that had built up over the years.Read More
Harrington rod surgery then (1974) and now
Before I go further in this serial blog post about my journey through Harrington rod removal surgery, the long term effects, and the after care and supportive treatments I discovered, I would like to reiterate to all readers that every person’s surgery experience is unique.Read More
Finding a surgeon; proceeding with rod removal.
It was not easy convincing the new surgeon to remove my Harrington rods. He was unsympathetic to most of my initial reasoning — that I didn’t “like” the foreign object in my body; that the rods “felt weird”, and like they were “vibrating”.Read More
How the decision to remove her Harrington rods pushed Martha Carter to deal with buried emotions.
After I made the decision to have my Harrington rods removed, I experienced a huge flood of emotions. I had a flashback to my first surgery. The doctors and my family commenting how “strong” and “brave” I was. How I never cried.Read More
Harrington Rods Removed — How a Reiki treatment led TOPS Founder Martha Carter to a new path of healing.
When I was told that I had scoliosis and needed to have Harrington rod surgery at age 13, I was also told that I wouldn’t be allowed to dance anymore and that I shouldn’t do any rigorous exercise or yoga. It was 1974, and the relatively new surgical procedure was in its early years.Read More