Through our odd, yet fortunate adventures in yoga blogging we’ve encountered more than a few ways that yoga has positively affected people’s lives. Yoga is for everyone, and for many it can be a powerful source for healing and relief.
And so we are super excited and honored to share this Q&A with Marcia Monroe and host a giveaway of her book Yoga and Scoliosis, with an introduction by Dr. Loren Fishman and foreward by B.K.S. Iyengar. If you or someone you know has scoliosis, or perhaps you’re a teacher looking to better serve your students, this book may be a helpful resource on your journey to finding further vertebral and cerebral clarity.
It’s opportunities like this that help provide us balance in the midst of redonkulousness!
Marcia Monroe is certified as a Yoga Teacher by the Iyengar System of Yoga and a continous student of the Science of Yoga. She has also been certified by the somatic methods of Body Mind Centering® and Feldenkrais®, RSMT.
Read on for the Q&A and then enter to win a copy of her new book!
Why is this book important?
It brings concepts of reeducation of the mind and body, by applying the teachings of Patanjali (Yoga Sutras) as the baseline for the practice. I view scoliosis not only as a progressive disease, but as a pattern that needs to be addressed with its multiple dimensions: physical, mental, spiritual, philosophical, and subtle.
This book is also based of my personal experience in searching for treatments to treat an aggressive scoliosis without surgery. It is about how I found yoga, mainly the Iyengar Yoga system, as a healing and supportive system that focuses on alignment, stability, strength, balance, length, and most important of all on scoliosis. It shows how the practice of modified postures enhances the individual awareness and the three-dimensional aspects of scoliosis.
Why did you feel the need to write it?
I wanted tell others of my own on-going healing experience, to offer hope for those like me who are survivors of scoliosis, and to have faith that Yoga can be healing path that brings empowerment and expansion to new possibilities. I have found through practice and diligent awareness something wakes up that will provide an inner intelligence. This perception of how to feel the body from inside out is sometimes a challenge for us with scoliosis. Yoga practice is the path for healing (using modified postures).
It is important to note that a qualified teacher is needed on the path to make sure that the actions are leading toward improvement rather than deterioration. Also, the teachers must know that scoliosis is individual, and that the complexities of the curves will require a different modification for each side. And most of all, a medical follow up is to be included.
What role does Iyengar yoga have in helping those students and or teachers with scoliosis?
From my first class, I finally began to feel a connection to scoliosis. Through its geometric and precise methodology new possibilities and hope emerged. The Iyengar yoga system is based on the teachings of Patanjali and focuses on embodiment. This embodiment evolves with practice and will gradually unfold the doors to the inner intelligence. Sometimes this perception of how to feel the body from inside out is a challenge for us with scoliosis.
Amongst the many layers of the various teachings that I received from my studies with Mr. Iyengar is the fundamental relationship of the limbs to the spine, to improve and live with scoliosis. In this system the peripheral body is the first to be addressed to reach different areas of the spine and the results of elongation, stability, self-organization, and breath awareness. It all begins with the studying of the feet, and their relationship to gravity and anti-gravity, as well as their transmission to the neuromuscular system. This proprioceptive learning was like a light switch for postural tone. The connection from the muscles to the skeleton to the nervous system was felt and perceived despite the shape of the spine. The life long processes of embodiment began by breaking down the various parts of the body in order to integrate.
In my opinion, one of the Mr. Iyengar’s many legacies is the vast repertoire and emphasis of the standing postures and the modifications offered by the props. The standing family of postures are medicine for scoliosis as they provide strength and their application can be taken to functional life in the actions of walking, sustaining a standing position without fatigue, feeling grounded as well as lightness.
It all starts in Tadasana, the hardest posture for an asymmetric body, how to stand in one’s two feet and distribute the weight evenly between both sides, from the alignment of the feet, the legs are activated and the spine is addressed. I have been practicing standing asanas since that first class and they are my medicine to elongate, stabilize and strengthen the spine.
TO ENTER: In yoga we become all too aware of our spines. And that’s good! Spines are generally useful things after all. We’re going full dork on this one. Share with us in the comments one fun fact about the spine, or a bit of trivia on the vast world of vertebrates (it’s ok to look it up) or perhaps something interesting you’ve learned about your own spine. That’s it!
Entries open until 11:59pm Saturday, March 17th. Two winners will be chosen at random and announced soon after! Good luck!
AND THE WINNERS ARE…Kirsten and Shannon! Congrats! Thanks to all who entered and shared your fun fact or your personal story. Wishing everyone the best in your continued journeys of exploration.
- YogaDork Ed: Is Your Posture Wearing You Down?
- Your Body’s True Foundation: Talking ‘Down Under’ – An Interview with Leslie Howard on the Pelvic Floor
- Tom Myers on The Century of the Body: Fascia, Yoga and the Medicine of the Future
- Yoga for Osteoporosis: Prevention, Rehabilitation, Tips for Teachers Q+A with Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall
- Girl, 13, Defies Need for Scoliosis Surgery, Takes Up Yoga and Breakdancing Instead!
- Chloe Sevigny Practices Yoga 3 Times a Week For Fitness, Scoliosis