Yoga Mail

By Irene Chan

My first and very special daughter Theresa has been diagnosed with the scoliosis condition 14 years ago. We first noticed unevenness on her shoulders and neck as she became actively engaged in bowling tournaments organized by her institution. She was in her early 20s back then. The curvature was somewhere around 28 degrees at the thoracic region (chest area) when we first detected it. Having little understanding of her condition and continuing with routine lifestyle from then on naturally contributed to the worsening of the curvature. To our despair, her scoliosis worsened to more than 60 degrees within the next few years.

The doctors advised us to proceed with surgery but we did not feel right to put our dearest daughter under the surgical knife. Especially having told that there will not be a 100% curve reduction, the fusion of spinal bones may limit her mobility and the cold weather may give her occasional cold jolts down her spine. Besides that, we were told the metal rods and screws will be left permanently inside her body imposing some risk of infection and she may have to undergo a second surgery to realign these rods ten years later.

We explored our next best options and paid a visit to the Chiropractor. The practitioner explained to us that he can help us ease the muscle tension, monitor on the alignments and prevent is from worsening. She has been under chiropractor for close to 8 years now and the curve progressed despite all intervention to more than 70 degrees!!! This was worrying us and almost making us lose hope for Theresa.

Yoga. Why Not?

“Why not you try yoga?” suggested the Chiropractor. He surveyed his network and finally gave us the lead to MAYI YOGA ACADEMY. My first encounter with a Wellness Expert in MAYI had restored hope for my daughter. She shared with me the stories of her clients with scoliosis and showed me some amazing pictures too on how they had improved with yoga. Without thinking twice I had agreed to give it a go!!!

Theresa had some pre-existing yoga knowledge. We started practicing yoga in our residential clubhouse group lesson sometime in 2008 (10 years ago). We know the importance of exercise and chose yoga for our general well-being. Unfortunately, Theresa, being a special young adult with learning disabilities, could not concentrate in a group class and so we dropped out after nine months of lessons. Having a private session with the wellness coach had made it easier for Theresa to focus and learn. Along the yoga poses, some at home massage techniques, postural awareness, sitting and sleeping techniques were added on from time to time. It was not the easiest task we had in hand but we persevered.

Luckily Theresa started enjoying her private sessions with the coach and she was comfortable. She would say ‘ouch’ here and there during the practice but we motivated her to do her practices consistently. After a few weeks we started seeing changes at her hips. Surprisingly it started levelling up. The coach would trace Theresa’s spine from time to time and draw up stick man diagrams on the board and explain the mechanics. I understood the rationale of her approach and followed exactly what she had asked us to do. We had guidelines tables out for each day tackling different regions of the body.

Scoliosis condition had improved

After three months of the personal wellness programme in Sept 2018, Theresa did an X-ray to check on her progress. To our amazement, her scoliosis condition had improved by 10 degrees! We are very happy with the results of yoga practice on Theresa. Credit has to be given to the dedication of the wellness coach, the tireless guidance at home by Paulen, my mum’s caregiver who helped with home practice and massage, and Theresa herself for the discipline and hard work which have jointly contributed to her scoliosis improvement. It was a celebration at home for all of us. A proud moment for the family. The big ‘che che’ has done it! We aspire to continue and we know we can’t stop now, and Theresa’s scoliosis condition will continue to improve although it might take months, if not years, to improve further.

Patience and continuous practice are the key factors!

I have always perceived practitioners of yoga to be calm, graceful and healthy before I started practicing yoga back in 2008. Now I too had developed a better understanding about the influence of yoga on our body and mind co-traveling the journey on my daughter’s wellness programme. We are currently continuing on her second wellness package under the guidance of the coach. Her neck which was seemingly impossible to straighten up has started giving in to yoga. My daughter is much straighter now compared to where we started almost 6 months ago. The dentist too remarked about how Theresa jaw has opened up and it is much easier to access the depth of her oral cavity.

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My personal opinion is that Yoga is suitable for all ages and genders.
Yoga is definitely better than those aggressive aerobic exercises which might hurt our joints and muscles. Yoga is also better for our mental well-being.

Now I have also learned the potential yoga has to offer to tackle various health conditions. We are ready to sail through the wellness programme as many times needed until we have There’s condition fully restored. Although it is sometimes tiring, nevertheless the outcome we are savoring is so deliciously filling.
I am proud of you my girl – A stronger, straighter Theresa!