acro yoga for scoliosisYou guys, I had the best time learning this style of yoga called acro yoga! My gym held an intro workshop and I have to admit, I was intimidated. I am very reserved in trying new physical activities. I have a tendency of holding myself back. It’s from an irrational thought that I’ve had for so long; that my body can’t do what everyone else’s can. However, listening to my body in my regular yoga practice has given me the confidence and attunement to know when I’m approaching my limits. And now I am hooked on acro! I can’t get over just how much fun I had trying the different poses. In this post I’m going to share the main takeaways that resonated with me as I reflected on what I loved about this activity that went a lot deeper than I was expecting.

1. I give away my power when I don’t acknowledge it

I was flying with my partner, which means I was up in the air being supported by his feet (think playing airplane when you were a kid), and I wanted my partner’s feet moved in a place that felt more secure. I struggled to communicate exactly what I wanted, but I could articulate that what I had wasn’t right. With a little coaching, I was able to get there, but the coaching didn’t fix my problem. The coaching guided me to fix my own problem and gave me the permission to take control where it was my responsibility to do so. And that’s where it hit home. Waiting for permission. While a part of this experience was learning something new, what I discovered was my instinctual response. When I’m looking externally for permission and focus on what is wrong (negative), I  struggle to articulate what would make it feel right (positive). If this is my natural tendency, I can’t help but wonder “where am I doing this in other areas of my life? In my work? In my personal projects? In my relationships?”

2. There is beauty in trusting myself

I have a hard time diving into something new when I don’t fully understand it, but sometimes I find myself throwing caution to the wind and jump right into the deep end. I trust I will figure it out in the process so I don’t give my mind a chance to reason out of it. I’ll be honest, sometimes this life approach backfires big time. In this case, it was a little unnerving when I saw that I’d be upside down while I’m figuring it out. Just the thought of being upside down makes me confused and unsure of myself. The fun surprise was in trying it and making mistakes along the way. I enjoyed learning and experimenting. I was living in a new found trust with myself.

3. The scariest things can sometimes be the most rewarding

There was one pose that had both me and my partner questioning if I could do it. It was a deep backbend inversion and we had concerns with my spinal fusion if I’d be able to get into the pose. I stood up straight on my two feet and leaned backward to show my partner how much movement I had to put his mind at ease. Even though I wasn’t totally sure if I could do it, I still wanted to give the pose a try. To both of our surprise, it felt the most natural and comfortable of all the poses that day. The instructor even commented on how comfortable I looked! Who knew? If we had gotten caught up in the hesitation of my spinal fusion, I never would have discovered just how nice this inversion feels. While I don’t want to be reckless, I do want to be aware of when I use my fusion as an excuse or if I genuinely am facing a limitation. Spinal fusion surgery doesn’t come with a reading manual for how to live, but I’m discovering my options are much less limited than I have led myself to believe.

4. I feel confident that my body will make it very clear what I can and cannot do

This activity was all very much out of my comfort zone. I’ve had a fear of trying physical activities since I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 13. My reservations really progressed when I became cautious about hurting myself before I had my fusion surgery. It’s only been through a recent dedication to my yoga practice, strength training, and meditation that I’ve learned what it means to listen to my body and to listen to the way it communicates. What I’ve discovered: my body is not subtle in its communication. I had deafened my ears to it for so long without realizing it had been crying out for years. Now that I know when my body is communicating its needs, I’m finding a lot more joy in the human experience.

Final thoughts

I am so glad I took this workshop and tried out acro yoga. I was so impressed by the inversion pose that I’ve been inspired to explore it more. I’d heard about the benefits of inversions, and I think there may be something to it that could help with scoliosis management. I get uncomfortable when I try backbends on my mat in yoga class, but inverting may be a way to reap the benefits of traction in a safe way. I’ve begun reading up on aerial yoga and found a studio nearby where I can practice inversion poses like the picture in this post. I’m eager to try it out and will post about it after I do :)

scoliosis hearts

Thank you for reading about my experience with acro! I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Do you think you would try acro yoga? What forms of exercise do you enjoy that make you feel strong and powerful?