Attending Yoga for Scoliosis workshops with Elise Browning Miller in 2018

Attending Yoga for Scoliosis workshops with Elise Browning Miller in 2018

With regular practice, you can ease the pain of a crooked back and turn it into a powerful teacher. ~ Elise Browning Miller in Yoga Journal


So much to learn, so little time. January 2018 I attended Yoga for Scoliosis workshop 1 & 2 by Elise Browning Miller in Athens. I have waited a long while for the opportunity to participate in these workshops in Europe. Mostly since Elise Browning Miller is located in the USA and these workshops aren’t organized a lot in Europe. I remember that, when my worst pain started and google was my best friend, I came across yoga for scoliosis and the name Elise Browning Miller a lot. It might even be her short introduction video on her website in which she says ‘I always like to know why’, and I totally thought ‘that is so me!’. Because I always felt a lot of people in the medical world could never really explain scoliosis to me in a way that I could understand it or they couldn’t provide arguments for certain treatment plans or exercises.

As that might sounds like I cultivated a lot of high expectation, in the mean time I also already gained a lot of knowledge through reading research and already attended yoga for scoliosis classes in NYC and online. So for these workshops I decided, I would just take everything in and afterwards reflect upon what was learned. I saw others taking notes and pictures, but to me this took away from my focus. I wanted to listen carefully, take in instructions, experience the poses and learn the adjustments as a teacher.

Here are a few key points, that I took away from the workshops and want to share with you. If you have experienced yoga for scoliosis, I’d like to hear if you agree with me. If you haven’t experienced yoga for scoliosis, I hope this will give you more insight in what to expect and possibly some motivation to give it a try sometime.

Know your curve

Elise Browning Miller. 2016. Yoga for Scoliosis Volume 1. Four Major Structural Curve Patterns, p. 27

First of all. Know your curve. You don’t necessarily need to before attending a class, because you will learn during a class. I mostly mean, that you will learn the workings of your back and the specifics of your curve before the real practice starts. This is because the instructions will be focused on specific types of curves (Elise distinguishes 4 types that are most common. See picture) to which adjustments need to be made. Therefore, without the knowledge of your curve all the instructions will make no sense. So get ready to learn.


Use (a lot of) props

As I mentioned in one of my first posts about yoga for scoliosis (read here…), we like to cheat. Or at least our body does. Thus, we need guidance from props to help us with alignment and moving out of our scoliotic pattern. Meaning that in order to achieve a certain pose sometimes a lot of props are needed. I actually find it quite fun to figure out how to support my body in the best way possible and for others as well. Since our bodies are all a little bit different, whether it is in length or anything else, there is always a personal touch to the use of props. And as I wrote previously, because of the different type of curves there is a need for individual instructions to sensing what type of support the body needs.

Everyone can do it

Honestly, it is just practice. Especially with the props that can be used, every pose can be modified. This way everyone can start where they need and can work their way through the pose at their own pace.

Have fun

How about a tumble into a pose? Why not. If it works for the pose. I really enjoyed this playful touch during the practice. I feel like scoliosis can sometimes be made into a heavy and darkened topic, while it doesn’t need to be. It is just something that I carry with me and I can make it as light or heavy as I want. I choose to make it light and let it show me the way of understanding the body. By making it fun, it also makes it easier to commit to a practice and dive into the wonderful journey of yoga.