I’m Gerardo, 35 years old.
I’ve suffered from scoliosis for over 20 years; when I was a child and until around I was 13 years old I didn’t really notice anything. By the time I started to “stretch” at 13, I had gone through some problems that had made me gain weight out of anxious eating, so I was pretty fat through my teenage years, and even though I noticed back pains, I attributed them to my excessive weight. At the same time, the obesity covered up the curved back, the hunch I was developing.
Only after I did a rather drastic diet that made me lose around 30kgs in 3 months, and I noticed that my back had a curve, it was noticeable now, and my back pains persisted, sometimes becoming unbearable.
Rather than getting praises for losing weight at school, I got teased a lot because of my curved back.
But what bothered me the most was the pain. I couldn’t be sitting too long, I couldn’t be standing too long, as my mid and lower back would start hurting unbearably. My only relief was laying belly down in bed. Sleeping like that became a habit, and even though now I know better, I still catch myself doing it sometimes.
When I was 19 or 20, I had developed a big complex about my back and I was paranoid about it. Everytime I talked with someone I would see them correcting their back posture, straightening up as they talked to me, and that made me feel self conscious, horrible, different, a freak of sorts. So I told my mom I wanted to fix it and we searched for a chiropracter. We found a pretty good one who used infrared and heat on my back, and taught me a few exercises; I even bought one of those posture correctors, you know, those things you strap around your waist and back and are supposed to “pull” you back.
Relief and slight improvement, if any, were always temporary, and to be honest, I was too impatient to be consistent and stick with the exercises and treatment. I quit.
I just decided to ignore anything related to my scoliosis.
Fast forward to 2015: I’m living and working in Indonesia, and after many invitations and friend singing praises about its multiple benefits, I decided to try out bikram yoga. It wasn’t really about my scoliosis, I just wanted to lose weight because the indonesian cuisine and the Jakarta city life can put extra weight on you very quickly if you’re not careful.
Now, my only yoga experience had been practicing Kundalini Yoga a few years before, and liked it quite a lot, plus I have a tendency to look for consciousness expansion, meditation, and related subjects. So I thought it would be pretty much the same.
In summary, my first bikram yoga class was a total fiasco: I left the room after only 30 minutes, I thought I was going to faint, throw up, and die, not necessarily in that order.
But after the pain and dizziness, I was surprised to discover I felt really, really good. Open. So I decided to go back the next day and do my best to stay the whole class, listen to the teacher and my body, not push myself too hard and breathe.
I did much better, and I knew I had discovered something. So I kept doing it until now.
It’s been 7 months now, and the funny thing is, I discovered on that second bikram yoga class, that more than 15 years ago I had done the cobra and the full locust poses as part of my treatment, and here I was doing a much more comprehensive series of exercises! The first three months some poses, like fixed firm and camel, were really painful to do, and I was so eager to do them that I injured myself a bit and had to take a week off, but when I charged back, I could feel every fiber and cell readapting and realigning with my new determination. Now I can do both postures without any problem.
So how’s my back now, you might ask? Well, the curve has noticeably decreased, specially after I took the 30-day challenge. More importantly, my back pains are gone. Pain kills pain, they say here. Very, very true.
Changes are visible, not only in regards to my back, which has incredibly improved, but also my entire being, body, mind and soul.
Oh, and did I lose weight? 25kgs and I feel great.
Bikram yoga started as a remedy but now is a way of life, it is the metaphorical oil that keeps every cog in my path running in harmony (hence yoga meaning “marriage, union). I am definitely never stopping. It works and it heals.
Stay healthy, strong, young, balanced and happy. Bikram yoga improves my back and I am thankful for that.