Pronouns: she, her, hers, or anything in love
The Hoop is Balance
The Hoop isMindfulness
The Hoop is Health!
Hooping is My Heaven
Kindness is My Religion
Nature is My Church
Love is My Language
Melody's Health Journey
"There are two types of pain in this world,
pain that hurts and pain that alters" .
"The hoop has taught me...
how to surrender to my chronic pain, honor my physical imitations, create space for myself, create comfort for my body, repair my self-esteem,
connect with my breath, balance my emotional body, melt into my voice, embrace my faults & trust in my boundaries.
The best part is, I found a low-impact activity that strengthens my back while having fun!
The hoop is a therapeutic tool for the physical, mental, emotional & spiritual bodies, if not better than therapy!"
"Over my years in the hoop community, the hoop has become this magical conduit, connecting me to others. I have hooped with many beautiful souls. One in particular stands out the most, a random synchronicity, that brought me to tears.
In 2016, I unexpectedly encountered 5X World Hoop Champion, Tony Duncan who taught me in his Native tradition, how the hoop represents balance. Discovering the hoop led me to discovering myself & the ability to balance the challenges & achievements of life. May you discover whatever brings you the most balance, joy, & comfort" -Melody
At age 12 I was diagnosed with mild scoliosis.
For 3 years I wore a hard plastic, full sized back brace.
I eventually had to sleep in it. I taught myself how to do cartwheels inside of it, as I was determined to not let it limit me.
Gym class was the only time the doctor's allowed me to be free of the brace. From 6th to 9th grade, in addition to my disability, I dealt with severe bullying, possibly from my condition, or possibly because some children lack the teaching & understanding of how to be kind & have empathy for humanity. I remember being on the school bus, encouraging one of my tormentors to punch me as hard as he could in my stomach. He didn't punch me but I will never forget the strength I felt that day.
Although it was a nuisance, the brace gave me a sense of protection but it was one I wished I didn't need to have.
Unfortunately, as I grew so did my "S" shaped spine.
At age 15 my curvature was 64 degrees and the Herrington Rod surgery was performed from T1 to L1. Post surgery, I grew taller unexpectedly and was in a tremendous amount of pain for the next 2 years.
A dependency to prescribed opiates & alcohol began and getting anyone to take my pain seriously became my reality. Therefore, I managed the pain on my own, until I couldn't. In 2002 it was determined the lower left rod was tearing into my muscles. A second surgery was performed, removing part of the lower left rod. After this, I continued to battle chronic pain along with anxiety, depression & insomnia caused from the pain, paired with an alcohol & drug dependency as a self-attempt to numb the pain.
In my late 20's, unexplainably, my upper right side began to rotate further & one of the upper rods was visibly protruding from my back along with the tremendous familiar pain, (as before my second surgery) this time in a new location.
When the pain was at it's worse, the entire right side of my body from knee to hip to back to shoulder would flare up. One day, I was unable to take a breath without a sharp, stabbing sensation throughout my ribs & low back. Our breath gives us life & our spine is the foundational structure that our body is built upon.
The knee, hip, back & shoulder flare ups all on the right side were unbearable! Despite the severe daily pain levels, I became accustomed to it, each day waking up unsure if that day I could drive, walk, lay down, go to work, or breathe without feeling pain.
I made daily adjustments accordingly & due to the insomnia from the pain, I avoided scheduling appointments or work before noon, as much as I was able. Maintaining a consistent schedule with work & life in general felt both unmanageable & impossible.
Living in tremendous pain was the norm for me, I tolerated it sufficiently until it began to affect my breathing. Over the next couple years, the handful of chiropractors, surgeons, scoliosis experts, pain clinics & invasive, traumatic medical tests resulted in no solutions. I recall leaving every appointment with hot tears streaming down my face & a deep feeling of hopelessness inside my gut. In fact, my surgeon concluded that based on the tricky location of the rod & the fact my spinal column had fused with the rod, an operation would do more harm than good & advised against it.
I was at a breaking point.
Now in grad school, I began drinking alcohol more frequently.
I had lost joy in life & any hope of ever feeling good inside my body.
I felt just as trapped as I did inside the back brace, only this time it felt like a life-long prison sentence.
The classes & exercises I engaged in at the gym, as well as physical therapy all seemed to create more strain & none of the exercises felt pleasant or fun. I longed for a healthy, low-impact activity that moved my body with passion & required my sober attention.
The hula hoop not only met my requirements, it surpassed them!
Discovering the hoop lunged me into a vortex of healing, connecting me to hoop events and people all over the country who practiced various holistic techniques & use non-western medicines, such as herbal homeopathic remedies & ceremonial plant medicines. More importantly, the hoop connected me back to my body, the one thing I've wanted to escape from since childhood, became more tolerable & little by little, the pain began to transition, becoming more infrequent & minimized!
Now at age 35, with the same rod protruding from my back, unable to be operated on, yet thanks to the supportive tools I have acquired, with one of my primary therapeutic tools being the hula hoop, I have been living nearly back, knee, hip & shoulder pain free the past 3 years!
This new lifestyle is so unfamiliar, I have yet to learn & maintain a consistent schedule or daily routine but this is the least of my worries.
Learning about my body, what it needs to feel good & how to make that happen became my first priority. I gave myself permission to be selfish & moved across the country, creating a home & work environment that nurtured my body, in a community that supported & deepened my inner knowing of myself & connection with my body.
*Finding what works best for your body to feel the most alive & free while engaging in movement or physical exercise is a key factor to a healthy lifestyle. As a Body-Centered Therapist, MSW & Certified Hula Hoop Instructor I'm here to support others in finding the holistic therapeutic tools they need to achieve optimal levels of health.
*I can now testify, that living an entire day, pain-free is possible! Discovering the hoop's health benefits of a core strengthening, low-impact, posture/balance improving, full-body, FUN, workout was exactly the form of therapeutic exercise my body, mind & soul longed for.
The hoop transformed my fitness routine & brought balance back into my body, breath, health & life! May you be happy, healthy, & peaceful. Sat Nam