Erin Myers’ Crooked Spine Led Her Straight to Fulfilling Work
For some, being on a stage and standing in the spotlight would be the “end-all, be-all,” dream-come-true moment. For Erin Myers, it was only the beginning of a much greater journey and purpose that she never could’ve imagined.
As a college senior living in New York City, Erin landed a job with the world-famous Radio City Rockettes. After an injury during her very first season, Erin came face-to-face with a spinal condition called scoliosis.
“I had a knee injury, but it turned out that there was so much more to the problem than I thought,” she said. She had been diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, as a teenager. But doctors at the time told her to “just wait and see” what would happen—advice that many teens and their parents with a scoliosis diagnosis still hear frequently. Well, what did happen in Erin’s case was a curtain call where she graced the stage in a knee brace to take a bow as a Rockette—much to the dismay of the director of the prestigious dance group.
As a professional dancer in her early 20s, Erin was told she couldn’t come back for a second season with the Rockettes unless she built up her strength. She knew she couldn’t continue to ignore her scoliosis and the ramifications it was having on her professional life, so she took up Pilates. What she gained was not only strength in her body, but a new passion that she would carry with her for years to come.
Erin trained in Pilates methods at the Kane School of Core Integration while she finished out a second season with the Rockettes. Since then, she’s devoted her career to teaching Pilates and sharing the benefits of body movement with countless other people—both those with scoliosis, and without. She owned and sold her own Pilates studio in Nashville, then continued to teach private lessons after becoming a mom. It was only after sharing her scoliosis story in her book, The Beautiful Scoliotic Back, that she realized the scoliosis community desperately needed her expertise.
“When it comes to scoliosis, the medical world doesn’t really acknowledge the importance of movement,” Erin said, adding that often, people with scoliosis are actually afraid to move their bodies and exercise for fear of exacerbating their pain or making the condition worse. She opened her new studio, Spiral Spine Pilates, in 2016, and she wants it to be a safe space for those who face the challenges of scoliosis.
Many adolescents and teens diagnosed with scoliosis are given three options: do nothing and hope that the spinal curvature doesn’t worsen, wear a painful back brace to try and prevent it from worsening, or undergo an incredibly invasive surgery to straighten the spine with rod and screw implants. “Our society, in general, feels powerless. And often after a diagnosis with something like scoliosis, emotional decisions are made just to get the situation under control as quickly as possible,” Erin said, “but we’re not helpless. There IS something we can do. Movement can help, and I want people to know that!” While medical intervention may be necessary in the end for some, Erin is determined to reach scoliosis patients before they make the decision to have a spinal fusion surgery. She hopes that—through Pilates and movement—these people can find healing without having to undergo such a life-altering medical procedure.
These days, Erin teaches group classes and private lessons at her Brentwood studio, and she seeks to educate those affected by scoliosis through her books, videos, classes, and regularly scheduled scoliosis workshops. “A lot of people need to learn more about scoliosis and just be encouraged,” she said. “Scoliosis has become this thing of darkness, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be beautiful, and it doesn’t have to define you. I’m here because I want to shine a light into the darkness.”