Yoga for Scoliosis

Yoga has become an effective alternative to relieve chronic pain associated with scoliosis.

Teenage girl using yoga rope wall to do yoga exercises for scoliosis with Cristina Roy assisting her

Yoga for Scoliosis is a growing specialty that provides a holistic approach to ease structural imbalances caused by curves in the spine.  When working with scoliosis it is important to understand the pattern of the curves and where they are located.  Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, with a rotation of the vertebrae that causes head to toe imbalances. The curvature is oftentimes either one curve, creating a “C” shape, or two curves, creating an “S” shape.  When the curve is located in the mid-back (thoracic curve), the ribs often rotate toward the back of the body, creating a convexity (rounded back) on the side of the curve. On the opposite side of the curve, the ribs compress and move towards the front of the body, causing a concavity on that side. The muscles on the concave side have to work continuously to counteract the curvature.  This causes the muscles to be tight and fatigued.

In a general yoga class poses are performed the same on each side.  However, for individuals with scoliosis, the poses need to be performed differently on each side, depending on the pattern and location of the curves.  For this reason, it is best to work with a yoga instructor who knows how to modify the poses for scoliosis.

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Back of teenage girl showing BEFORE picture of scoliosis

Before

Yoga for scoliosis

After

How Yoga for Scoliosis Helps

Yoga for scoliosis attends to structural and muscular imbalances. Utilizing a yoga rope wall and other techniques, poses are performed that provide traction to elongate the spine. Poses that emphasize alignment and balance are then practiced helping to strengthen the muscles around a new pattern. Practicing the poses with careful alignment brings balance to the muscles and bones, taking undue burden off the overworked muscles. Combined with body and breath awareness, these specialized techniques provide relief and improve posture.

It is important to work with a teacher who is knowledgeable in proper alignment and ways to modify poses for those with spinal imbalances. Trained in Yoga for Back Care and Scoliosis, Cristina Roy offers programs to help individuals alleviate pain and ease structural imbalances.

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For more on yoga and scoliosis, see our article on ‘Modifying a yoga pose for scoliosis’

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