Yoga Asana and Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an excessive sideways curvature of the human spine. My sister, daughter and myself all have a different degree of Scoliosis. Scoliosis does not inhibit our lives in any way though severe scoliosis impacts the quality of life, putting pressure on the heart, diminishing lung capacity, and limiting physical activity. Ever since I am more aware of my body, I am exploring and healing through the practice of Yoga to prevent further deterioration.

There are six major areas of the body to focus on while doing the Yoga poses for scoliosis. These areas are very important in creating proper alignment, decreasing pain. and minimizing further curvature of the spine.
• Feet and Legs.
• Spine
• Psoas (Major and Minor).
• Scapula
• Abdominal Muscles
• Breath. Awareness

According to Adept Yogi Elsie Miller – she was diagnosed with a severe structural right thoracic scoliosis of 49 degrees with a compensating left lumbar curve when she was 15 and chosen to heal via Yoga instead of surgery. She is practicing and using Yoga to help others who suffered from scoliosis. I took a leaf out her book and added in my modifications and put into a flow which I will be using as a lesson plan to guide my daughter.

•Start with Child pose (Balasana). Feeling the stretch from spine and start lengthening as you exhale.
•Warm up with Cat Cow – loosen the spine and strengthening.
•Flow into downward facing dog Adho Mukha Svanasana
•Next Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) then come in Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose)
•In seated position, into forward bends series. Forward bends help you release deep tension in the back and shoulders. The longer you can stay in these poses, the deeper will be the release. Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose) & Paschimottanasana (Seated forward Bend) .
•Add in a Partner Yoga Pose – With your teacher or partner infront of you – Seated Stretch and strengthening the back depending on the side of the scoliosis.
•Next – Back bending series great for releasing back tension and strengthening spine series. Start with Salabhasana (Locust Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose), and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow Pose)
•Twists are very important for scoliosis because they help to derotate the spine. Blharadvajasana (Gentle Twist), Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist) and finally Marichyasana (Combination of twist and bind)
•Inversion series – Start with Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana), Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand). Fish Pose – Matsyasana to counter pose for Shoulder stand
•Finishing sequence – Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanmuktasana) and follow by Happy Baby Pose – Ananda Balasana both postures help to release the lower back.
•Finally Savasana (Corpse Pose)