Yoga to correct kyphosis

Continuous sitting or driving often results in round back or excessive kyphosis, the thoracic deviation most often seen.

Kyphosis is characterized by an increased thoracic curve, protracted (abducted) scapulae and internally rotated shoulders. It can also be accompanied by a forward head sometimes linked to head and shoulder tension and pain.

While anterior muscles are shortened, posterior muscles are overstretched and weak.
Yoga asanas can help correct these muscles imbalances by:
– strengthening the middle trapezius and rhomboids (to retract the scapulae)
– strengthening the posterior deltoid (to externally rotate the shoulders)
– strengthening the external rotator cuffs infraspinatus and teres minor
– strengthening the lower trapezius and pectoralis minor (to depress the scapulae)
– strengthening the thoracic erector spinae (to extend the thoracic spine)
And also by:
– stretching the pectoralis major and anterior deltoid
– stretching the latissimus dorsi
– stretching the teres major and the internal rotator cuffs subscapularis
– stretching the scapulae elevators (levator scapulae and upper trapezius)
– stretching the sternocleidomastoid

Thoracic breathing will also be very helpful to open the chest and the shoulders and to relieve the tension in the neck and shoulders.

Every yoga asana creating an opening of the chest & shoulders and an activation of the spine muscles will be useful to reverse kyphosis. Some good examples are:
– Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
– Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
– Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
– Setu Bandasana (Bridge Pose)
– Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) is also a good pose. It can guide in finding systematic proper postural awareness on a daily basis: Open the chest (roll the shoulders back and down, retract the scapulae), engage the abdominals (baby Uddiyana bandha), engage the quadriceps and lengthen the spine while keeping it in neutral.

It is also important to note that prolonged sitting hours tend to tight hip flexors & hamstrings and weak or overstretched abdominals, gluts and quadriceps. Correction of these imbalances will definitely help correct kyphosis. The body is a kinematic chain: What happens in the lower limbs have consequences up to the crown of the head.

Amelie