How can yoga help with scoliosis?

Like most yogis, there is a special cue that drew me to yoga and the benefits I experienced made me stick with it. I have 30 degrees scoliosis in my thoracic spine, which, although not so bad, has been quite restricting for me in many aspects of my life. Scoliosis is a lateral deviation in the spine, which can happen at the thoracic or at the lumbar spine. The name ‘scoliosis’ is given because of the shape of the deformed spine, which resembles a warm shaping the letter S; ‘scolics’ in Greek means ‘warm’.

Unfortunately for me, I only got to know that I have scoliosis when I was 18 years old. At that age, my skeleton was almost fully developed. To correct for my curvature, I was advised to wear braces at the age of 18 to 20, which made me feel quite depressed…On top of that, my scoliosis has not decreased at all after two years and the back pain was still there.

Then I turned to physiotherapy, where I learned that scoliosis also comes with pelvic imbalance, difficulty in breathing, neck tension, and migraines, to name some. My past struggles all made sense now! Physiotherapy helped but I soon had to leave my country for studies. I needed some type of activity to sustain a proper body posture and reduce pain and discomfort at my back. After some searching and asking around, I discovered that yoga asana could be a great help in my case. I thought I should give it a try…

At first, I was quite hesitant and not regular on the mat. New to me postures, steady strong poses, deep stretches…After some years though I realized how beneficial it can be. I noticed that consistently, after my yoga sessions, I did not feel any pain at my back and I was more comfortable with my breathing. Migraines have reduced over time. My range of movements has increased. The more I was experiencing these benefits, the more I was attracted to yoga. I can frankly say that I became addicted to it and wanted to go as deeper as I could in my practice. I still had not good alignment perception, since my neutral posture was already imbalanced. I wanted to be able to perform the yoga asanas without supervision but still maintaining the correct alignment.

It was thus an easy decision for me to take the 200hr yoga teacher training course led by Tirisula Yoga. As the course was proceeding, I was becoming more aware of my stands. I learned that I had to perform the postures differently on each side of my body; apply more strength at my weak scoliosis side and stretch the strong side. I learned how to use props to slowly develop my shoulder stability and perform arm balances. I am getting stronger and more balanced every day. I am getting to know how to treat my body and honor it. I still have a long way ahead of me in my yoga journey. I am certainly not worried about my anatomical imbalance anymore because through yoga I get to know how to alleviate pain and discomfort in my body. And I learned that there are no body limitations if the correct technique is there!

 

Eleni C. (200hr YTTC April-May 2017)