The spine: Yoga for scoliosis

The spine is made of 3 different parts: the 7 cervical vertebrae, the 12 thoracic vertebrae, the 5 lumbar vertebrae, the sacrum and the coccyx. The upper 24 vertebras are separated from each other by intervertebral discs.
The spine main function is to support the body and maintain its shape.
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine creating a posture imbalance where the body compensates for the weaker part. This unbalance can create pain as the nerves can be compressed and muscles can be tensed.
Yoga can help reduce the pain and improve posture and balance for people with scoliosis with simple asanas that lengthen the spine and stretch muscles that have become weak due to asymmetrical imbalance.
Lengthening the spine helps opening the compressed space between the vertebras, making room for the spine to grow. Deep breathing exercises and continuous breathing during asanas can also help stretch the intercostal muscles and the chest will be more open.
Strengthening muscles of the back and abdominal muscles helps maintain a proper posture and movement. Having strong abdominal muscles will reduce the compensation most people with scoliosis do with overworking the back muscles, creating tightness.
Practicing yoga improves posture, sense of balance and stretch and strengthens both sides of the body equally.
Poses to help correct scoliosis:

  • Cat/cow
  • Balasana
  • Side plank
  • Trikonasana
  • Virabhadrasana I
  • Sarvangasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Ustrasana
  • Urdha dhanurasana
  • Chair twist
  • Janu sirsasana
  • Savasana

A study done by Dr. Loren Fishman of the Columbia University college of physicians and surgeons of NY, revealed that performing a single yoga pose for 90 seconds for at least 3 days per week could reduce spine curvature in patients with scoliosis in as little as 3 months.
Elodie Warner 20/03/2016

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