Scoliosis is a lateral deviation of the spine with a rotational component. For more detailed information about scoliosis, visit the Scoliosis Research Society (www.srs.org) and the National Scoliosis Foundation (www.scoliosis.org). My teacher, Elise Miller, also provides information on her website, www.yogaforscoliosis.com.
PRACTICING YOGA FOR SCOLIOSIS
Aside from the imbalances in the spinal structure, scoliosis causes many other imbalances in the body. These imbalances can lead to pain, discomfort, and other serious physical problems.
People with scoliosis must be careful to avoid physical movements that exacerbate the scoliotic curves of the spine. The body tends to want to move in the direction of the curves. In a yoga practice it is tempting to go as deeply as you can into a pose. However, in asymmetrical poses, going deeply as you can often means that you are moving with the curve and reinforcing the existing imbalances.
Practicing yoga with an awareness of these imbalances can ease pain and help prevent further discomfort. Taking time to pay attention and care for your body is well worth the effort. One real benefit it gives you tools to care for yourself.
Practicing yoga for scoliosis will not necessarily straighten the spine, though some people do report actual improvements in the degree of curvature. This is especially the case with adolescents. Yoga will create changes in the soft tissues such as muscles and fascia. Overall, it will help bring about greater ease in movement and comfort.
I teach workshops on yoga for scoliosis. I am also available for individual instruction. In yoga for scoliosis workshops, I begin by helping students understand the basic anatomy of their curves. I then teach movements that address the curves and show students how to modify traditional yoga poses according to individual needs.
I encourage my private students to attend my public classes where they can incorporate what they have learned in a private session. During public classes I often give special adjustments based on what was covered in a private session.