If you have been told that you should start yoga to help you with your scoliosis then you might feel a little overwhelmed as you don't know where to start... Which style should you practice? What poses are good and bad? Can you just go on YouTube and start practising? I hope this blog post will help you get started!
1. Consult your doctor first!
Sorry this is the boring one... but please please please before you do anything else make sure that you speak to your doctor to see what they say. Yoga is not a treatment of scoliosis (even though it can improve symptoms) it doesn't replace physical therapy or other treatments - it complements them! Ask your doctor which movements are recommended and which ones are not for your scoliosis. If you have acute pain make sure to get this treated first before you get started.
2. Find a local yoga teacher
Your best and safest option will be to find a local yoga teacher that specialises in Yoga for Scoliosis. If you can't find anyone find someone who specialises in back pain or Yoga Therapy. Some yoga teachers like myself offer online consultations and practice. This is a great alternative if you can't find anyone locally but having someone there with you should always be your first call.
3. What style of yoga?
There are many different styles of yoga. Here is a little list to give you an idea of some of them! Make sure to find out as much detail about the class that you want to join. Generally slow classes like Hatha Yoga or Iyengar Yoga are the most suitable for scoliosis.
4. Group Class or Private Class?
Group classes can be great for motivation, meet other yoginis and are less expensive! In private classes the teacher will create a practice which is completely tailored to your needs. If you can, then start with one-to-one classes until you feel comfortable joining a group class.
5. What about YouTube?
There is a vast amount of yoga videos available on YouTube. Some are great, some are not so great. It takes quite a lot of effort and time to find a good teacher who consistently posts on YouTube I find! Yoga with Adrienne is great if you feel fit and healthy overall. If you are in acute pain stay away from general YouTube videos and return to point 1. and 2. until you feel better.
I have started to post short videos on my YouTube channel which you might find useful. Bear in mind that I keep them relatively general (even though tailored for scoliosis) and that I don't know your symptoms or medical history.
6. Are there any good and bad yoga poses for scoliosis?
Wouldn't it be lovely if there was just a list of poses that we should do and then we would be fine?! Unfortunately it's not as easy as that. I have suggested a few poses in this post BUT every body (with scoliosis or without) is different so what might work for one person doesn't necessarily work for the next person.
What is much more important than which pose you practice is HOW you practice the pose. And with that I mean awareness. Constantly monitoring your self. Does it feel good? Does it feel bad? Why does it feel bad?
So yes, any yoga pose that hurts is bad!
What makes a yoga pose a good yoga pose? If you feel better after the pose than you did before!
7. Find a buddy or support network
If you have a friend with or without scoliosis that can join you for the yoga class then great! Everything is better when you can share it 🙂 if you just feel overwhelmed with the amount of information about scoliosis out there then you can join a facebook group to virtually meet some others that are going through the same thing!
You can also join my free facebook group which I set up to help with Yoga for Scoliosis, support and motivate each other.
8. If you do practice on your own...
Make sure that you listen to any signals that your body might give you. Pain is a no no! If you feel sharp pain then stop what you are doing! Stretch, dull aching might be a sign that you are working through tension that needs to release.
Move slowly in and out of the poses.
Make a note of how you are feeling before and after each pose.
Don't underestimate the power of Savasana... sometimes doing less is more.