Do you have scoliosis but are not quite sure how to adapt your yoga practice? Or maybe you're a complete beginner but have heard that yoga will help with those aches and pains? Here are 5 scoliosis exercises which you can try at home.
Adjusting your Yoga practice for scoliosis
Yoga is great for relieving muscle aches and pains and improving your posture. Scoliosis is a bit more complicated as there are twists and turns in the spine of course. This post is all about How yoga can help with scoliosis so take your time to read this if you're not quite convinced 🙂
General yoga is great of course but if you really want to work on improving your scoliosis symptoms we have to adjust our yoga poses to our best advantage. To be able to do this it really helps if you understand your curve. If you've been officially diagnosed with scoliosis you might know where exactly your curves are located. Have a look at Understanding Your Scoliosis Curve which will help to know what to look out for.
Don't worry if you haven't had an x-ray though. With regular practice you will become much more aware and will instinctively know how to adjust your poses.
Your 5 go-to Yoga poses for Scoliosis
1. Half Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This is a pose that really helps to lengthen the sides of the body and realign the spine. You can start with the hands slightly higher on the wall and the feet a bit closer and then gradually work your way further down once you and your hamstring feel ready!
Slide the shoulder blades down at the back and really move the crown of the head away from the tailbone. What we are looking for here is a lovely long spine. If you have a left lumbar curve start to lengthen the right hip back a little more than the left. If you have a right thoracic curve move your hands slightly to the right. Breathe here and then slowly come out. This doesn't look like that much but it's a strong pose so gradually start to increase the time you're holding it. Don't overdo it straight away!
2. Cat Cow Pose
This pose is great for mobilising the spine and I don't think I've ever taught any class without it! If you're starting out with this, don't worry too much about the location of your curve. Just enjoy moving slowly and mindfully with your breath.
Breathe in to lift your chest and slightly arch the spine, exhale to round your spine and pressing the floor away from you. Once you're comfortable with the pose you can think about lengthening the right waist if you have a left lumbar curve or opening the left shoulder a bit more if you have a right thoracic curve.
3. Child's Pose
This is a lovely restorative pose which helps to relieve lower back pain. Come into kneeling on the floor. Slightly separate the knees and send the hips all the way back on to the heels. If the hips don't go all the way back try rolling a blanket and put it in between your lower legs and hips.
Move the arms slightly over to the right for a right thoracic or C curve (adjust accordingly if your curve is to the left.
4. Side-lying over a bolster
If you don't have a yoga bolster roll up a nice big fluffy bath towel. Lie on your side with the peak of the curve on the bolster or towel roll. Stay for at least 5 minutes. Repeat on the other side but don't stay as long.
You can play around with the position of the bolster so it's slightly higher up or lower for lumbar curves.
5. Inversion (Viparita Karani)
We call an inversion when the feet and pelvis are slightly higher than the heart. This helps circulation, the lymphatic system and the nervous system. This particular inversion also helps to take the weight out of the pelvis and is great if you suffer from hip and lower back pain.
To practice this pose use a bolster or rolled up bath towel and a chair. Please the bolster in front of the chair as shown in the picture below. Bring the whole of the pelvis onto the bolster resting the lower legs on the chair. It is important that the tailbone is lower than the pubic bone so that there is still a natural lumbar inward curve and that the whole of the lower legs are supported.
Prop yourself up with cushions if your legs are long! Try to create a right angle between the upper legs and the lower legs. I was comfortable in the picture below but could have probably added another cushion under my legs. Stay in this position for at least 5-10 minutes.
* Make sure not to practice any inversions on the first couple of days of your period.
I really hope that you will find these yoga poses both useful and enjoyable! If you have any questions regarding yoga for scoliosis then feel free to comment below and get in touch with me.
I teach private classes in South West London / Kingston and via Skype. To book a class or find out more please send me and email to firstname.lastname@example.org