Yoga helps maintain optimal mental health and reduce pain for those struggling with Scoliosis, making it an ideal exercise for those with this condition.
The postures of yoga, or asanas, are designed to strengthen muscles that support the spine while improving balance and establishing healthy breathing patterns to experience relief from back pain.
There are many benefits of doing yoga, including improved posture, increased flexibility, lower stress levels and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Benefits of Yoga for Scoliosis Patients
Yoga also has a significant effect on those with Scoliosis due to the core muscles that are strengthened in yoga exercises and increase flexibility.
Stretch and strengthen the sides of the body
Yoga helps stretch and strengthen the muscles and joints in the body that are commonly affected by Scoliosis. The centre of these muscle groups is the front of the shoulder, upper back, chest and thighs.
Yoga also helps to improve the flexibility of the thoracic spine, which is another area where Scoliosis can tremendously affect patients.
In addition, spine mobility is important because it helps to improve balance and reduce back pain.
Yoga helps to reduce stiffness in the spine. In addition, as a form of exercise that increases flexibility, yoga reduces back pain and improves posture.
The spine is under constant stress for people with Scoliosis because of the spinal curve and poor posture that can occur. Yoga helps to release the tension on the spine and relieves stiffness.
Pain Relief & Management
Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and strength for people with Scoliosis. In addition, due to the strong core muscles developed in yoga, it is often used to manage back pain and reduce pain.
Correcting Muscle Imbalances
In people with Scoliosis, the spine is not symmetrical, and one side of the body may be longer than the other. As a result, it can affect posture and alignment of joints which can cause pain.
Yoga helps to correct muscle imbalances by stretching, strengthening and lengthening muscles affected by Scoliosis. It also helps to relieve pain caused by a muscle imbalance in those with Scoliosis.
The breathing techniques associated with yoga can help relieve tension and calm the mind, reducing pain caused by Scoliosis.
Yoga Poses / Sequences for Scoliosis
When doing Yoga Poses for Scoliosis, your range of motion will be limited. Therefore, it is essential to do poses you are comfortable with and only to the extent your body allows for stretching.
Also, be aware of your spinal curvature and see that you do not bend too far back because it may stress the spine.
Cat / Cow Pose
This pose is done slowly to stretch the spine. The head and neck are lengthened in downward dog, while the spine is being stretched in cat pose.
Child pose (Balasana)
The child pose is an excellent drop-back stretch for the spine as well as the shoulders and neck. It is a resting position that can be assumed when fatigued or to prepare for inversions and backbends.
To get in the child’s pose, kneel on the floor, sitting on your heels with your knees hip-width apart. Then, rest your torso between your thighs and sit down as close to your heels as possible.
Place your forehead on the floor between both hands. Breathe deeply for a few minutes.
Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
The cobra pose is an effective back-stretch, improving pelvic tilt and opening the chest area for more space in the thoracic spine.
To practice the cobra pose, lie flat on the ground with your face down and arms directly under your shoulders.
Feel a sense of weight and comfort in this position while extending the body, creating a curve by lifting each section of your spine from tailbone to head.
Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)
The half-forward bend is a backbend that opens up the chest, increasing flexibility in your spine and shoulders. It also improves balance and stability.
To do this pose:
- Begin by standing straight with feet hip-width apart.
- Bend at the waist and lower down until you can bring your torso parallel to the ground with legs straight.
- Hold for about 10-20 seconds before coming back into a standing position.
- Repeat eight times more slowly before holding the position for 20 seconds with 10-second breathing space between each repetition.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasna)
You can do the downward-facing dog with a belt around a door the same way as the cobra pose. The belt can be used to pull or lift you further up to lengthen and open your spine for more freedom while strengthening the back muscles.
Locust pose (Salabhasana)
The locust pose is an advanced backbend suitable for those who have good back strength. It works the back, abdomen and shoulders and stretches the chest.
To practice the locust pose, lie flat on the ground with your face down. Extend your legs behind you as much as possible while tightening your abdominal muscles.
Push up with your arms so that you are resting on your toes and forearms. Stretch out both legs long behind you while keeping constant pressure on your middle back to ensure it remains parallel to the floor at all times.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha)
Bridge pose is a backbend that strengthens the muscles of the lower back and lengthens the spine. It opens your chest, shoulders and hips in preparation for various inversions as well as forward bends.
To get into the bridge pose, lie flat on the floor with either your arms by your side or extended out to shoulder height.
Extend your right leg towards the ceiling while maintaining a firm grip on the right ankle with both hands. Next, lengthen your left leg to the side, keeping it straight.
Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths before switching legs. Then, repeat four times on both sides.
Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
The side plank strengthens the muscles of the spine and shoulders while simultaneously opening and lengthening the chest for a stronger core and posture.
To get into the side plank pose, begin by laying down flat on your right side with your left arm alongside your body.
Next, place your right hand beside you so that it is not touching the floor, then extend your left arm straight out to your side until it can handle the floor.
Roll onto your shoulder and return to the starting position. Repeat on another side.
Side-Reclining Leg Lift (Anantasana)
The side-reclining leg lift is an inversion that improves balance and strengthens the back muscles. It promotes better posture and posture correction for people with Scoliosis and improves pelvic tilt by stretching the inner thighs.
To get into side-reclining leg lift pose:
- Begin by lying flat on your side with both legs perpendicular to the ground.
- Extend your right leg straight up while keeping it as far from the floor as possible.
- Extend your left leg out to the side underneath you with toes up towards the ceiling.
Lift your left leg towards the ceiling as far as possible while maintaining a grip on your right ankle with both hands. Hold the position for ten breaths.
Then switch legs and repeat.
When doing side-reclining leg lift, keep in mind that the distance between your extended and flexed leg should be equal to the length of your torso. Keep that in mind, so you don’t hurt yourself or tighten muscles too much.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose stretches the hips and opens the chest and shoulders. It strengthens your core muscles, improves balance and posture.
To get into the mountain pose:
- Lie flat on the floor with both legs extended to different sides.
- Keep your arms straight in front of your body.
- Exhale as you press both legs toward the floor, being careful not to overextend.
- Press into the hands while holding onto elbows or wrists if necessary to avoid overextension.
Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths before coming back to starting position. Repeat on another side.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
The triangle pose is an inversion that improves your posture and stretches your lower back. It trains the core and spine muscles and strengthens the lower back for standing with good posture.
To get into Trikonasana, stand with feet hip-width apart straight ahead of you. Then, grab opposite elbows with hands to stretch arms out from the side.
To bring knees toward the outside of your hips, bend them at 90 degrees keeping your hips perpendicular to the ground.
Then, while keeping your chest facing upward towards the ceiling, bend forward at the waist and lower down until you can lower your torso down to the floor.
Bring toes of both feet together in front of the body while keeping knees in line with hip bones. Make sure to keep toes pointed forward while pressing them firmly into the floor.
You should place your hands beside you as your body comes parallel to the ground. Exhale as you press your hips forward, bringing your chest closer to your knees.
Lower back down to the floor as you inhale, and lower your chest into the knee area.
Repeat four times on each side.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose)
Virabhadrasana I is an advanced backbend that opens the chest and shoulders and lengthens the spine. It strengthens your core muscles, improves balance and posture.
To get into Virabhadrasana I, lie on the ground on your belly with arms stretched overhead. Start by pulling knees in towards your chest while keeping your hips flat on the floor.
Then, lower down slowly, keeping legs bent at right angles to the torso (90 degrees) as you stretch your upper body towards the ceiling.
Keep your head and neck relaxed as you move forward. Avoid looking straight ahead or up at the ceiling.
Be careful not to overstretch as this could cause injury to your back. Instead, position yourself so that the upper body is parallel to the floor, and hips come off the floor ever-so-slightly.
Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths before lowering your upper body back down onto the ground again with hands by sides. Repeat on another side.
Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)
Janu sirsasana is a gentle forward bend that improves circulation to the head, neck, chest and arms. In addition, it stretches shoulders, hamstrings and calves and strengthens the upper back and core muscles.
To practice Janu sirsasana (head to knee pose), begin by kneeling on the floor with your legs as far apart from each other as possible.
You can use yoga blocks or rolled up blankets under your knees for support if necessary.
Bend forward at the hips, grabbing your right foot with your right hand and left foot with your left hand. Move as far forward as possible while keeping your spine straight.
You can use yoga blocks or rolled up blankets under your knees for support if necessary. Make sure to keep a firm grip on both feet throughout the pose.
If you are using blocks, then elevate a little weight off your back while extending your arms further out instead of stretching on all fours in this position.
Hold for ten breaths before switching sides. Repeat four times on each side.
Tips for doing Yoga for Scoliosis
Take Private Lessons
Taking the help of an expert is recommended in case you are a beginner. A private yoga instructor can help you avoid injuries and show you the correct practices.
In addition, they can modify and suggest the postures if any difficulty arises while doing yoga.
Commit for Regular Practice
One of the best things about practising yoga is that it can be done at home or outdoors with minimum equipment.
You do not need to enrol for classes to start doing yoga; however, regular practice is essential.
Start slowly, and try to do just one or two poses at first when practising. It’s better to focus on just a few exercises instead of trying to do too much at once.
Avoid Poses that cause pain or discomfort.
To avoid pain, consult your yoga instructor on which poses you should avoid. For instance, if you suffer from low back pain, you should avoid forward bending poses like Child’s pose and wide splits.
However, you can practice the modified versions of these poses.Also, avoid extreme twists and bends until you get used to Yoga, especially for Scoliosis.
Yoga for Scoliosis is a gentle and safe practice that is beneficial for everyone. It helps with Scoliosis but also improves overall health and well-being.
Remember, not every pose is suitable for all bodies. So consult a professional yoga instructor or doctor if you have any questions about doing Yoga for Scoliosis.
And do not do anything that you feel pain from without guidance from a trained professional.
Do you practice Yoga for Scoliosis? Do you know other exercises or poses that can be beneficial for this condition? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.