Scoliosis Yoga Exercises: The Shortest Distance to Good Health and Good Looks
Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine where the spine forms an “S” curve, which twists the spine and rib cage, making both sides of the back uneven. Those who suffer from scoliosis not only suffer physical pain, but also emotional pain caused by self-consciousness from the physical appearance of the condition. Yoga, with its emphasis on alignment on posture and balance, is an excellent de-stressor and pain reliever for those suffering with Scoliosis. Specifically, scoliosis yoga exercises increase awareness of imbalances in the body, improve overall flexibility, mobility, relieve chronic pressure and help improve self esteem.
Scoliosis exercises incorporate both seated and standing poses that help lengthen the spine by stretching the muscles between the ribcage and spine, which help to make the back more even. Here are several helpful poses for those dealing with scoliosis. As always, consult with a physician or yoga instructor prior to beginning any new exercise program.
The Cat/Cow position requires kneeling with the shoulders above the hands and hips above the knees. Next, lift the tailbone high enough (but not uncomfortably) to make the back concave, then exhale, rounding out the back. Repeat this pose several times to stretch the spine. To move into “child’s pose,” (Vajrasana), move the hands out and stretch them in front, making certain the fingers are spread apart and inhale deeply into the back, making certain to stretch the arms and pelvis away from each other. Then move the buttocks halfway toward the heels during exhalation. Doing this pose stretches the muscles between the ribs and spine, which evens out the back.
Another beneficial pose in scoliosis yoga exercises is the Triangle Pose (Trikonasana). For this exercise, begin in Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana) Stand with both legs approximately shoulder width apart, arms horizontally outstretched on either side of the body. Keep the torso upright and balanced. During inhalation, bring the arms over the head and parallel to the shoulders. Exhale and bend the leg to create a 90-degree angle. Press the heal of the back foot to the floor (imagine pressing your heel down into the floor while simultaneously pressing your navel back into your spine) while lifting the spine. This exercise is excellent for deep muscle penetration, lengthening the spine and opening up compressed ribs on the underside of the body while decreasing the rib protrusion on the opposite side.
Forward bends are also excellent scoliosis yoga exercises. They help release deep tension in the back, neck and shoulders. Begin by standing in an upright position. Inhale deeply, then hinge forward at the hips. Try to touch the fingertips to the floor, however only do what is comfortable. Hold the pose as long as possible for maximum benefit.
Scoliosis is a painful condition on a number of different levels. However, there are great yoga exercises that help “straighten things out” when life throws curves.