Any good yoga teacher will tell you that an injury or quirk in your body is your greatest teacher. It will help you build patience and a practice designed especially for you. Scoliosis (spine curvature) doesn’t have to prevent you from being the yoga practitioner you want to be. In fact, some postures are pretty much made for you!
If you’re doing yoga for scoliosis treatment, these poses can help realign your spine and alleviate discomfort.
But first things first, check yourself out in the mirror.
We wouldn’t normally recommend practicing in front of a mirror (it can detract and make you a little self-critical). With a spine curvature, however, you can watch your reflection and adjust if necessary.
Usually, you’ll want to lengthen the spine before you enter any pose or make any movement.
1 and 2. Get your Cat-Cow geared up.
A subtle pose with positive impact.
With your hands under your shoulders, push the ground away, moving chin to chest, and rounding your upper back into cat. Then, drop the belly down into cow pose and broaden the collarbones to release tension. Keep moving with the breath to make it extra delicious.
3. Ease into Balasana (Child’s Pose).
One of the kindest poses for the entire spine.
Widen your knees and have your big toes touching behind you. Inhale deeply through the nose and on the exhale, ease back with your hands outstretched in front of you. Send your awareness to the breath and relax it along the spine. Ahhhhh!
4. Stretch out the torso with Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).
When you stretch towards the side in trikonasana, you’ll emphasize the pose differently depending on which side of the spine is concave and which side is convex. If you find it tricky, find a wall and lean into it with the angled back foot for extra support.
5. Grab the props for Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand).
A juicy shoulderstand towards the end of your practice will release neck and shoulder tension, which is common for those with spine curvature. Grab the bolsters, blocks, belts, and blankets to support the pose. Let your chest open and expand, and find what feels good.
A spine curvature can feel like a hindrance sometimes, but it actually encourages you to build a smarter asana practice. Make it a point to explore what your body needs, working with your teacher to iron out any frustrating kinks. As always, approach with care and consult a health professional if you’re new to yoga. Happy practicing!