While early surgery and bracing are the standard procedures to treat the curved spine that occurs in scoliosis, maintaining a stronger back and good overall health can help you deal with the pain and challenges that may come with the condition. Now, what better way to stretch and strengthen your back muscles that low-impact yoga? Here are some yoga poses for scoliosis and other chronic conditions:
1. Mountain Pose
This standing pose is a great starting point to start a yoga sequence for scoliosis, helping you improve your balance and core strength. First, you should stand tall and steady, with your heels slightly separated and your big toes touching. With your shoulders relaxed and your arms hanging by your sides, close your eyes and envision yourself planted firmly in the ground, concentrating on your feet. Lift up on to your feet’s balls and then your toes to distribute the weight across your feet evenly, and then settle back down flat to find your balance and fan out your toes. Making sure your knees are not locked, engage your thigh muscles, slightly lifting your pelvic bone towards your navel. Holding this position, you should keep your chin parallel to the floor, with your shoulders relaxed and your arms hanging naturally. Finally, relax the muscles of your face and then slowly take fluid breaths.
2. Tree Pose
This standing pose can help with your posture by strengthening your core and enhancing your overall balance. You can do this after the Mountain Pose by shifting your weight to your left foot. Reach down with your right hand to grab your right ankle and then lift your right foot up, placing its sole against your left thigh. If you cannot reach up to your thigh, you can instead put your foot against your calf. To stretch and lengthen your spine, draw your pelvic bone inward and then point your tailbone towards the ground. With your palms placed together in front of your chest, move your shoulder blades together. Then, gaze forward and slowly take steady breaths. Repeat the sequence on your other side.
3. Cat-Cow Pose
By performing this yoga pose, you can open up the spaces between your vertebrae and stretch the tendons and muscles supporting your spine. First, do the Table Top Pose, where you should kneel with your knees below your hips and your hands below your shoulders, and then look towards the floor and spread your fingers. To engage your abdominal muscles, inhale and lift your tailbone and head in a way that you make your lower back concave. When exhaling, release your neck and drop your head while your back is rounded and your tailbone tucked.
4. Child’s Pose
From the Cat-Cow Pose, sit on your heels and stretch your arms and hands out in front of you. Then, bend your upper body forward with your chest lowered close to your knees. Continuing to stretch your arms forward, take deep breaths and relax as you feel your spine and back muscles lengthening.
When performing yoga with scoliosis, it is important to start slow and easy, and consult your doctor beforehand. You can also seek guidance from an instructor to learn more.