As a private yoga and pilates teacher with many years of experience, it feels good to be challenged again! I recently acquired a new client who has a pretty severe scoliosis.
I worked with people with low back pain and fused vertebrae, but never with scoliotic patients, so I had to do some reading and online research on the issue. I ended up choosing a few basic principles in order to correct for scoliotic spine. Here are first 3 :
- Perform most exercises in neutral spine. Deep forward bends, backbends, side bends and twists will only exacerbate the condition. When working in neutral , make sure to support correct alignment (spine straight) by using props. For instance, in a supine position use one cushion under the left-side hip; one cushion under the shoulder blade on the same side; one cushion sideways under the rib hump on the right side.
- Work on spinal traction. Any exercise that lengthens the spine is good, such as hanging off the pull up bar, rings or TRX straps, downward dog off the strap (Iyengar style), folded leaf (AcroYoga). You can do core strengthening exercises in a hanging position (for instance, knee tucks and L-sits).
- Use breath to move the energy into right places. For instance, in case of a S-shaped spine, lie down on the left side (you may need to use a small cushion between your ribs and the hips), and breath into your left back ribcage. Imaging it enlarging and expanding with every inhale. While performing hanging exercises, also try bringing breath into areas of tightness, such as left lower back.