How Yoga May Help: Scoliosis
Yoga may offer two primary types of support:
- Inspiring a sense of well-being.
- Relieving symptoms and slowing the curve progression.
Students new to yoga may be unfamiliar with how acceptance and self-love contribute to tangible benefits associated with an experience of well-being. Denial, judgment or a desire for perfection may be so mixed into a person’s perceptions and belief systems that they cannot imagine there is another way.
Over time, however, those on a healing journey tend to learn that the process is about much more than “curing” a disease. They may come to find that healing includes a gracious acceptance of what is, learning to love and nurture ourselves, and trusting in ourselves. Over time, practices and treatments on a physical level may be experienced more as an interesting outcome, secondary in importance to an overall sense of well-being.
Don’t Concern Yourself Too Much with Perfection
Acknowledge that you are perfect just the way you are. Although alignment is always a good goal to have in a yoga practice, recognize that concerning yourself too much with perfection is anti-yogic in itself… I embrace the curve handed to me and recognize that some of the most beautiful things in nature are asymmetrical. – John Zadroga
Overcoming Denial and Judgment
The goal of yoga practice should not be to straighten our backs; we must learn to accept them as they are, not deny them or judge them. Instead, we must work to understand our backs and to relate to them with sensitivity and awareness. Healing is much more than straightening a scoliosis, or curing a disease. It is learning to love and nurture ourselves and trust our inner knowing to guide us to a vibrant state of being. – Elise Browning Miller
Symptom Relief & Slowing the Curve Progression
Asana and pranayama may help to manage mild symptoms and to slow the progression of scoliosis. How much yoga can help depends on the severity of the problem, but in general it can help to:
- Decrease pain.
- Minimize further curvature of the spine.
By combining the yoga postures with breathing awareness, one can develop a structural alignment, creating a more normal symmetrical alignment. This is accomplished by stretching muscles that have tightened and strengthening muscles that have become weak from this asymmetrical imbalance. Thereby the body will create a more effortless posture using the bone structure, rather than overworking the muscles to hold itself up. Through yoga, one can find that balance point that allows the scoliosis curve to coexist with gravity and activates the body’s natural plumb line. The result for most people with scoliosis is better posture and less pain. – Yoga International, Yoga for Scoliosis