Yoga & Scoliosis
Movement and yoga have saved my structural life. "Structural life” refers to my ability to inhabit my body in a pain-free way, to move through space with suppleness and flexibility, and to find joy in movement—both simple and complex. I have been dancing and moving since I was born, but it was not until I seriously committed to the practice of yoga that I was truly able to arrest the progression of my scoliosis.
Yoga is the perfect synergy of opposites. This magnificent discipline encourages the body to boost the level of flexibility, to increase length, while at the same time challenging the body to become stronger and more grounded.
For those who have scoliosis it is imperative to keep the body moving. A sedentary lifestyle will only make the condition worse. Without exercise, muscles will weaken, bones will become brittle and pain may become constant. But it is also important to choose a practice that does no harm. Jogging, for example, is not a good idea. Yes, it is a great weight-bearing exercise that may counter osteoporosis, but for those of us with scoliosis, it is simply too percussive and jarring to the spine. Yoga, on the other hand, promotes a calm and deliberate relationship to the body—a conscious practice. This kind of consciousness is the radical first step in moving toward structural health.
Scoliosis manifests differently in different bodies. Each curve follows it own rules. In my private sessions, my clients and I take the practice of yoga and adapt it in various ways to suit their specific condition, essentially making yoga fit the person. We adjust the yoga postures to support harmony and symmetry. The “new body” that this creates, comes equipped with stronger core muscles, ease of movement and a more balanced posture. Our goal—working towards symmetry, suppleness and strength—can result in less back pain, less discomfort, and a new-found confidence.
If you would like to work privately with me, I recommend committing to three sessions. The first session will take two hours. I like to take the time, at our initial meeting, to get a full history of your life with scoliosis, to study your spine, to take you through a series of gentle movements and postures that test your flexibility and your strength, and watch your movement patterns. This gives me the knowledge to create a program specifically for your body.
The next sessions will provide you with the tools to execute the basic yoga postures in ways that urge your spine to lengthen, your weak muscles to strengthen and your tight and over-developed muscles to soften. We will use props like blocks, straps, blankets and balls, and find creative ways to modify each posture, in order to begin to restore balance and grace to your body.