The Top 4 Beginning Yoga Poses for Scoliosis Sufferers

Having scoliosis does not mean you can't try yoga. In fact, one of our readers suffering from severe scoliosis shared that yoga really helps him find his center, strengthen his core, decrease his pain, and focus on his breathing.

Scoliosis itself does not cause pain, but compensating for a curved spine may cause muscles in the body to become painful.

Tree pose in yoga improves balance and strengthens core muscles.
Read more about Yoga for Back Problems.

While nothing besides early bracing or surgery can change the curve of the spine that occurs with scoliosis, maintaining an overall healthier, stronger back and body can help you deal with the challenges and muscle pain that may come with living with scoliosis.

Our reader shared a few of his favorite beginner yoga poses that help strengthen and stretch his back muscles. It is important to start slow and easy, and as with any exercise, always check with your doctor first.

Here are 4 beginner yoga poses to try.

  1. Mountain Pose. This is a great pose for beginning your yoga practice. It helps with balance and core strength, and it is a beginning pose which requires you to stand tall and steady, like a mountain.
    • Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly separated. Relax your shoulders and allow your arms to hang, relaxed, by your sides.
    • Close your eyes, and envision yourself firmly planted in the ground, concentrating on your feet.
    • Lift up on to the balls of your feet, and then your toes, distributing the weight evenly across your feet.
    • Settle back down flat and find your balance. Fan out your toes.
    • Engage your thigh muscles, but do not lock your knees.
    • Lift your pelvic bone slightly toward your navel. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and relax your shoulders. Let your arms hang naturally.
    • Relax your facial muscles and take slow, fluid breaths.
    • Shift your weight to your left foot, and continue with the tree pose.
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Practicing yoga is a great way to strengthen the muscles that support the spine.
Read more about Back Muscles and Low Back Pain.
  1. Tree Pose. Another standing pose, tree pose helps with posture, strengthening your core, and improving your overall balance. It is also helpful with stress reduction.
    • After mountain pose, shift your weight to your left foot.
    • With your right hand, reach down and grab your right ankle. Lift your right foot up and place the sole of your foot against your left thigh. If you can’t reach up to your thigh, try putting your foot against your calf instead.
    • Stretch and lengthen your spine. Draw the pelvic bone inward and point your tailbone toward the floor.
    • Place your palms together in front of your chest and move your shoulder blades together.
    • Gaze forward and take slow and steady breaths. Repeat on the other side.
  1. Cat/Cow Pose. This pose opens up the spaces between your vertebrae and stretches the muscles and tendons that support your spine.
    • Kneel with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips (also known as table top pose).
    • Look down towards your yoga mat and spread the fingers. Engage your abdominal muscles.
    • As you inhale, lift your head and tailbone, making your lower back concave.
    • As you exhale, tuck your tailbone release your neck, and drop your head while rounding your back.
  1. Child’s Pose. This is an incredibly relaxing pose for everyone and is best to do after cat/cow pose.
    • Begin seated on your heels.
    • Stretch the arms and hands out in front of you.
    • Bend your upper body forward and lower your chest close to your knees.
    • Continue to stretch your arms forward. Breathe deeply and relax as you feel your back and spine muscles lengthening.
    • Relax your entire body.

If you try these poses and like them, seek guidance from an experienced yoga instructor to learn more. A yoga instructor can also help with modifications of different poses if needed. Once you are comfortable moving through different poses, you will be able to take some time anywhere to stretch and relax.

Continue to expand your yoga practice. Many patients who begin a yoga practice feel more relaxed, healthy, and report an improved mood.

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