Yoga for Scoliosis is a specialized yoga class for individuals with scoliosis, a condition in which the spine curves laterally (side-to-side) and rotates. Scoliosis affects 2-3% of the worldwide population and can be a source of discomfort or pain for many. If you have scoliosis, Yoga for Scoliosis is an excellent way to learn about your specific curve pattern. It can also be an effective way to manage pain or discomfort associated with scoliosis. Our Yoga for Scoliosis classes are derived from the Iyengar style of yoga, so the classes look different from a typical vinyasa flow class which has come to be the "default" yoga class in our Western culture. An emphasis is placed on building awareness of the spine and how the spinal curvature affects posture, gait, strength, breath, on and off the mat. Once the student begins to understand their patterns, he or she can use that knowledge and make informed adjustments in a regular flow class and in daily life.
What is the format of a class?
In a typical 75 minute class, we may do 8-10 poses. In each pose, we make modifications based on on your curve pattern and we stay in the poses for many breaths. This allows you time to go inside, make connections, and feel your spine. We use props, ropes and the wall to make adjustments particular to your curve pattern. The props help you learn how to activate the muscles and the breath and how to position your body to best embody the poses for your spine. This takes practice, like everything else.
Can/should someone with scoliosis take "regular" yoga classes?
Yoga for Scoliosis is an excellent compliment to regular yoga classes. Without the knowledge gained doing work specific to your curve pattern, there are poses in a regular class that can reinforce or exacerbate your imbalances. Using attention and props, a Yoga for Scoliosis class helps you learn how to activate the muscles and the breath and how to position the body to best embody the poses for your spine. Once you begin to understand and feel how the props are "waking up" the body, you can use that knowledge and make informed adjustments in a regular flow class and daily life.
I've never done yoga, can I take a Yoga for Scoliosis class?
Yes, absolutely! It is a physical practice, however, so it is important that you have the ability to move from one position to the next. If you have trouble sitting on the floor or getting up off the floor from a seated position, a group class may not be the best place to start. Private sessions may be more appropriate, but there is always a way to begin a yoga practice. As with any other yoga class or physical practice, you should consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about engaging in physical movement, especially if you have severe scoliosis or you are in severe pain. Yoga can be a great pain reliever but it's not a substitute for medical care or physical therapy. If you've had spinal fusion surgery, it's important to have your doctor's approval before beginning yoga and it is advisable to wait at least a year for the bone fusion to solidify.
Does Yoga for Scoliosis "cure" Scoliosis?
No, yoga for scoliosis will not "cure" scoliosis and it is not a "quick fix". But just because it doesn't cure scoliosis doesn't mean it isn't beneficial. Under the guidance of a trained teacher and if practiced consistently, with curiosity and attention, yoga for scoliosis can be both empowering and can help alleviate pain. The empowerment gained from a Yoga for Scoliosis practice is not to be understated. Scoliosis, especially if it is a source of pain, can have profound effects on the experience of living. Yoga for scoliosis bridges the medical diagnosis of scoliosis with the normal, mundane experience of walking around with a crooked spine. It allows you to take control of your spine, to connect with it and to live with it in a positive and healthy way.
What is the benefit of private lessons?
Yoga for Scoliosis is a individualized practice, even in a group setting, however, a private session allows the focus to be solely on you! This work can be both physically and mentally challenging. In a private session, we can move at your pace and address your questions as we go. Your teacher can tailor a sequence of poses specifically for you. Depending on your interests and needs, private sessions can take on different formats:
- A single session to better understand your body and the material
- 3-4 sessions to work on something specific
- Ongoing sessions
During this 90 minute session, we will discuss your scoliosis history as well as your goals for our work together. We will take a look at your curve pattern and try to help you gain a better understanding of your curve(s) and how it may affect your yoga practice and daily life. The first session will involve a light yoga practice, during which we will assess your overall alignment and movement patterns. This session is critical in setting the pace, goals and focus for our work together.
4 Session Package
Each session will build upon the last to challenge and strengthen you in areas where you may have weakness or tightness. You will receive 2-3 poses for a daily home practice, so you can continue working between our structured sessions. Sessions are 75 minutes each.
8 Session Package
Each session will build upon the last and by the end of the 8 sessions, you will have your own personally tailored 45-60 minute sequence for home practice. This sequence will be comprised of poses that awaken and elongate the spine, address your specific curve pattern, provide relief from pain and discomfort associated with scoliosis, and challenge and strengthen you in areas where you may have weakness or tightness. Sessions are 75 minutes each.