Q: I have a student who has scoliosis and is afraid of doing yoga.
The student has unbalanced shoulders and hips. One side is higher than the other. She is afraid of doing twists, as she feels twisting will aggravate her thoracic spine. She was depressed after she was diagnosed with scoliosis.
Could you share your experience of having scoliosis? How did yoga help you ? Can you recommend any specific flows for students who have scoliosis ?
Thank you for your time and energy to answer my questions.
A: I am eager to help you and your student with scoliosis because no one should be afraid of doing yoga. Yoga is exactly the thing that has saved me and made it possible for me to live comfortably with my scoliosis.
- What kind of curve does she have? (C-curve, S-curve)
- Where is it in the spine? (lumbar, thoracic, thoracolumbar)
- At which point/vertebra is the apex (the deepest place) of the curve?
- Which direction does the curve go? (left? right?)
- In addition to the spine having curvature in the lateral (left/right) place, it is very likely there is also rotation of the spine toward the curve side. How much does she see this, for example when she lies on her back and feels the different amount of space beneath the two sides or looks at the height of the hips or the level of the ribs?
- How extreme is her curve or curves? (It will be hard to know how many degrees of curvature she has if she has not had a measurement from a doctor. It is not the most important thing to know, but it is helpful for understanding how much challenge she has and how much she might need to modify. The stronger the curve, the harder the backbend bend movements are.)