Sequence for Scoliosis - Guest Post by Suburban Yogini

This is a guest post by the lovely Rachel of Suburban Yogini.  As a fellow scoliosis-sufferer, I asked Rachel, with her experience at therapeutic yoga, to put together a short-but-sweet sequence for the spine that could be practiced daily to help relieve some of the discomforts caused by scoliosis.  You can read a bit more about her own experience with scoliosis here.

Yoga teacher Elise Browning Miller is one of the most recognized experts on the subject of yoga and scoliosis.  You can visit her website here for lots of helpful information on the different types and origins of scoliosis.  She has also written a number of articles for Yoga Journal on the subject: here is one about yoga and scoliosis, and here is one about teaching students with scoliosis.

So, on to our sequence, with a few wise words from Suburban Yogini's blog: "Yoga practice for back problems of any kind, or scoliosis specifically, should always be undertaken with a qualified teacher who understands the back problem and in conjunction with advice from a physical therapist. This said, yoga practice by its very nature will strengthen and stretch the back muscles and focus the mind on lengthening the spine."


Yoga Sequence for Scoliosis

Begin sitting back on the heels, spine nice and straight, tail bone tucked under.  Place one hand on the chest and one hand on the lower belly and observe the breath and the movement of the breath under the hands for a few moments until the breath has become steady soft and even.  Begin to visualise the breath moving up and down the spine from the sacrum to the crown of the head on an inhale, from the crown of the head to the sacrum on an exhale.  Visualise the spine as strong, straight and long.  Keep this visualisation in mind throughout your practice.

 1: Child's pose to Downward-facing dog
(Repeat 5 times)

Come into childs pose. As you inhale come to tabletop and exhale into Down Dog.  Inhale tabletop and exhale child's pose.  Repeat five times holding the final down dog for five breaths and the final child for as long as you need.

2: Warrior I and Parsvottanasana
(Repeat 3 times on each side)

When you are ready come to standing.  Turn the left foot out slightly and take a big step forward with the right foot.  Make sure that both hips are pointing to the front of your mat.  Exhale the hands into prayer position.  

Inhale bending the front knee and stretching the arms up into a modified Warrior 1.  Make sure that you look straight ahead rather than up as we are trying to keep the spine straight. Exhale fold forward over the front leg, keeping that front knee bent and the back heel down. Inhale the arms out to the side and back into modified Warrior 1. Exhale straighten the front knee and bring the hands back into prayer position. Repeat 3 times to each side.

3: Supine spine stretcher
(Repeat 5 times)

(Aurora says hello!)

Come to lying on the back with the knees hugged into the chest, feel free to roll out the back and hips here for a few breaths.
As you inhale stretch the legs up to the ceiling with the feet flexed and the arms alongside the ears. Make sure you do not let the tailbone lift off the floor.  As you exhale hug the knees back in towards the chest.  Repeat 5 times.

Finish the sequence with a supine twist and savasana.

The point here is to keep the spine straight but not stiff.  Concetrate on finding the balance between stength and softness within the vertebrae.


Thanks Rachel for such a great sequence for the spine!  Dear readers, what is your experience with your spine?  How has yoga changed that?