Scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spine, is prevalent among many Americans and can be caused by a variety of factors, primarily of which is genetics. Pain associated with scoliosis includes extreme tension in the lower back, chronic fatigue, and an abnormal tilt within the pelvis, spine, and/or hips and shoulders. In order to provide relief from this, consider these yoga postures for scoliosis. The entire set are inversion poses, meaning they are done in the air, with the feet being lifted above the head. These postures are excellent for building the muscles around the spine and straightening a curved spine. In order to support yourself, it may help to have a mat, yoga block, chair, and trusty friend nearby to spot you if necessary.
Start off slow by placing the back of the chair at one end of your yoga mat. Sit down facing the chair and slowly bring your legs up to a 90-degree angle such that your calves and thighs are resting against it. Make sure your pelvis and sit bones are planted directly under your legs like the roots of a tree. This is a simple inversion pose that works to align the spine in small segments. It is a great warm-up to the rest of the series.
After this, remove the chair and move your mat so that the narrow end of the mat is touching a wall. If you are comfortable with this pose, salamba sarvangasana (or shoulder stand) then you do not need the wall. Bring your legs up to a 90-degree angle while supporting your lower back with your hands and shoulders, which are resting on the mat next to your neck. This is one of the great yoga postures for scoliosis if one side of your pelvis and sit bones doesn’t naturally come to the ground. If this is the case, focus on energy from the mat pulling this tilted side of the pelvis to the mat. This will strengthen your lower abdominal muscles and the muscles around the curved side of your spine.
Next, and perhaps the most harrowing of these yoga postures for scoliosis, is the handstand (or Urdhva Mukha). With your mat against the wall, start crouched with both hands out facing the wall shoulder-length apart. Slowly use the strength in your arms to propel your legs upward until they are straight and touching the wall behind you. In this pose, the wall can be used to balance. Your trusty friend can be used to not only support you in this posture, but he/she can also observe your body, taking note of how much higher one leg might be than the other.