Everyone has natural curves that round our shoulders and make our lower backs curve slightly inward. Some people have spines that curve from side to side and simultaneously rotate. This condition of spinal curve is called scoliosis.
In Yoga the use of different props, (chairs, blankets, straps, blocks, wall ropes) help align the spine and create more space on the side that is concave and strength on the side that is convex.
Diagnosed with scoliosis at age ten, Graham wore a back brace for seven years. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1992, she moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, where she was first introduced to Iyengar yoga. When her instructors(Gary and Donita Reitze) told her about a woman who specialized in teaching yoga to people with scoliosis, she was intrigued.
After her first workshop in 1995 in Colorado with Elise Miller, a senior certified Iyengar instructor specializing in Yoga For Scoliosis , Graham realized how helpful yoga would have been during her teenage years and decided she wanted to continue her study with Elise
With a consistent practice and an open mind, one can find that yoga can give you the tools to cope with your scoliosis.
Below are pictures of Elise helping Graham on ways to work with her curve. Graham has a left lumbar right thoracic.
By using straps one can help to align the shoulders and stand straight and tall in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
By pulling the hips back with a strap in Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward Facing Dog) one can help even the hips and create space in the concave side.
With a left lumbar one has to stretch differently going to the right. Notice how I’m not going down as far to the right as I did to the left. With a left lumbar by going to the left in Parigasana (Cross Beam of a Gate) one can feel the opening in the convex right lumbar side.
Bharadvajasana I is a twist. Again with my left lumbar going to the right is different then going to the left in that in this pose going to the right I have to be concious of moving my left ribs in as I turn to the right so that I don’t overstretch the left side.
Bharadvajasana I to the left is helping to derotate my left lumbar curve. It naturally brings my ribs and. I should start on the left side and end on the left side.