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Yoga Therapy for Scoliosis
by Elise Browning-Miller

 

 


Editor's Note from Brooke Nisbet: Do you have scoliosis? Keeping active is an important factor in managing scoliosis, but have you thought about adding yoga as therapy? The author of this article suggests that, "Through yoga, one can find that balance point that allows the scoliosis curve to coexist with gravity and activates the body's natural plumb line. The result for most people with scoliosis is better posture and less pain."

Yoga, meaning yoke or union, is an ancient physical mental and spiritual practice with its roots going back 5,000 years to India. The practice of hatha yoga which includes the physical postures, breathing techniques and relaxation has many physical benefits such as improved posture and increased flexibility and strength.

The body with scoliosis has developed a highly sophisticated compensating 'act' and it can also learn a more refined symmetrical 'act' with proper instruction. By combining the yoga postures with breathing awareness, one can develop a structural alignment, creating a more normal symmetrical alignment. This is accomplished by stretching muscles that have tightened and strengthening muscles that have become weak from this asymmetrical imbalance. Thereby the body will create a more effortless posture using the bone structure, rather than over working the muscles to hold itself up. Through yoga, one can find that balance point that allows the scoliosis curve to coexist with gravity and activates the body's natural plumb line. The result for most people with scoliosis is better posture and less pain.

Choosing to do yoga for scoliosis requires commitment and inner awareness. With scoliosis, it is important to not expect perfection but instead accept oneself, and find one’s own optimal alignment and center. As there is beauty in the straight alignment of a palm tree, there is also beauty of an oak tree with its many twists and turns. Psychologically, doing yoga is very empowering. It gives hope that we can do something to improve our condition and our quality of living.

 

 

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About the Author


Elise Miller, MA, in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of North Carolina, is a Senior Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher from Palo Alto who has been teaching yoga throughout the United States and internationally since 1976. As a founding director of the California Yoga Center in Mountain View and Palo Alto, CA, Elise teaches classes and workshops specializing in back and sports-related injuries and is a faculty member at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco (www.yogaforscoliosis.com). Elise has successfully used yoga to minimize the effects of her own scoliosis and sees clients privately with scoliosis and other back related problems. She has published numerous articles on scoliosis and other yoga related subjects in Yoga Journal and other national magazines. Elise has studied on numerous occasions with B.K.S. Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar in India. She has recently produced the Yoga for Scoliosis DVD and booklet, the Yoga for Backcare booklet, Intermediate Yoga in Fiji DVD, and a new edition of her book, Yoga, Anytime, Anywhere. Elise's joyous personality and ease of communication endear her to students with a teaching style that is down-to-earth, precise, and nurturing.
 
Elise Browning Miller
P.O. Box 60746
Palo Alto, CA 94306
650-493-1254
Fax: 650-857-0925
Email: info@ebmyoga.com
 

 

 

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