Viniyoga is an approach to yoga in which a teacher works individually with each student and creates a yoga program based on various factors such as age, health, physical condition and previous or current injuries. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
If you suffer from scoliosis, here are some specific asanas that will help alleviate discomfort and realign your spine.
At the start of a practice period, loosening the spine with the breath is important to prevent injury, particularly at the apex of the scoliosis. This pose may be done at a dance bar or at home on a porch railing, sink, or wherever you can grab onto something and pull. Grab onto the bar with hands shoulder-distance apart and walk the feet back until the spine is parallel to the floor and the feet are directly under the hips. Bring the feet in a few inches toward the bar and bend the knees into a right angle, with the thighs parallel to the floor and the knees directly above the heels. For example, someone with a right thoracic scoliosis would stretch to the left to create length in the spine. It is also important to stretch to the opposite side to decrease the bulge in the back on the convex side of the spine. Inhale and bring the arms overhead parallel to the shoulders, palms facing toward each other, and lift from the upper back, lengthening the ribs and spine out of the pelvis.
Even in a healthy spine, the continual pull of gravity can compress the intervertebral disc and eventually cause nerve damage or disc herniation. Shoulderstand releases the chronic tension in the neck and shoulders so common among people with scoliosis. The backward bends have been the most powerful poses in releasing my back tension and armoring. This backbend is very important for scoliosis, because it strengthens the erector spinae muscles and the hamstring muscles of the legs. Now stretch the arms overhead and feel the muscles of the back lengthening from the pelvis. As you become more advanced, you may wish to attempt more advanced backbends, such as Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose), and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow Pose) . Sit on a chair with your right side to the back of the chair and your hands placed on each side of the back of the chair. As you progress you will be able to add several other seated twists that are beneficial to scoliosis, including Blharadvajasana, Maricehyasana, and Ardha Matsyendrasana.
Sit at the very edge of a folded blanket with both legs straight, and pull the flesh of the buttocks away from the sitting bones. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) and other seated forward bends can also be practiced in a similar fashion, with the aid of a chair, a sandbag, and a bolster.
Relaxation is crucial to allow the body, mind, and spirit to receive the fruits of the practice. Yoga Journal Brand Director Kristen Dollard was Bryant Park Yoga's featured teacher this week—until her class was rained out. Leah Cullis, who will lead Yoga Journal's upcoming online course Pillars of Power Yoga, says if you're not practicing Baptiste Yoga, you should be. An important aspect of a complete scoliosis care program (and a healthy life in general!) is exercise.
In honor of National Scoliosis Awareness Month and to help spread awareness of scoliosis and encourage people to exercise, we are giving away a FREE copy of the DVD, Yoga for Scoliosis!
Follow the directions in the widget (or Rafflecopter link for mobile phones) below, and let us know what you do to help take care of your scoliosis! Scoliosis yoga (as any other supplemental stretching or exercise regime) MUST be used in conjunction with a full scoliosis treatment program and there are specific precautions to adhere to so please read the corresponding articles about precautions, risks and yoga moves to stay away from if you have scoliosis!!!! With home exercises for any condition, it is always important to consult with the physician treating your condition before beginning any regimen.
Over 100 educational scoliosis articles for quick answers or more detailed explanation of scoliosis terms, research, treatments, recommendations and other useful information!
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Viniyoga is different from other forms of yoga in the following ways; Repetition in and out of postures and holding each posture Emphasis on function over form Focus on breathing and the adaptation of breathing patterns to yield different effects Sequence creation with varying length and intensity to suit the requirements of each practice Viniyoga Teacher Training Viniyoga teacher trainings are open to all and do not have any pre-requirements or applications. This movement will create more evenness in the spine and ribs and release tension in the muscles of the back. Now bring the heels forward to the position where the toes were and hang backwards, bending from the hips and stretching the buttocks away from the bar. For students with scoliosis, this pose is best practiced with the support of a doorjamb or pillar, to keep the torso upright and balanced.
Exhale and bend the right leg, creating a right angle, with the thigh parallel to the floor and the shinbone perpendicular to the floor.

It helps to develop arm and shoulder strength, preparing you for other inversions such as Headstand. Now go back into Adho Mukha Svanasana and lift both legs onto the wall, hip-width apart and parallel to one another. If you are a beginner, you should have as much support as possible to encourage the chest to open and to prevent the weight of the body from descending on the neck and shoulders.
Place four folded blankets at the wall; lie on the blankets with the buttocks close to the wall, the shoulders at the edge of the blankets, and the legs stretched up the wall.
When the arms, shoulders,and back have been strengthened through regular inversion practice, you may be ready to practice Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand). Backbending has given me freedom and mobility, particularly on the more developed right (convex) side of my back. Thus, even though backward bends are helpful, you should approach them with softness rather than force. Lie back on the folded blanket or bolster so that your shoulder blades are resting on the roll.
This strengthening helps to ensure adequate support of the spinal column in all back bending poses. On an exhalation, lift the head and upper chest off the floor, keeping the buttocks firm and pressing the thighs strongly down.
Bend your right knee and bring your right heel into the right groin, letting the knee fall gently to the side.
Especially for scoliosis sufferers, relaxation is difficult, for the muscles have been clenched to support the uneven spine. Healing is not just a physical activity, but involves deep awareness of the mind and spirit as well. But for individuals with scoliosis, exercise can be fraught with concerns about pain, discomfort, or making curves worse. When stretching toward the side of the concavity, emphasize lengthening the spine to open up the compressed ribs on the underside of the body and decrease the protrusion of the ribs on the opposite side.
Turn the left toes out to 90 degrees and the right toes in to 45 degrees, and stretch the torso to the left, bending from the hips and stretching the arms away from each other. Bring the back groin to the edge of the door jamb with the front heel about two feet ahead and the front leg hugging the side of the wall. The right knee should be directly over the right heel, with the left leg fully extended and the left heel descending to the floor. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Lateral Angle Pose), Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), Parighasana (Cross Beam of a Gate Pose) are three excellent lateral stretches to do for scoliosis that follow the same guidelines as Trikonasana. The person will tend to feel the uneven pressure of gravity constantly but have no understanding of how to create alignment to alleviate it. By learning to lift up in Hand stand, you also learn to lengthen the spine against gravitational force, a movement that is particularly important for those with scoliosis. The feet should be at hip level, no higher, and the arms, shoulders, and torso should be in a straight line.
In order to open up, the muscles in the back must learn to release rather than tighten, allowing the heart to open like a lotus blossom from the inside out. Lengthen the arms out to the side so the shoulder blades stretch away from the spine, keeping the hands below the level of the shoulder blades.
With an inhalation, lengthen the spine; with the exhalation, gently rotate from the navel, stretching the ribs away form the pelvis. In the course of out lives we encounter many hardships that, like our curved spines, may initially appear to be painful handicaps. As a practitioner of yoga for over 40 years, I find that it can be one of the safest and most practical approach to exercise– and just generally relaxing and fun! Exhale and resume forward bending position Inhale and resume starting position Viniyoga Therapy Those who are experiencing diminished energy in the body or mind may benefit from customized viniyoga practice.
Inhale, and stretch the arms and the pelvis away from each other, with the upper back following the arms and the lower back following the pelvis. When stretching to the convex side, emphasize twisting to create more evenness on the sides of the back. Placing your left hand on the back of a chair helps to spread out the ribs on the concave side. Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Lateral Angle Pose), two twisting standing poses, are highly recommended for intermediate yoga students. Inversions create a freedom in your body to experience alignment without the usual distortions caused by gravity. If you are new to Handstand and afraid to try it, Ardha Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Half Handstand) is an alternative that can help you build your confidence and strength. Stretch the legs out through the heels to prevent lower back compression, and lift the breastbone.

Press with the right hand into the back of the chair to create more twist, and with the left fingers pull on the back of the chair, drawing the left shoulder blade away from the spine. In this forward bend, first lift the spine and draw the shoulder blades down and into the back, opening the chest. If the back is uneven due to the scoliosis, place a tie or small towel in the concavity of the back.
In learning to take responsibility for healing our backs and to treat them with awareness and sensitivity, we also learn to respond this way to other emotional, mental, and physical traumas. Viniyoga teachers are trained to be flexible with whom they teach and the manner in which they go about their teaching. This type of yoga practice is even suitable for those who have been injured or those recovering from surgery. Breathe into this position, feeling the intercostal muscles stretching between the ribs and the spine and back muscles lengthening. Drop the right ribs in medially towards the spine so both sides of the body are parallel to the floor. Inhale and draw the base of the right shoulder blade down from the ears and into the body, opening the chest. Square the two hips so they are parallel to each other and point the tailbone to the floor, lengthening the sacrum. If you have difficulty bringing the back heel to the floor, place a sandbag under the heel for balance.
As a result, it is often easier, particularly if you have a scoliosis, to feel what alignment is upside down than while standing on your feet.
Press down strongly with the palms on the chair as you press the thighs downward and lift the spine further. This movement counter acts the tendency of people with scoliosis to hunch their backs and round their shoulders.
Close your eyes and breath deeply, becoming especially aware of the spine and expanding both sides of the rib cage evenly. To help stretch the compressed ribs on the concave side, move the arms toward the convex side, keeping the arms shoulder-width apart.
Exhale and twist from the navel, drawing the left elbow back to align the shoulders with each other. The inversions also develop strength in the back and arms; increase circulation to the vertebrae, brain, and other organs, and encourage Iymphatic circulation and venous blood return. Lift the right leg and extend through the heel with the ball of the foot pressing against the wall.
Straighten one leg at a time, until you are strong enough to straighten both legs and balance. To achieve this opening of the chest, you may pull gently on a chair, or on a tie wrapped around the ball of the left foot. Its greatest power is its ability to teach us to live our lives with sensitivity, balance, and grace. Viniyoga Postures Given below is a viniyoga posture for scoliosis, a very common condition characterized by curving of the spine. You can also press the right outer heel of the foot into a wall to give stability and strength from which to stretch.
If you are on a wooden floor, place a folded towel in front of the blankets for placing under your head. After breathing into this position for a minute, move the buttocks all the way back to the heels and relax the arms by your side.
If you are practicing in a studio that has wall ropes, a rope attached to the wall and wrapped around the right thigh is an excellent way to create this stability, particularly for someone with a lumbar scoliosis.
This movement helps build upper body strength, often lacking in practitioners with scoliosis; it also teaches you to lengthen both sides of the body evenly, despite the distortion in your spine. Sit in the chair facing the wall and roll backwards into the pose, bringing the shoulders onto the bolster and head on the floor.
If you can come farther forward, place a bolster or blanket across the straight leg and rest the forehead on the bolster.
Hold on to the chair’s back legs and lift your legs, resting your feet against the wall. To come out, release the hands from the back, and continue to extend through the heels as you slide to the floor, pressing the tailbone toward the wall. If you feel the convex side of the back protruding onto the roll more than the concave side, place a small hand towel or tie under the concave side so that the back touches the blanket evenly.

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