Physical training is essential to improve scoliosis. How Yoga for Scoliosis classes with curve specific scoliosis exercises can help.
by Jane DoCampo, C-IAYT
I read so often in scoliosis forums and support groups about people who have undergone bracing or surgery to treat their scoliosis, but next to nothing about the importance of training the body to improve itself alongside these treatments. I find that many people who have tried a brace or surgery to correct their scoliosis still experience pain and discomfort. I feel very strongly that every doctor or physical therapist who treats someone with scoliosis should encourage them to practice curve specific exercises. Just as we learn a job, a sport, an instrument, or any other skill, a person with scoliosis needs to:
Learn essential skills to improve awareness, coordination, and proprioception, and to build strength.
Yoga for Scoliosis with curve specific training can help people with scoliosis to relieve pain and improve body posture in the long term. It is crucial to:
1. Move the curve in and move the concavity out
Your skilled Yoga for Scoliosis teacher can bring your attention to the location of your curves and give you exercises to contract and build strength in muscles that are over-lengthened, fatigued, and weakened around the curve. Different exercises will expand and build strength in muscles on your concave side that are shortened, underutilized, and also weak. This way, you can develop enough strength to restrain the progression of your scoliotic pattern and begin to reverse it while relieving aggravated muscles.
2. Elongate to decompress the spine
Besides working with your lateral curves, you can learn actions to move out of hyper-kyphosis or hyper-lordosis, which are compressive in either the front or back of the spine, and build enough strength and knowledge to maintain a more neutral lengthened spine. These interventions can reduce muscle strain, the entrapment of nerves, wear and tear on joints (and remember the spine is a series of joints), and improve organ function.
3. Recognize how the rotation of your spine is affecting your whole body
Scoliosis can create pain and wear and tear in the neck, shoulders, back, chest, pelvis, knees, and feet. Learn to de-rotate the spine and train your musculature to support better positioning from head to toe to find relief.
4. Empower yourself with the right tools
Yoga for Scoliosis classes teach you life long skills which, with consistent effort and correct action, can be applied to all your activities to improve your quality of life.
Braces and surgery are passive treatments and will not teach your body how to address the underlying momentum of scoliosis—a lifelong condition. Braces and surgery should always be paired with appropriate training of the body and mind—Yoga for Scoliosis can help!
Jane DoCampo, C-IAYT, is the co-owner of My Back and Body Clinic in Woodcliff Lake, NJ www.MyBackandBodyClinic.com where she offers private sessions and small group backcare classes to improve scoliosis, herniation and back pain. She is certified to teach backcare and wall ropes classes by Alison West of Yoga Union Backcare, Scoliosis and Therapy Center, NYC where she is also a member of the teaching faculty.
by Jane DoCampo
Many of us share this story: We attend a yoga class or two, return with increasing regularity, and soon make room in our lives for our practice. (Some of us even organize our lives around our practice.) It’s something we can’t pinpoint at first, but we recognize its goodness, the way we feel after practice, and it keeps us coming back.
Yoga is endlessly fascinating asking us to coordinate our body parts into a vast array of shapes and examine our possible resistance (physical or mental) to said shapes. There is the excitement of feeling stronger and progressing as gradually we gain understanding of opposing energetic forces, inner & outer body awareness, how our breath mobilizes the body and makes the whole practice a moving meditation.
I moved through this progression over years, eventually becoming a teacher of students of all ability levels, striving for more clarity and precision in my teaching, working to keep my students safe and aligned (and safety is a challenge for so many reasons: a student could have innate postural imbalances that aren’t being properly addressed as they practice leading to injury; they may push ahead into a shape before they have all the information to proceed knowledgeably; they may be working in a way that creates instability when what everyone needs is stability, etc.).
And then I began studying with Alison West of Yoga Union, NYC and learned the Ropes! Wall ropes are an unmatchable teaching tool. They are a speed course to greater understanding, strength and refinement of the asana practice. In the hands of a skillful teacher, they retrain your body, your proprioception and correct imbalances. Ropes let you feel with great clarity the intent behind each pose and keep your body safe in increasingly deeper shapes. You feel even better after a ropes practice because you’ve tractioned your spine and avoided working in habitual, negative postural patterns. And when you practice out of the ropes, you take that knowledge with you for a safer, more productive practice.
For beginning and advanced practitioners, those, like myself, working with herniation or scoliosis, athletes who become imbalanced from playing a one-sided sport, or those recovering from other injuries, wall ropes are a wonderful tool to inform and work productively to improve their backs and entire bodies and stay as strong as you want to be! I see remarkable results in my students and feel limited when I’m teaching without this equipment.
Jane DoCampo is the co-owner of My Back and Body Clinic in Woodcliff Lake, NJ www.MyBackandBodyClinic.com where she offers backcare classes to improve scoliosis, herniation and back pain. She is certified to teach backcare and wall ropes classes by Alison West of Yoga Union Backcare, Scoliosis and Therapy Center, NYC where she is also a member of the teaching faculty.
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