"It is necessary to practice yoga with faith, patience and persistence"
B.K.S. Iyengar

Why Yoga for Scoliosis?

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 ones 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 it’s 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.

FAQs about Yoga for Scoliosis

Featured Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher Trainer

find a teacher trainer near you

Graham Williams, Raleigh, North Carolina


Empowering others with scoliosis to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of yoga is Graham Williams‚ life passion. Diagnosed with scoliosis at age eleven, she wore a back brace for seven years. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1992, Graham moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, where she was first introduced to Iyengar yoga. When her instructors told her about a woman who specialized in teaching yoga to people with scoliosis, she was intrigued.

After her first workshop with Elise Miller in 1995 in Colorado, Graham realized how helpful yoga would have been during her teenage years and decided she wanted to continue her study with Elise so that she might help others with scoliosis. Since then she has completed a scoliosis teacher training in California with Elise, has assisted Elise with many workshops, and conducted her own scoliosis workshops. She has also completed four year long teacher trainings with Certified Iyengar teacher Cindy Dollar.

In November 2006 Graham passed her first assessment in the Iyengar method; the three-part assessment involved completing a written test, demonstrating 31 poses, and teaching several poses to volunteer students while three judges observed. She made her first trip to Pune, India in November 2007 where she studied with the Iyengars. Graham enhanced her own practice as well as that of her students.

In 2006 Graham moved from Asheville, North Carolina, to Raleigh where she currently teaches several classes. She has conducted scoliosis workshops in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, and Raleigh, North Carolina, and conducts private sessions for teens and adults with scoliosis. Students find Graham compassionate and engaging and feel very comfortable in her classes.

Graham can be reached at (919) 609-2456 or email at graham@iyengarraleigh.com

Blog Website where Graham can be reached: http://www.iyengarraleigh.com

*** Graham is an Iyengar Certified Instructor who has done additional training with Elise to become a Yoga for Scoliosis certified instructor. She is highly qualified because of her Iyengar training and has a deep understanding of how to work with scoliosis.***


Elise Browning Miller

Elise Miller, M.A. 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.


Upcoming workshops

01 May
Yoga for the Spine with... - Asheville, NC
16 May
Yoga for Scoliosis Part 2 - Northampton, MA
29 May
Yoga Workshop on the Spine - Seattle, WA

Yoga for Scoliosis DVD and booklet

This DVD provides a beginning home practice for anyone with major scoliosis to minor imbalances throughout the body. These poses will empower you to take charge of your own back to improve posture and reduce pain and discomfort. This DVD is based on a therapeutic yoga program that Elise has developed for her own scoliosis and has been used with countless clients around the world.