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.
“I am always happy with the smallest improvement. I do not try to reach ultimate perfection but only the little perfection of every day.” Sparks of Divinity, BKS Iyengar
Featured Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher Trainer
Deborah Wolk, C-IAYT, has been teaching and working with students with back issues, scoliosis, and other injuries for over 17 years. Her yoga practice working with her own scoliosis informs the work she does to help others.
Deborah met Bobbie Fultz in 2000—her first Yoga & Scoliosis teacher. She later met Elise Browning Miller and was certified as a Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer through Elise’s training program in 2005. Her primary teacher is Genny Kapuler, whose class she assisted for 10 years, and she has also studied extensively with Kevin Gardiner in NYC (now in Budapest) and the late Donald Moyer in Berkeley, among others. In 2007, Deborah travelled to India to study with the Iyengar family at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute and spent most afternoons observing the medical classes there. Also in 2007, she co-founded Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis and co-directed it for 8 years. In January 2015, Deborah founded Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective. Samamkaya is a democratically run workers cooperative and is devoted exclusively to scoliosis, back care, teacher education in therapeutics, and adaptive yoga for students with disabilities and nervous system disorders. In 2015 she completed Matthew Sanford’s MindBody Solutions Opening 1 & 2 course for Adaptive Yoga.
Deborah’s teachings are based in the principles of Iyengar style yoga and Body Mind Centering (BMC) techniques. She is warm and funny and her teachings are subtle yet explained at a level everyone can understand. Deborah teaches workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings on Back Care & Scoliosis in New York City, across the US, and around the world, and has a thriving private practice. To learn more about Deborah, make an appointment for a private lesson or see a schedule of classes at Samamkaya please visit www.dwolkyoga.com . An autobiographical piece/ The NY Times Article/ Deborah Teaches 1 pose 3 ways/ A review of Deborah’s class/ An Interview with Deborah Wolk/ Emily Gould’s Article
Elise Browning Miller
Upcoming Workshops with Elise
Connect with me via Facebook
My Yoga Site
NEW! Yoga for Scoliosis: A Path for Students & Teachers
Elise’s new comprehensive 150+ page Yoga for Scoliosis book co-authored with nancy DL heraty.
Complete with anatomy of scoliosis, detailed information and photos of poses specifically taught for those with scoliosis. Yoga poses for fused spines included. More detailed with additional poses than the previous Yoga for Scoliosis booklet.
NEW! Yoga for Scoliosis T-shirts
Designed using an x-ray image of Elise’s spine along with inspirational words. Available in three styles, makes a great gift!
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.