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
Sonya Luz Hinton Costanza
Sonya Luz Costanza has been teaching yoga since 1996. In 2007 she became certified by Elise B. Miller to teach Yoga for Scoliosis. She has served as Elise’s assistant in the annual YFS teacher training course in San Francisco on numerous occasions, and has completed Elise’s advanced training. She continues to study and employ this method to address her own asymmetry and to enhance her yoga practice and daily life. She is honored to share these tools to help others lengthen, strengthen and restore.
Elise Browning Miller
Elise Miller, M.A. in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of North Carolina, is a Senior Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher (CIYT) and is Certified from International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). Elise resides in Palo Alto and has been teaching yoga throughout the United States and internationally since 1976. As a founding director of the California Yoga Center in Mountain View, CA, Elise teaches classes and workshops specializing in back and sports-related injuries.
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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.