"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

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Robin Thorpe, Denver, Colorado

Robin Thorpe was diagnosed with scoliosis during puberty and started her yoga practice in 2000.  But it was not until the Yoga Union Teacher Training 200 Hour with Alison West in 2004, that she began to understand the depths of how the yogic tradition could help manage scoliosis progression and discomfort.  It was guest teacher Deborah Wolk’s workshop, Fundamentals of Yoga for Scoliosis,that sparked a long term interest in the details of how the yoga practice could help manage Robin’s own right thoracic-left lumbar curve, as well as her students.

In 2007, Robin was an inaugural teacher at Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis (YUBCS) in Manhattan. During her time at YUBCS, she continued her studies under the guidance of Co-Directors Alison West and Deborah Wolk.  She worked with YUBCS teacher, Mimi Ufberg Rosetti, to better understand yoga for students with spinal instrumentation and fusions, and had the good fortune to study with many talented guest teachers including Elise Browning Miller.

Robin completed the Yoga Union Masters Program 300 Hour in 2009 and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200, RYT 500 teacher.  Elise Browning Miller certified her as a Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer in 2011 and she is registered as a Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists.   She has returned to her native Colorado and looks forward to continue sharing yoga for scoliosis with the Colorado community.

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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

22 Oct
Annual yoga retreat with... - Sonoma, CA
21 Jan
Magical Yoga Retreat in... - India
25 Feb
Rejuvinating Yoga Retreat in... - Troncones, Mexico

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.