Updated on August 23, 2017
In honor of Scoliosis Awareness Month, I’ve invited several guest authors from different postural alignment methods to write about their techniques, their stories, and more.
This week I’m featuring Lori Robbins, a Certified Restorative Exercise™ Specialist with Katy Bowman’s Nutritious Movement method and a Certified “Yoga for Scoliosis” Teacher with Elise Miller. Read on!
If you have scoliosis, you may have already discovered that movement and exercise can help reduce your discomfort.
Most movement programs will offer some benefit for scoliosis. The key is to first discover and understand the forces that are being placed on your spine. Once you understand this, you can move to counter the forces instead of letting them dictate.
I have been able to manage and alleviate the symptoms of my own scoliosis through “Yoga for Scoliosis” with Elise Miller and “Nutritious Movement™” with Katy Bowman. I have become a certified teacher in both programs, and can discuss the difference and similarities between them.
Yoga is a wonderful and beneficial practice that strengthens and stretches. “Yoga for Scoliosis” modifies and enhances traditional yoga so that a student with scoliosis can practice mindfully to avoid injury.
Practicing “Yoga for Scoliosis” can help a student regain strength in and access to muscles and organs that are underused because of the dynamics of scoliosis. While a student may experience a reduction in their curve with this practice, the aim is health, vitality and strength.
Elise Miller writes: “The goal of a yoga practice should not be to straighten our backs; we must learn to accept them as they are, not deny them or judge them. Instead, we must work to understand our backs and relate to them with sensitivity and awareness.”
A “Yoga for Scoliosis” class emphasizes five areas: Feet and legs, spine, psoas, scapula and breath.
Nutritious Movement™ is a biomechanical movement program created by Katy Bowman. Her teachings and books provide a model of preventive and corrective exercises with an emphasis on body alignment for optimal benefit.
Movement, just like food, provides the mechanical requirement for human tissues to thrive. Moving invigorates our tissues, cells and bones. It also hydrates and removes waste. It provides the essential vitamins for a healthy body.
“Chew your food” is a common saying. Most of us have also heard advice like, “Stand up straight,” but we rarely get detailed instructions. Since we do not hunt and gather but rather sit and type, many of us have forgotten or never learned how to move well.
If you have scoliosis, this advice takes on significant message for everyday habits and movement patterns. The hope is that practicing the corrective exercises in Nutritious Movement™ can eventually help you move with better alignment throughout your day.
If you develop a consistent practice, both “Yoga for Scoliosis” (YFS) and Nutritious Movement™ (NM) can help you train your body so that you do not fall into movement patterns that allow your curve to dictate.
The following lists examples of the different ways each addresses alignment, strength and health. Please note that these are only examples for education, and not prescription. Every individual is different, and their needs and abilities are different, so these following examples are for education only.
Alignment and standing
NM: Using alignment points while standing
Balance and leg strength
YFS: Tree Pose
NM: Listing (standing on one foot using the hip)
YFS: Lengthening in Downward Dog with assistance from a partner or hanging on yoga ropes
NM: Hanging from monkey bars or tree branches
Flexible, strong feet
YFS: Inter-digit toes or Warrior One with feet up wall
NM: Walking barefoot on uneven surfaces or using the Top of Foot Stretch
Spinal flexibility and twisting
YFS: Cat/Cow or Spinal Twist
NM: Walking with proper arm swing
YFS: Opposite Arm/Leg, Spinal Twist
NM: Transverse abdominal activation
YFS: Warrior One and lunge
NM: Lunge and psoas stretch
YFS: Gomukhasana, and standing stretch with one hand at the wall
NM: Rhomboid push up
NM: Transverse abdominal activation
Yoga for Scoliosis and Nutritious Movement™ can offer relief for students with curved spines. The two are complementary and a student can practice both. If you decide you would like to concentrate on one, I suggest choosing based on your personal preferences and goals.
A good place to start would be to check out “Yoga for Scoliosis” by Elise Miller, or “Move your DNA” by Katy Bowman.
With humor and compassion, Lori empowers her students to heal and strengthen themselves. Her classes emphasize body mechanics as path to freedom from pain for all ages and experience. Her unique perspective and teaching style formed after an injury that required fusion of her lumbar and thoracic spine. She comes to teaching with the powerful combination of being Certified Restorative Exercise™ Specialist with Katy Bowman and a Certified “Yoga for Scoliosis” Teacher with Elise Miller. Visit her website at www.yogirelease.com.
Disclaimer: This post has been written for informational purposes only. In no way should it be used as a substitute for consultation with medical and health care professionals. Please consult your medical and healthcare professional before beginning any health or exercise program.