Is Yoga Bad For Scoliosis


Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine curves abnormally. It can affect children and adults, and is more common among adolescent girls. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, scoliosis affects 3-5% of the population, making it one of the more common spinal disorders. The cause of scoliosis is often unknown, with some cases being attributed to genetics or neuromuscular conditions.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years with different styles originating from India and Tibet, according to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). While initially used as a form of spiritual practice, it eventually evolved into holistic wellness — incorporating mental, physical and spiritual aspects. Yoga focuses on becoming mindful while engaging in physical exercises paired with breathing techniques. There are a variety of poses utilized throughout yoga and each pose can be modified depending on the person’s fitness level or any injuries.

Benefits of Yoga for Scoliosis

Yoga can be a helpful tool for those struggling with scoliosis, as it increases flexibility, strengthens the spine and core muscles, and improves body awareness. Through specific postures and stretches specifically designed for scoliosis sufferers, one can learn to combat scoliosis-related effects such as poor posture habits or inflammation of the spine. While there is no guarantee that yoga poses and stretches will “cure” scoliosis altogether, they can help alleviate many symptoms associated with the condition. Generally, individuals who have mild forms of scoliosis can expect to gain more benefit from yoga than those with more severe cases.

The type of appropriate poses should be determined by a qualified health practitioner or yoga instructor knowledgeable in working with people living with scoliosis. With their guidance you should start slowly and carefully increase intensity over time to ensure safety during your practice. Some poses are particularly beneficial for those with scoliosis such as those focusing on expanding the chest region, stretching side spinal muscles, strengthening the lower back area, developing mobility around rib cage area, improving balance and posture. Practicing these poses regularly may even result in long-term benefits such as increasing overall pain relief and reducing curvature severity.

Popular Types of Yoga for Scoliosis

There are various types of yoga that can be practiced for people suffering from scoliosis. Hatha or Iyengar yoga is a good choice as it focuses on alignment and poses, which involves slower movements paired with holding the postures to create balance in the body. Kundalini yoga is also suitable since most of its exercises involve slow movements and extended posture holds to increase overall strength and flexibility. Besides that, Vinyasa flow helps in stretching muscles and building core strength, which is great for those affected by scoliosis. An extra pro-tip is to practice yoga with blocks, straps, bolsters or blankets for obtaining better posture throughout the workout routines. In any case, because of the condition’s complexity, it’s best to start slowly and build up as time passes in order to prevent overexerting oneself. It’s also important that you look for an experienced instructor who understands scoliosis to ensure you get the maximum health benefits while doing minimal harm.

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Yoga Poses to Avoid with Scoliosis

When practicing yoga with scoliosis, it is important to know which poses to avoid. Placing undue stress on the spine can worsen the condition and cause pain. Poses that involve lateral bends or twisting of the spine should be avoided as they can aggravate any existing spinal curvatures. Similarly, poses that require a person to arch their back can be dangerous for those with scoliosis as it puts extra pressure on unevenly balanced vertebrae. While some forward folding postures such as downward dog can be practiced in a modified manner, poses like triangle, warrior 3 and side plank should be avoided altogether. Inversions (upside-down postures) are generally not recommended as they usually require great strength of the core muscles and back extensions which may put too much strain on the spine if practiced without careful modifications. If a person chooses to practice yoga while living with scoliosis they should do so under a qualified teacher who is able to provide them with safe alternatives that take into consideration the specific circumstances of their own body shape and condition. It is important to listen carefully to your body’s needs and make sure you progress slowly so that you don’t injure yourself further.

Guidelines for Practicing with Scoliosis

No, yoga is not bad for scoliosis. However, it is important to make sure that you are practicing poses and postures with modifications as recommended by your specialist. If a pose causes pain or discomfort, then you should discontinue the pose immediately. Additionally, many people with scoliosis will benefit from specialized yoga classes specifically designed for those with scoliosis. In these classes, instructors have specific knowledge of which poses are best suited to the curves of your spine. Furthermore, Wearing a back brace can impede flexibility and should be avoided in yoga practice if possible. It is important to speak with your doctor about whether wearing a brace during yoga is safe for you. Similarly, if there are any asana (yoga postures) that cause discomfort; modification or omission could be beneficial to help avoid high intensity movements. Finally, exercise modifications may need to be implemented depending on the severity or type of scoliosis an individual experiences.

Alternative Therapies for Scoliosis

Yoga, while generally thought of as a beneficial form of stretching and exercise, can be dangerous for someone living with scoliosis due to the possibility of further misaligning the spine. It is important to have a doctor’s approval before attempting any form of physical activity if you have scoliosis. Yoga is best avoided by people with severe scoliosis curves and should not be done without rigorous supervision from an experienced instructor who understands the principles of scoliosis management.

30-Minute Yoga Flow Sequence

In addition to yoga, there are many other ways for those living with scoliosis to maintain mobility, reduce pain and improve posture. Research-based therapies such as Schroth exercise or exercises specifically prescribed by a physical therapist or chiropractor can help strengthen weakened postural muscles and help support optimal alignment when done properly. Exercise bikes and swimming have also been found to be great ways to safely keep up with exercise. Furthermore, bracing can aid in milder cases by limiting the deformity’s progression. Finally, massage and acupuncture may provide relief from the stress of having limited mobility associated with this condition.


Although some people with scoliosis may not initially think that yoga can be beneficial for their condition, research and experience have shown the many benefits of yoga for the management of the condition and its associated symptoms. Studies have demonstrated measurable improvements to spinal curvature, range of motion, and flexibility when performing certain yoga postures while others have reported reduced pain and improved quality of life.

The physical component of yoga practice can provide a gentle form of exercise that is low impact yet supportive for those with scoliosis. Additionally, yogic breath work helps reduce stress and anxiety while supporting relaxation. Therefore, it is clear that yoga can be tremendously beneficial alongside conventional treatments like physical therapy or corrective braces. In conclusion, there is ample evidence to suggest that Yoga can safely improve the immediate comfort and long-term outlook for those living with scoliosis. With consistent practice and careful consideration as to which asanas are best suited for individuals based on their individual condition, Yoga can prove to be an essential tool in both alleviating symptoms as well as helping to avoid further spinal deformation from occurring. Ultimately this holistic approach places greater ownership in the hands of each person so that they may take the necessary steps towards a more rewarding experience with scoliosis both physically and emotionally

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