Scoliosis Yoga Poses to Avoid

What is scoliosis

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine has an abnormal side-to-side curve, rather than the normal shape of a “C” or a straight line. It can occur at any age and in both sexes; however, it is more common in girls and usually appears during the mid-adolescent growth spurt. While the exact cause is often unknown, scoliosis can be either hereditary or caused by an abnormal transfer of weight to one leg, local muscle weakness, or spinal injury, among other causes. Symptoms of scoliosis may include an uneven appearance to the hips, shoulders, or waist, an excessive curvature of the spine when viewed from the back, and one shoulder blade being more prominent than the other. Scoliosis is treated differently depending on the severity of the condition, but can often be managed with bracing, exercise, and physical therapy.

What is yoga

Yoga is a type of physical and mental exercise that originated in ancient India. It is a practice that combines breathing exercises, postures or poses, and meditation to develop inner awareness, self-control, and physical strength. It is also used to reduce stress, improve physical wellbeing, and enhance mental clarity. Yoga is based on the belief that the relationship between body and mind is integral and that both should be in harmony for optimal health. By practicing yoga, one can learn how to bring balance to one’s body and mind, which can help to reduce physical and mental suffering, improve the quality of life, and increase the capacity to confront life’s challenges.

How do yoga and scoliosis interact

The relationship between scoliosis and yoga can be complex. Yoga can offer many benefits for those with scoliosis, but some poses must be avoided or modified to protect the spine from further damage. Here are some elements to consider when practicing yoga with scoliosis:

  1. Find a qualified instructor who can guide you through safe and effective modifications for scoliosis.
  2. Listen to your body and practice only poses that you feel comfortable with.
  3. Avoid poses that increase the curve in your spine.
  4. Focus on poses that promote strength and balance in the body.
  5. Work in partnership with your doctor to ensure you are doing the right type of exercise.

Yoga can be a great way to help manage the pain, discomfort, and symptoms of scoliosis, but it’s important to take the right precautions when doing yoga with scoliosis. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor before you begin a yoga practice.

What yoga poses to avoid

Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your body, but if you suffer from scoliosis, some poses can do more harm than good. While it’s important to avoid poses that involve twisting the spine or putting too much pressure on the back, it’s also important to be aware of the potential dangers of any pose that could put you at risk for injury. In general, poses that involve extreme backbends or require too much flexibility should be avoided. Additionally, poses that overstretch the spine and cause strain on the muscles and ligaments in the back, such as wheel pose, should be avoided. Lastly, poses that require you to stand on one leg and twist or bend at the same time should be avoided, as this can cause an imbalance in the spine. By taking the time to understand which yoga poses to avoid, you can protect yourself from further injury and still reap the benefits of the practice.

How to modify yoga poses for scoliosis

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for people with scoliosis, as it can help improve flexibility and range of motion. However, there are certain yoga poses that should be modified or avoided due to the possibility of worsening symptoms of scoliosis. Here is a list of poses to modify or avoid when practicing Yoga with scoliosis:

  1. Planks and push-ups: Avoid holding a plank position for too long and opt instead for modified plank or pushup options while keeping the spine in its natural alignment.
  2. Twists: Avoid deep twisting motions and instead focus on gentle rotations. Also, be sure to switch the sides to ensure an even twist between the left and right side.
  3. Inversions: Shoulder stand, headstand, and handstand should all be avoided. Instead, opt for poses such as supported half dog and wall-supported bridge are much better for people with scoliosis.
  4. Backbends: When practicing backbends, it’s important to stay in control and not go too deep into the pose. It’s also important to avoid arching the spine to counterbalance the curvature.

By following these guidelines and modifying poses to fit the natural alignment of your spine, you can enjoy the benefits of a yoga practice with scoliosis without risking further injury. It’s best to practice with the guidance of a certified yoga therapist who is knowledgeable on how to modify yoga poses for scoliosis.

What other exercises are beneficial for scoliosis

Yoga is a great form of exercise for people with scoliosis, but there are other activities that can help to promote better spinal alignment and health. For example, swimming is an excellent form of low impact exercise that can help to strengthen the muscles that support the spine, reducing the risk of further curvature. Pilates is also a beneficial form of exercise, as it encourages core stability and strength. Additionally, core strengthening exercises such as planks and leg lifts can help to reduce pain and improve overall posture. Here are some other exercises that are beneficial for scoliosis:

  1. Aquatic Exercise
  2. Core Strengthening Exercises
  3. Stretching and Mobility Exercises
  4. Balance and Proprioception Exercises
  5. Light Cardio Exercise

These exercises can help to improve posture, reduce the risk of further curvature, and reduce the pain associated with scoliosis. It is important to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise program, as they can provide guidance on which exercises are best suited to an individual’s needs.


In conclusion, scoliosis is a serious medical condition that can cause pain and even disability. Fortunately, yoga can be used to help manage the symptoms caused by scoliosis. However, it is important to be aware that certain yoga poses may not be beneficial for people with scoliosis and can, in fact, worsen the condition. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of which poses are best for you and to follow the advice of your doctor or physical therapist to ensure that you are doing the right exercises for your specific condition.

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