There's a growing interest in using yoga for scoliosis in kids, because regular stretching and exercise are importance maintenance tools for the condition.
What the Research Says
There is not conclusive evidence indicating the curvature of the spine is corrected by using yoga for scoliosis in kids. However, the Scoliosis Research Society supports yoga practice if an individual:
- Is able to relieve symptoms
- Can establish a stronger core
- Feels that his or her range of motion is increased
The medical community does not view yoga as a treatment for scoliosis, but rather a method by which to live with the condition more effectively.
Why Yoga for Scoliosis in Kids May Help
Yoga practitioners who also have scoliosis say that certain postures ease a number of symptoms, especially pain. Because each condition is unique, there is no one posture that is a quick fix. Rather, it is the process of movement that helps the body.
A few yoga instructors guide students through asanas that may ease muscle pain, realign the curvature of the spine, and increase the range of movement. Sometimes simple twists against the curve train the body not to settle into one position, or an inverted position lengthens muscles.
Additionally, regular yoga practice awakens your entire system. Increased circulation and fluidity within the body may aid overall health.
Consult Your Health Care Provider First
As with any physical program, always check with your primary caregiver to make sure using yoga for scoliosis in kids is a good idea. Many health care providers consider a responsible yoga program to be a great form of alternative therapy.
But, if your child is already undergoing regular physical therapy or recovering from surgery, it's important to review the postures with the health advisor first and integrate them gradually into the overall treatment plan.
Yoga Instructors Offering Yoga for Scoliosis
Not every yoga class may be beneficial for children with scoliosis. Make sure to select not only a certified instructor, but also one that has additional training in yoga for kids and scoliosis. Simply offering yoga classes in back care is not enough-there is usually a 20-hour scoliosis certification course instructors must complete. Many of these instructors have scoliosis, and are dedicated to helping others manage the condition well through yoga.
- Sonya Luz Hinton Costanza, based in Taos, New Mexico
- Lauri Bruce, based in Maryland.
- Graham Williams, based in Raleigh, North Carolina
Elise Browning Miller, based in California, is the founding director of the California Yoga Center and one of the leading instructors of yoga for scoliosis for both students and teachers. Find a more complete list of scoliosis-certified yoga instructors on Miller's Yoga for Scoliosis website. Many instructors are available for private classes, workshops, and retreats.
Books and DVDs
Unfortunately, there are not many media resources for yoga for scoliosis in kids. While there are many wonderful books and DVDs that provide yoga moves for kids, it's not advisable to use these books specifically as a guide to yoga positions for scoliosis without the proper instruction. Most books and DVDs on the subject focus on dealing with scoliosis as an adult who has lived with the condition for some time.
However, Elaine Browning-Miller's booklet and DVD series, Yoga for Scoliosis, does have recommendations from orthopedic surgeons stating the series is beneficial to both children and adults.
Once again, ask your primary care physician for resources directly relating to your child's condition.
Visit these websites for more information on scoliosis in kids, the latest research, exercise programs, and discussion groups: