How do I do Yoga for Scoliosis?

Brandon May

It is possible to use yoga for scoliosis as yoga helps strengthen and straighten the spine, an important component in treating scoliosis. There are different yoga poses which aid in this strengthening of the spine more than others, such as downward and upward dog poses. Many alternative healers and mainstream doctors recommend yoga for scoliosis because yoga is a powerful tool for transforming and toning the body while making the spine strong and flexible. Yoga may be one of the best alternative treatments for scoliosis since it uses gentle moves and poses to provide support and flexibility, and focuses on the body as well as the mind.

In yoga, the upward facing dog position might improve posture and increase spine flexibility.
In yoga, the upward facing dog position might improve posture and increase spine flexibility.

Scoliosis is a disorder in which there is a curvature in the spine forming a slight S shape. Without treatment, pain can become severe and often debilitating, as scoliosis often displaces the abdominal and thoracic organs. Treatment usually involves fusing of the spine through surgery if the scoliosis is severe or wearing a back brace for a certain amount of time. Many choose to use yoga for scoliosis, as well as sensible medical advice, to supplement their scoliosis treatment.

Yoga can help strengthen and straighten the spine.
Yoga can help strengthen and straighten the spine.

One important pose used in yoga for scoliosis is downward facing dog. This pose is accomplished by pushing down into the ground through the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet, creating a triangle shape. It is important to keep the back as straight as possible without pushing the body beyond its capabilities, and keep the abdominal muscles in. Not only does this pose help strengthen the spine and straighten the back, but it also energizes the body and mind by stimulating the pituitary gland.

Another yoga pose to help in spine alignment involves moving from downward dog pose into plank pose. The plank position involves pressing into the ground through the hands and toes while keeping a straight plank position in the body. The back is kept straight and this aids in toning the spine. Moving into upward facing dog may also help improve posture and provide more flexibility in the spine. While pushing the front body into the floor, the upper body pushes slightly up and bends through the support of the hands into upward facing dog.

When doing yoga for scoliosis, it is always important to perform these poses slowly and at a comfortable pace, without causing any pain or strain to the body. Working alongside a doctor and physical therapist who specialize in anatomy of the spine is also an important component to scoliosis treatment. It is not well known if yoga can treat scoliosis completely, but it has been shown to strengthen and support the spine and back muscles, aiding in pain relief and posture.

Many people suffering from scoliosis turn to yoga to supplement treatment.
Many people suffering from scoliosis turn to yoga to supplement treatment.

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Discussion Comments


I find the mountain pose, the cow and cat poses, upward facing dog and the bridge pose the most helpful for scoliosis. I do these every day, gently, as much as I can. I especially do them if I am experiencing discomfort and soreness from bad posture at work. I have to sit all day which causes issues for me after so many hours. I find relief by doing these poses and continue my work where I left off.

I agree that one should never be in pain while doing yoga. Sometimes that happens where yoga is making me feel worse instead of better. In this case, I stop and rest instead. I never push myself too far, I listen to my body.


@bear78-- First of all, you should never attempt yoga when your injury is fresh and there is ongoing pain, inflammation and soreness. You need to rest until you are pain-free before attempting yoga for scoliosis. If you are in pain daily, you need to be treated by your doctor first with physical therapy and medication. Yoga can help improve spinal conditions but it is not a solution or a cure. With regular practice though, it can make a huge difference with the prognosis of spinal problems.

You should start with the most basic yoga poses for the back. But sign up for a yoga class with an experienced yoga teacher. Explain your situation and learn these basic postures first before practicing them at home. You can also use yoga bolsters and other support equipment to make yoga postures easier and more comfortable for you.


I have mild scoliosis and although I have been recommended yoga by several people, I'm scared to try. I cannot do strenuous exercise or stretching as these worsen my symptoms and pain. I'm afraid of worsening my situation by causing more injury. I tried downward facing dog once but I couldn't do it and it was very uncomfortable. Are there easier poses I can try without experiencing pain or making things worse?

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