We all know that yoga is a common exercise and a tool to heal, strengthen, and stretch our bodies. I’ve used yoga for several years to aid in pain management, however I noticed that I could only temporarily relieve pain with no lasting effects. That’s because standard yoga is designed for people with straight spines and minimal muscular imbalances. Each side of the body is treated the same, which is WRONG if you have Scoliosis! There are many ways to modify yoga poses to benefit your curve(s) by strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight muscles on either side of your body.
So, what is this program?
On Instagram, I found a Yoga for Scoliosis page “@yogaberry.scoliosis” which is run by Christine Jaureguiberry. She posts about tons of useful resources, information, and home workouts for those with Scoliosis. She seemed so organized and passionate about her cause. I reached out asking how we can collaborate with her to reach even more people about this wonderful solution. Christine informed me about her 4 Week Yoga for Scoliosis Program which in each week includes an educational component, a workout component, live group video meetings, and access to a private Facebook group. She kindly gifted me with the program, so I can test it out and share it with you guys! Thank you so much, Christine! I really enjoyed every part of the course!
I am stoked to share the results!
Week 1: Body Awareness
So, like I said before, there is an educational component to this program. Starting off, you watch a video of Christine explaining Scoliosis in terms of YOUR curve(s). This allows you to customize the poses to benefit your curve(s). She also includes slides and visuals which gave the vibe of an online college lecture! It was enjoyable and super educational.
The information is easy to understand for those who don’t know much about Scoliosis, but there was also tons of information that I have never heard about from my doctors or research! All of which is explained so clearly by Christine! I wish she was one of my professors when I was in college because she was so pleasant and I retained the information easily!
What makes this program different from others, is the emphasis on Body Awareness to customize your poses. Many other yoga for scoliosis videos treat both sides of the curve the same; lengthening and strengthening in both sides. Which, I now know, is almost counterproductive because you are still over stretching one side and over stregthening the other. The main focus should be a balance and when you are unbalanced you have to overcompensate for each imbalance.
Another cool part of this program is that you also focus on the twisting of the spine that causes rib humping, which I have majorly! I truly got a better point of view by thinking of my body as 3 dimensional instead of 2 like the pictures in our textbooks. This way of thinking is a game changer!
The first week the yoga poses were very relaxing and easy for most ability levels! If you can get down on the floor (with help if needed), you can do this.
The purpose of this first week was to learn about your body and make a mental connection to what areas need to be focused on!
I found out quickly that my hips effect almost all of my body and is the main source of my pain, even in my neck! When my hips are relaxed, it seems the rest of my body is too. Most of this week was very relaxing with poses like shavasana, aka laying on the floor, but with pillows strategically placed to rotate the spine. But, even this killed my hip! I didn’t give up. It did hurt, but in a good way. You know, like sore muscles after the gym.
My hip is one of my biggest pain problem areas! So, I knew it would take some work.
Week 2: Release & Lengthen
The second week forcused on releasing all that tension on the tightened side of your curve. She breaks this down in detail in her lectures, so you never get lost on how to do this.
This week, I felt amazing! My back pain was very minimal and my hip felt pretty great! I was able to go to the gym and work out really hard because I wasn’t in pain the whole time. Amazingly, I was able to lift 10-15 lbs. more than usual.
This week also came with a Body Mapping chart to further analize and record imbalances in your body. Perfect for a visual learner!
Week 3: Core Strength
I have a pretty strong core, but this even killed me. No, not durring the exercise, but after! My abs were fired up for sure!
I found out that my strength is greater than my flexibility and I should focus on stretching certain areas way more consistently. Noticing these imbalances are what this program is all about!
Again, there were many useful modifications for poses like side planks, which were always impossible for me. One side is much weaker than the other and I usually strain my neck and my hips. With the modifications, warm ups, and easing into it, sideplanks became possible for me!!! I still can’t hold it very long on my weaker side, but I am getting stronger each day!
Week 4: Creating Your Home Practice
Week 4 isn’t like the standard workout program wrap up saying, “yay, you are almost done and will be magically cured forever!” Nope! This is where you gain independence and take all the little nuggets of wisdom you learned over the past weeks and compile it into your own practice to keep up with to help heal your body and manage pain. This week comes with a chart of all the poses and what it does for certain areas of your body.
Christine puts emphasis on the fact that a little bit of yoga everyday is better than one two hour session of intense yoga! So, you do not have to get overwhelmed by this! Everyone has 10 or 15 minutes a day to take a beat and do something wonderful for their body, mind, and spirit. Easy enough!
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely! This is not just a “workout program”. It is an educational course that teaches mind body connection and how to work with YOUR curves. I have never come across a program like that before. This course helped me realize that I was doing, quite literally, the opposite of what I should have been doing! I was stunned!
In the end, I would say this is a wise investment of time and money especially if you have constant pain! Managing your pain at home, on your time, and on your terms is freeing!