Yoga for Scoliosis

Elise Browning Miller
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Yoga

My background: To relieve back pain from scoliosis and osteoarthritis, I started doing yoga 3 years ago, using the book, Back Care Basics by Mary Pullig Schatz, MD. She has a chapter devoted to Scoliosis, and I mainly worked from this book, until I later discovered yoga videos. In internet research, I came across Elise Millerís website

which gave very useful information, links, plus yoga modifications for scoliosis. Unfortunately the modifications have now disappeared, but the articles can be found at Yoga Journal

She now has a new site, with some basic info, plus her new video/DVD and book for sale:

It was just what I was looking for, so I ordered both the DVD and booklet. There are 3 chapters, with a 17 minute sequence in each, plus a bonus chapter of 6 additional poses or modifications. Also a short interview with an orthopedic surgeon, on the benefits of yoga. I donít know if the vhs version is the same.

A. Breathing & Spine Lengthening
- Breathing with arms rising
- Side Stretch
- Wall stretch
- Right angle wall stretch
- Cat/dog pelvic tilts
- Extended puppy pose
- Childís pose
- Downward facing dog
- Lunges
- Standing forward bend
- Mountain pose

B. Centering & Strengthening
- Mountain pose
- Triangle pose,
- Warrior II
- Rest, leaning forward on back of chair
- Warrior I
- Wide angled standing pose
- Back strengtheners (superman)
- Rest in puppy pose and childís pose

C. Restorative, Releasing & Relaxing

- Passive backward bend (on bolster, rolled blanket or stability ball)
- Side lying bend, on protrusion side
- Seated chair twist
- Hamstring stretch
- External leg rotation
- Ab strengthener Ė lower straight leg slowly
- Floor twist
- Corpse pose

Bonus poses
- Right angled wall stretch, with partner holding a strap around hips
- Downward facing dog, with partner holding a strap, or looped around doorknobs
- Wall stretch for protruding shoulder blade
- Warrior I on corner, or side of door
- Chair twist, with modifications for protruding shoulder blades
- 3 part Pull Stretch, a railing or kitchen sink

My impressions: The poses are explained carefully, and done slowly enough for someone new to yoga. Including Elise, each of the 4 people have a different type of scoliosis, so you can see that personís modifications, though the camera mostly focuses on Elise. Each personís modifications and/or props are explained, with a voiceover. I watched the DVD several times, and took notes on what my specific modifications should be, so I wouldnít have to listen for them each time. It was surprisingly comforting to me, to see less than perfect, straight bodies, which is the usual in yoga videos. The set looks like a very pleasant studio, and there is soft music in the background.

The booklet is only 18 pages, one-sided, but Iím glad I have it. It has a few additional poses, not on the video, and would be good for travelling.

Instructor Comments:
Elise is a Senior Certified Iyengar teacher, very calm, pleasant and positive in her approach. I would take a workshop with her, if she were ever in my area.

Katie W