Yoga for Scoliosis

Alfonso Castano, the Co-Founder and Director of Rayo de la Vida, is a specialist in using specialized Yoga to help people with Scoliosis. In Palo Alto, California, Alfonso trained under the mentorship of Elise Browning Miller, the worldwide expert on treating Yoga with Scoliosis.

At Rayo de la Vida, Alfonso Castano teaches people with Scoliosis the proper Yoga poses and sequences for their specific types of Scoliosis. On-going practice can reduce pain, enhance flexibility and alleviate issues related to the Scoliosis.

In addition, Alfonso Castano teaches Workshops for practitioners who seek to know more about the practice of Yoga for Scoliosis.

If you or family member has Scoliosis and you would like to consider the practice of Yoga for Scoliosis, make an appointment with Alfonso Castano for an initial assessment. 

You can meet with Alfonso at Rayo de la Vida’s Palma or Fornalutx facilities. Or you may schedule a Zoom Appointment

email: Alfonso@rayodelavida.com

Scheduled Small Group Workshops for Scoliosis and Back Care (4 to 8 Students)

90 Minutes: 50 euros

Private Client Sessions with Alfonso Castano

Initial Assessment: “Learn About Your Curve” 15 EUR

Private Client Training

1 Person: 90 Minutes 90 euros

2 People: 90 Minutes 140 euros

Alfonso works with private clients at his studio in Palma or Fornalutx, and also via Zoom. A minimum of two sessions is recommended. The first session is usually for 90 minutes. During this private session, Alfonso will teach a yoga sequences for you to do at home with specific yoga postures that will address your needs with regards to scoliosis, back issues, sports injuries or simply assisting you to begin a personal practice.

Alfonso sees continuing students privately who want more individual attention and correction than in a public yoga class and wish to deepen their personal practice.

A 90 minute follow-up session is recommended within a month to fine-tune and correct the poses that were given in the first session and to add other poses.

Follow-up sessions are available weekly, monthly or even yearly, as is appropriate to your proximity and individual situation.

On a case-by- case basis, Alfonso is able to offer private sessions while teaching a workshop in other cities and countries. Please contact Alfonso for more information.

“Healing is much more than straightening a scoliosis curve or curing a disease. It’s learning to love and nurture ourselves and trust our inner knowing to guide us to a vibrant state of being”

Elise Browning Miller

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curve of the spine with a rotational component. Although scoliosis is widely considered to be a problem which appears in adolescence, the condition has become much more common in adults. In the past, Doctors believed that not much could be done to help people with scoliosis except for severe cases where spinal fusion surgery would be recommended. And for more moderate cases, Doctors would often prescribe a brace for the spine.

In recent years, many prominent Doctors and specialists have come to recognize the therapeutic benefits of specialized Yoga techniques to manage the effects of Scoliosis and also to reverse abnormal spinal curvature and compression.

Specialized Yoga for Scoliosis is becoming widely recognized by prominent doctors and specialists as a means to reduce pain and to find more symmetry and balance in the Spine.

Why Yoga for Scoliosis?

“Yoga, meaning yoke or union, is an ancient physical mental and spiritual practice with its roots going back 5,000 years to India. The practice of hatha yoga which includes the physical postures, breathing techniques and relaxation has many physical benefits such as improved posture and increased flexibility and strength.”

“The body with scoliosis has developed a highly sophisticated compensating ‘act’ and it can also learn a more refined symmetrical ‘act’ with proper instruction. By combining the yoga postures with breathing awareness, one can develop a structural alignment, creating a more normal symmetrical alignment. This is accomplished by stretching muscles that have tightened and strengthening muscles that have become weak from this asymmetrical imbalance. Thereby the body will create a more effortless posture using the bone structure, rather than over working the muscles to hold itself up. Through yoga, one can find that balance point that allows the scoliosis curve to coexist with gravity and activates the body’s natural plumb line. The result for most people with scoliosis is better posture and less pain.”

“Choosing to do yoga for scoliosis requires commitment and inner awareness. With scoliosis, it is important to not expect perfection but instead accept oneself, and find ones own optimal alignment and center. As there is beauty in the straight alignment of a palm tree, there is also beauty of an oak tree with it’s many twists and turns. Psychologically, doing yoga is very empowering. It gives hope that we can do something to improve our condition and our quality of living.” – Elise Browning Miller“Yoga for Scoliosis, A Path for Students and Teachers”

Important Resources

Elise Browning Miller:  Founding Director of the California Yoga Center in Mountain View  and Palo Alto, California, Ms. Miller is an expert in the use of Yoga to manage the effects of Scoliosis.  Her book, Yoga for Scoliosis: A Path for Students and Teachers is considered the “ultimate textbook for understanding the benefits yoga offers to those with Scoliosis.  Elise Miller’s books are highly recommended for both Teachers and students.

National Scoliosis Foundation (visit: www.scoliosis.org): Support, resources and community discussions to assist and help people with Scoliosis.

OrthoInfo: From the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

 

Definition of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curve of the Spine with rotational component.  A spine with Scoliosis has shifted laterally forming an “S” or “C” shaped curve, and with that curve, the spine is is rotated.

Testing for Scoliosis

The Adams Forward Bend test is used to determine if you have a structural scoliosis.   in this simple examination, you bend forward with a rounded spine.  Any significant asymmetry between the two side of the spine where one sided for the rib cage is higher than the other, or a bulge in the lumbar area these are indicative of Structural Scoliosis.

If there appears to be asymmetry with the shoulders, back muscles or hips while you are standing, yet when you are bending forward the spine appears aligned in the center of the body with little or  no rotation, this is indicative of a functional scoliosis.

Medical Diagnosis

Doctors will initially take a detailed medical history and may ask questions about recent growth.  The Doctor will likely test using the  Adams Forward Bend test.

Your doctor may also perform a neurological exam to check for:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Abnormal reflexes

Plain X-rays can confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and reveal the severity of the spinal curvature.  The severity is measured according to the Cobb Angle Measurement.

While there are guidelines for mild, moderate and severe curves, the decision to begin treatment is always made on an individual basis. Factors to be considered include:

  • Sex. Girls have a much higher risk of progression than do boys.
  • Severity of curve. Larger curves are more likely to worsen with time.
  • Curve pattern. Double curves, also known as S-shaped curves, tend to worsen more often than do C-shaped curves.
  • Location of curve. Curves located in the center (thoracic) section of the spine worsen more often than do curves in the upper or lower sections of the spine.
  • Maturity. If a person’s bones have stopped growing, the risk of curve progression is low. That also means that braces have the most effect in children whose bones are still growing.

Adult Scoliosis

 

Because so many adults have contacted the NSF, we asked Nancy Schommer, author of Stopping Scoliosis, to provide us with an update about adult scoliosis. In the course of her research, she interviewed Dr. David B. Levine, Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Cornell University Medical College and Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Following are excerpts from their conversation.

Q: Dr. Levine, is it possible for an adult, a person 21 years of age or older, to suddenly “get” scoliosis?
A: It’s possible but extremely rare. When it happens, it is usually because the patient has experienced some sort of trauma, such as a fractured spine, or because the person develops a neuromuscular condition like muscular dystrophy, or a metabolic condition like osteoporosis that softens the bones. Most often, however, adult scoliosis develops in adolescence, and is the “idiopathic” variety, which means it occurs for no apparent reason.

Q: Will untreated adult scoliosis get worse year after year?
A: I’ve followed patients for over twenty years, and have found that probably 60% of adult patients do not get worse. Of the remaining 40% about 10% show a very significant progression, while the other 30% will show a very mild progression, maybe less than one degree per year.

Q: Are there any factors that can decrease or increase one’s risk of progression?
A: Yes, there are. The person who is sedentary and overweight is inviting problems.

Q: What treatments are available for adults with scoliosis?
A: First, one has to understand that many adults who have scoliosis never require treatment; they do not have obvious deformities or breathing problems, and they have no pain. But when an adult has a curvature that is approximately 50 degrees or more, then we begin to consider the possibility of spinal fusion surgery.

Source: National Scoliosis Foundation

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