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Can You Reverse the Curve of Your Spine with Yoga?

author image Luann Voza
Luann Voza teaches both math and science in an elementary school setting and physical education in a college setting. A former fitness-club owner, Voza has taught group fitness classes in step, aerobics, yoga, Pilates and kickboxing. As a bodybuilder, she held the title of Ms. New Jersey Lightweight Division Winner. Voza has a master's degree in exercise physiology and a doctoral degree in education.
Can You Reverse the Curve of Your Spine with Yoga?
Yoga poses help correct muscle imbalances that occur with spinal deviations. Photo Credit Prasit Rodphan/iStock/Getty Images

Your spine typically has curves designed to maintain alignment and assist in stability and mobility of your spine. Through structural problems and poor posture, these curves can be excessive. Excessive curvature of the spine, known as lordosis, can lead to discomforts, such as back pain and headaches. In more severe cases, serious health problems, like high blood pressure, respiration problems and debilitating injuries affecting the quality of life may occur. The physical practice of yoga can help correct muscle imbalances that further aggravate spinal deformities. In addition, breathing and meditation exercises help release stress and tension that add to spinal problems.

Step 1

Counter the affects of kyphosis, an excessive curvature of your thoracic, or upper spine attached to your ribs, by strengthening your upper back and stretching your chest muscles. Kyphosis results in a hunched, or humped back appearance with your shoulders slumped forward while standing or sitting. Yoga poses that arch your back such as the Cobra, Locust and Backbend poses, open or stretch your chest and strengthen your upper back muscles. Standing poses, such as Mountain pose, help to improve posture by squeezing your shoulder blades together, decreasing the shoulder slouch.

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Step 2

Correct a lordotic curve through abdominal strengthening and lower back stretching poses. A lordotic curve, or swayback, is a excessive curve of your lumbar, or lower spine. A weak abdomen and tight lower back can further curve the spine. Yoga poses such as Boat pose strengthen your abdomen. Engaging your abdomen, or contracting the abdominal muscles while practicing standing poses also improves abdominal strength. Pelvic tilts, flattening your lower back and tilting your hips forward, help to stretch your erector spinae, or lower back muscle. Add Bridge poses, placing your spine in a pelvic tilt position.

Step 3

Practice standing poses emphasizing equal weight distribution to help diminish the effects of scoliosis. Scoliosis is a lateral curve of your spine caused by uneven leg length or improper mechanics such as holding heavy bags or kids on the same hip over a long period of time. This brings one hip up higher than the other and can result in pain and discomfort. Poses that strengthen your core muscles, the abdomen, side obliques and lower back muscles, help to correct alignment problems. Examples include Spinal Twists, Planks and Side Planks. In addition, poses that lengthen your spine, such as Child's pose, are effective.

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