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DangersforScolioticPerformingYogaExercises

ProblemswithHathaYogaforScoliosis
byChristaLehnertSchroth

Inrecentyearsannouncementsandarticlesintheinternetaswellasjournalsevenin
specializedbooksrecommendYogaforScoliosisandtrainteachersforit.
TeachersinPilatescirclesalsotacklethetopic.ThereisevenaYogaforScoliosisTeacher
TrainingJournalinwhichaYogapractitioneristrainedinfivedaystobeateacherforall
scoliosiscases,seehttp//www.triciavilleyoga,cin/7.html.

Yogaisnotonlyatreatmentbutaspiritualbeliefsystem,thereforeitseemsthatwhenwe
questionpartofthesystem,thewholesystemfeelschallenged
Hereweenumeratetheproblemsweveexposed.ManyYogaPosescanbeharmlessor
beneficialtoascolioticbody.Forinstancearmandlegexercisesandstretchingexercises
withoutturningorbending.HathaYogaisfundamentallyunsuitedtotreatscoliosisbecause
theexerciseswerenotdistignedforthetasksinherentintreatingacomplexasymmetrical
muscularandspinalpathology.
Yogaexercisesareincreasiblyusedbysomeinstructorstotreatscoliosis,butwithoutfull
understandingoftheireffects.Scoliosisposesuniqueproblemstothetherapistbecauseof
itsinherentlyandasymmetricalconfiguration,whiletherapeuticallytoapatients
pathologicallyasymmetricaltorsowithoutcomprehensivephysiologicalandanatomical
knowledgeandexpertisewhichnoYogapractitionerhasjetdemonstratedinanypublication
relatedtoscoliosis.
IntheabovementionedYogaandPilatesexercisesallphotosshowpartipiciantsinclothing
thatcoverstheirbodiesdoingfantasticlookingmovements,whichoftenhaveanartistic
effect.ButYogapractitionerstendinsuchexercisesnottoobservetheuncoveredbackof
thepatients.Iftheydid,theywouldneccessarilynoticethattheexercisesdescribedbelow
makethescoliosisworseandthatpainmustneccessarilydevelope.Eveniftheseexercises
areperformedtobothsides.Theribsaltogetherbendortwistatleastinawrongform.

InthesedaysIvegotanemailfromIndia:Iamthemotherofa13yearsoldgirlwhohas
beendiagnosedwithadolescentidiopathicstrucruralthoracolumbarscoliosisaboutsix
monthback.MydaughterhasjustbeenforhersixmonthlycheckupandaspertheXrays
thecurveseemstohavegottenmuchworse.Ithasprogressedbyawhopping11degreesin
thesesixmonths.DuringthistimeshehasactivelypracticedIyengarYogaanddoneabitof
swimming.Theseobviouslydonotseemtohavehelped.Eventhoughthedoctordid
mentionthatsheisremarkablywellbalancedvisually.Cobbangleoftimeofthededection
33degreesforthelumbarcurve.
Cobbanglecurrently44degrees.
Thedoctorhassuggestedtogoforafullfusionsurgerysoonerthanlater.Especiallyinview
ofthefactshestillhasatleastoneyearofgrothspurtleft.

ThereforeitishightimetoexaminetheseHathaYogaexercisesandtheireffectmore
closely,inordertoopentheeyesoftheYogaandPilatespractitionersandshowthemthe
demagethatsuchexercisesdotoscoliosispatients.ButforallotherpersonsHathaYogais
1

verygood.InthisarticleIreferexclusivelythepicturesinmybookThreeDimensional
ScoliosisTreatment(www.schrothmethod.com)

Anatomy
Firstitisimportanttounderstandthenormalanatomyofthespineandribcagefrombehind
andfromthefront.
Normallyoneseesinananatomybookthespinousprocessesofthe24vertebraepoint
dorsally,seefig.1and2.
Everyvertebrahasapairoftransverseprocessesontheleftandright,bywhichtheribsare
attachedviajointstothethoracicspine,seefig.1.Theribspassfromtherearlaterally
aroundthechestcavityandforwardtothesternumtowhichtheyareagainattachedvia
joints.Onlythe11thand12thpairsofribshangfreeinthewaistmusculature,Eachvertebral
bodyhastwomorejointsprocessespointingcraniallytowardstheskullandtwocaudally
towardsthesacrum.

Fig1

Fig2

Fig.3
Infig.1ontherightsideinsideview.Therearethreephysiological
curvesobserved.Lumbarforward(lordotic),thoracicbackward
(kyphotic),cervicalforward(lordotic).

Fig4

Theribarticulationsandtransversprocessesofthethoracicvertebraeposteriorly,seefig.4and
band10thribsallattachingtothe7thrib.The11thand12thribsarefreefloatingribs,onlyarticulating
withthe11thand12ththoracicvertebra.
Inawrongposturethediscs,fig.5,thennolongerpushusstraightup,butratherinthedirection
whichprovideslessresistence.Seefig.5b
Therefore,whenconsideringtheanatomicaljointpositionofthespineandribcagethebodyis
cabableofmanymovements.Forinstancebendingforwardandbackwardandbelaterally.
Itisimportanttoconsidertheintervertebraldiscswiththesevariousmovementsandwhateffect
thesemayhaveonthediscs.Thesemovementsallowthenucleustolateralizetothelessloaded
side,whichofferslimitedresistance.
Ofcourse,thesemovementsnotonlyaffectedthevertebraebutalsotheadjacentintervertebral
discsinthisdirection.
Bendingforward.
Whenforwardbendingoftheupperbodyoccurs,theintervertebraldiscsareglidingtotherear.If
thepatientdoesthatforconstant,thanthephysiologicalcurve(thoracickyphosis)canbecome
3

pathological.Aribhumpcanformasaresult.Whenthebodyisintheuprightpositionthenucleus
pulposus(gel.substance)movesintoaneutralpositioninthecenteroftheintervertebraldisc,
assumingthatthebodyhasnotestablishedahyperkyphoticform,inathoraciccurvaturetotherear
theintervertebraldiscswillgrowwedgeshaped.
Bendingbackward
Fig5:

fromtheleftsidefromtherightside
Considernowextensionoftheupperbodyorbendingbackward,whichcreatesstraighteningofthe
thoracickyphosis(hypokyphosisinsagittalplane).Butthiscreatesincreasedpressureinthe
physiologicallumbarcurvatureanteriorly.Thisresultsinahollowback,sincethecorresponding
vertebraeshiftanteriorly(forward)andthenucleuspulposus(gel)isforcedforwardinthe
intervertebraldiscs.Certainlythisisanindicationofthepersonsflexibility.However,theabdominal
musclesarestretchedandtheintestinesprotrudeforwardandplacethemselvesintothestomach.
Eventhoughtheappearanceisgoodbutunhealthyandoftenitinitiatesbackpain.
AnotherposereferencedinYogaJournal,May2006istheSalabhasana(Locustpose.)showing
thepatientinpronepositionliftingandturningthelefthandupwardandelevaitingtherightleg,and
theleftarmsimultaneouslyorbothlegsand/orbotharmstogether,fig.9.
Theposecreatesincreasedlumbarlordosisandincreasesthealreadyexistingalluppercurves.
Thefollowingbackbendingposespatientswithmalposturemustavoid,too:
Dhanuras,CamelPose(Ustrasana),OneleggedPigeonPose(EkaPadaRaiakapotasana),Crescent
Pose(Anjaneyasana),Cobrapose(Bhujangasana).
Whyisbendingtotherearwiththeupperbodyharmful?Becausetherootoftheribhump,thatis
thebeginningoftheabnormalroundingofthebackcommencesdirectlyoutofthethelumbar
lordosistobendrearwardandtobendforwardagainattheribpointoftheribhump.Thus
phenomenonincreasesduringarearbendingexerciseofthetorsoandthusdisfiguresthefigure.So
wecanceltheseexercisesforscoliosis
Thetherapeuticgoalshouldbetoreversetheimbalanceoftrunkandstrengthenandstabilizewhile
thepatientisinacorrectedpositionaccountingforallthespinalandtrunkdeviations,aswellasthe
lateralandsagittaldysfunctions.Correctiveexercisesdonotinvolvebendingandtwistingsince
thesemaneuverswillincreasespinalloadingwhichwillbedetrimentaltothewrongposture:

Bow(Dhanuras),CamelPose(Ustrasana),OneleggedPigeonPose(EkaPadaRaiakapotasana),
CrescentPose(Anjaneyasana),Cobrapose(Bhujangasana),HalfMoon,Wheel,BowandScorpion.
Thetherapeuticgoalshouldbetoreversetheimbalanceofthebodyandstrengthenandstabilize
whilethepatientisinacorrectedpositionaccountingforallthespinalandtrunkdeviations,aswell
asthe(lateraland)sagittaldysfunctions.Thesecorrectiveexercisesdonotinvolvebendingand
twistingsincethesemaneuverswillincreasespinalloadingwhichwillbedetrimentalespeciallyto
thescolioticpatients.
Bendingsideward
Inasidewaysbendingoftheupperbodysimilarthingshappen.Inabendtotherightthevertebrae
withtheirsoftandgelatinousintervertebralcoresshifttotheleftandpressintotheleftside,asthey
aresqueezedintheright.Onecannoweasilybreathintotheleftside.
Itisrecommendedforanormalbuildedbodytodothislateralbendingalsotowardstheleftside,
wherebytherightsidecanbeventilated.
Whenperformingasidewaysbend(lateralflexion)oftheupperbodythefollowingoccurs:

Alateralbendtotherightwillcreatealsoawedgeoftheupperbodywithclosedendonthe
rightandopenwedgeontheleft.Nowtheintervertebraldiscswiththesoftgelatinous
substancebeingcompressedontheright(waist)andthisfluidnowaccumulatingonthe
left.
Theribs11and12areinsofttissuemusculature.Theyrunalmosthoricontally
intotheabdomenbecausethesoftmusculaturedoesnotoffersupport.

Asaresultasymmetricloadingoccursonthespinaljoints.Ifpositionisheldforaprolonged
periodoftimethepersonissubjecttoadvancedspinaldegeneration,developingspinal
spurs(osteophytes),discherniationwhichcanleadtospinalstenosis.Spinalstenosisisa
narrowingofthecentraland/orlateralneuralcanal.Whenthisoccurssciaticnervs
impingementislikelythereby.Thepersoncandeveloplegpain.Thereforthegoalisto
performareverslateralbendtotheothersideinnormalbuildedbodies.

Trunkrotation
Trunkrotationisperformedwhenthepelvisisfixed(stationary)andtheshouldergirdleis
rotatedagainstthepelvicgirdle.Forexample,inaseatedpositionrotatetherightshoulder
backwardandtheleftshoulderforward.Thiscreatesanobliquetensionontheventral
(front)side.Theleftchestiscontracted,therightexpanded.Whenobservingfrombehind
thethoracicrightribcageandthespineisfullroundedcreatingalargerlungspace.Now,
whenthepersonbreathes,thebreathisincreasinglydirectedintotherightlungspace.Now
thepersonshouldtakealsotheothersidetoventilateeachside.

NowletusdiscussinmoredetailsbendingmovementsbyHathaXogaexercisesin
scoliosis:
Forwardbendingpose
Whentheupperbodyassumesforwardflexionroundingofthebackinathoracickyphosisandthe
lumbarlordosisdecreasesinlumbarkyphosis,too.
5

Plow(halasana).Fig.6

Whenthelegsareextendedfromsupinepositionvertically
upward,theentireweightoflegsandpelvisstretchesthestomachmusclesinlengthandpower
beforethelegsarebentoverthehead.Theweightoflegsandpelvisrestsontheshouldergirdle.
Thebackisroundedallinhaledairflowsintotheribhump.Theheadispressedforward,theupper
breastisnarrow.Whataneffectshallhavesuchanexerciseforscoliosis?Weleaveit.
ShoulderstandorCandle:Fig.7

Assumingaposethatplacesbodyweightupontheshoulderwillinvariablyprovedeleteriousfora
scoliosispatient.SeeFig.7
Intheshoulderstandposetheentireweightoflegs,pelvisandtrunkrestsupontheshouldergirdle.
Theeffectistocompresstheshouldergirdleincludingclaviculae,andtoincreasetheribhump.The
cervicalspineisforcedintoforwardflexionwhichcreatesacervicalkyphosisinsteadofacervical
lordosisinanormalspine.Thisposecompromisesbreathin,sinceallinhaledairisforcedintothe
rightconvexarea,furtherenlargingtheribhumpontheright.
6

Please,turnthefig.7180sothatthepersonstandsonfeet.Helooksdepressivelydownandfeels
theroundingoftheupperbody.Weleavethisexercise.
NowtotheBackbendingPoses
Asecondtypeofcontraindicatedexercisesforscoliosispatientsisthebackbend.Inthearticlein
YogaJournalMay2006patientswithscoliosisaredirectedtoperformanexercisereferredtoasthe
RecliningBackbend.Inthisposethepositionofthespinecompromisesitssagittalalingnment.
ReferringtotheillustrationinYogaJournalMay2006weseeamodelinsupinepositionplaceda
bolsterunderthethoracicspinewhichisalreadyhypokyphoticontheconcaveside,theeffectwill
betocreateathoraciclordosisorthoracicextension.Thisisdesirableifthepatientishyperkyphotic
butthemajorityofscoliosispatientsareinfacthypokyphoticontheconcaveside.Wecanseeitin
Xraysinsideview.Forthesepatientsthebolstercreatesspinalinstabilityinthesagittalplane.The
Yogaspinetherapycontinuestobendfurtherlaterallyandrotates,creatingstillmorelumbar
instability.
Fig8aFig8bFig8c

Thebackbendposeshortensthethoracicmusclegroups,especiallyrhomboids,latissimusdorsi,
trapeciusanderectorspinae.Inthesameprocesstheabdominalmusclesarelengthenedand
weakened,thoughthescoliosispatientneedstoshortentheabdominals,nottostretchthem.
Unfortionatelytheseposesincreasethoracicextensionwhichiscontraindicatedformostscoliotics,
seebookWeissBestpracticesduetothefactthatitcreatesincreasedspinalinstability,Youdont
thinkthatonesizefitsallwithscoliosis,buttothecontrary,eachpatientandeachcurvepattern
mustbeaddressedindividuallyortheresultcouldbeprogressionratherthanimprovement.
Upwardfacingdog,fig8a
Whenbendingtheupperbodybackward(thoracicextension)thestomachmusclesare
oberstretched.Itisnottheribhumpwhichisdesiredtoreducebutratherthelumbarlordosis
increases.Theribhumpstartswiththoracicextension,startingatthelumbararea,whichoccurson
theribhumpsideinscoliosis.Therefore,oneshouldabsolutelyavoidbackwardbendingoftheupper
body!Seealsotheexplainingabouttherootoftheribhump!

Fig.9proneposition,onearmoronelegraising.
Thesimilarhappensinproneposition.Thelumbarmuscleshavetoworkandtoraisetheupperbody.
Thisexercisemaybesuitableforlumbarkyphosis.

SidebendinginYogaPosesorexercisesinscoliosis

Nowletusdiscusstheseexercisesinascoliosisbody.

Firsttheanatomicalandphysiologicalconsideration.

IntheclinicaldictionaryPschyrembelscoliosisisdefinedas:Greekscolios,crocked.
Curvatureofthespinewithrotationoftheindividualvertebrae(torsion)andstiffeningin
thissection.Thisdefinitionislackingforseveralreasons.Butscoliosisincludesmorethan
spinealone.Theentirechestisinvolvedsincetheribsarticulatewiththetransverse
processesofthethoracicvertebrae.Thisarticulationisresponsiblefortheribdistorsion
whichcreatesanunbalancedribcagewhichmakestheribhumpvisibleespeciallywith
forwardflexionofthetrunk.

Locatedbetweentwovertebraeinthecervical,thoracicandlumbarspineareintervertebral
discsexcludingthefirstandsecondcervicalvertebraewherenodiscispresent.Alldiscsare
composedoftheannulusfibrosusandnucleuspulposus.Theannulusfibrosushas
intertwinedcollagenousfiberswhichsurroundsthenucleuspulposus.Thenucleuspulposus
consistsofaliquid,gelatinoussubstance.Thevertebraeconsistsofosseousstructureswhich
includethespinousprocesswhichpointsposteriorlybilateral
Thetransverseprocessespointinglaterally.Thesetransverseprocessesinthethoracicspine
articulatewithribsbilaterally.

Fig.10

Infig.10weseenormalmusclesontheback,
forinstancelongissimus,iliocostalis,erectorspinaeetc


Fig11
Infig11weseeapatientwithaseriouslydistorted
scoliotictrunc.Inthedrawingofarightthoracicscoliosis
(fig14)isseenthatthespinousprocessesinscoliosisno
longerpointbackwardbecausethetrunkstandsno
longeraxiallycorrectly,insteadpropertyvertically
aligned,butarerotatedtowardstheconcavesideofthe
curvature.Simultaneouslytheribsontheinnerarc
(concaveside)pressedmoretogether,whileonthe
convexsideofthecurvetheystandfurtherapart.Sotheribpleuraisconnectedwiththelungpleura
byvacuum(membrane)andcontributestoasymmetriclungexpansionincreasingthealready
abnormalcurvatureofthescolioticspine.
Inthesamepictureweseenotonlyonesidebendingcurvaturebutalsotwosmallercompensatory
curvesintheoppositedirection.Thesecompensatorycurvesserveascounterbalance.Abalanced
bodyisnowobserved,butitispathologicalcalledscolioticbalance.
Simultaneouslytheribsontheconcavesidearenarrowwhileontheconvexsidewideningofthe
intercostalspaceispresent.(spreadingtheribspaceapart).
Inthedrawingisseenthatthespinousprocessesnolongerpointbackward,butarerotatedtowards
theconcavesideofthecurvature.Simultaneouslytheribsontheinnerarcsidearepressedmore
together,whileontheconvexsideofthecurvetheystandfurtherapart.Sincetheribpleurais
connectedwiththelungpleurabyvacuum(membrane),andthelungisbetterventilatedontheright
sidebyunilateralribtension,eachbreathwillcontributestoasymmetriclungexpansionincreasing
thealreadyabnormalcurvatureofthespine.
Nowitisapparentwhyadevelopingscoliosisworsens.Primarilybecausetheintervertebraldiscs
havebecomewedgeshapedandtheirnucleuspulposus(innergelatinoussubstance)isbeingforced
intoanabnormalposition.
Sidebendingexercises
Fig.12smallsidebendingtotherightandtotheleft

Standing,armsstretchedvertically.Thislittlebendingproovestheflexibilityofthetrunk.

Inscoliosisisthatnottorecommend,becauseasidebendingtotherightortotheleft,maybeina
thoracicorinalumbarcurve,worksalwaysintoanexistingcurve.Sowecancelthisexercisefor
scoliosis.
Fig.13Xraysofa4yearsoldgirl.

InthefirstXraythevertebrallineby19.ThesecondXrayshowsafollowupXrayafter1years.
Thelumbarspinenowdeviates30fromtheverticallinewhichrepresentsasignificantdeterioration.
BothXraysweretakeninrestingposition.
ThethirdXRaywastakenonthesamedayasthesecondduringexercise.Itshowsaverydistinct
flatteningonthemainscolioticcurve.Ifthepelviswouldbenotvisible,itmayimaginethatthe
spinemayhavebeenstraightupbythisexercise.However,turningtheXraysothatthepelvisis
horizontal,liketheforthpictureshows,thatthebodyhasbeenunbalancedevenfurtherbythis
exercise.Theflowtingribsattherighthavemovedevenclothertothepelviccrestthanthefirst
picture.ThesamehappensbyHathaYogabendingexercises.Thepersonshallrecognicewhat
happensbybendingtheuppertrunklaterallyonlytorecognizewhathappensbytreatinglateral
flexionwhenonlyonecurvatureofthespineisseenorpayattensionforit.
Withotherwords:Wehavetotreatallthreeorfourcurvesoftrunksegmentsotherwiseallof
thespinalcurvatureswillworsen.
Eachcaseofscoliosisisasumofmalpostureswhichhavedevelopedintoonewrongshape.Forthis
reasonitisnotenoughtocorrectonlyonespecificmalposture,sincethoseremainingspoilthe
overallresult.Itdisturbesthebodysbalance.Theribhumpincreasesandrequirestheoppositehip
toshiftlaterally(outward)tomaintainbalance.Thiscreatesalumbarhumptotheoppositesideof
theribhump.Nowtheheadcantremainshiftedtotheright,butratherbelongsinthemiddleofthe
body(abovethespine)withtheshouldergirdlesectionwedgingtowardsthethoracicconcave
side.Thusthethreedevelopingspinalcurvaturesarestrengthenedandworsened.
Incontrastthepurposeofscoliosistreatmentviaaphysicalexerciseapproach,istoaccountforthese
spinalandtrunkimbalancesinthreedimensions.Oftenthesagittalprofileisnotoverlooked.A
commonmistakemadebyunknowinginstructorsorpatientsattemptingtoselfclassify.Their
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curvaturesaretomistakenlydeterminethatunilateralscapulawingingisautomaticallyassociated
withathoracichyperkyphosiswheninrealitythemajorityofthetimesthepatienthasathoracic
hypokyphosis.Thisleadstotroublewhendeterminingwhichexercisestoperformforonesown
scoliosis.
Fig.14TrianglePose

Onpage6YogaJournal,May2006examinethepersonTrianglepose.Note,thereisawidestance
andhertorsobendstotheright,therighthandoutstretchedtowardtherightfoot,andtheleftarm
stretchedovertheheadcreatedareversaloftherightthoraciccurve.Thegoalistoopentheleft
thoracicconcavity(widentheleftribcage)allowingincreasedrespirationintothecollapsedside.This
isappropriate.However,otheranatomicaljointsandmusclesmustbeconsidered.Thenegative
(contraindicated)effectoccurswhenconsideringthelumbarspine.Therightlumbarconcavityis
furthercompressed,therebyshortening(concentric)themusculatureandincreasingasymmetric
loadingonthespinaljoints.Therightfreefloatingribs(11thand12th)areshiftedtotheleftcreating
anincreasedleftlumbarconvexity,whichacerbatestheleftlumbarhump(prominence).Thisresults
inmusclelengtheningandrotatingoftheleftlumbarmusculature,whichneedstobeshortened.If
theexerciseisperformedtotheoppositeside,thentheleftthoraxconcavityandrightribhump
(convexity)increases.Therefore,thismaneuvercannotbeperformedhopingtoachievebalance
whenmechanicallyitisincorrect.Thismustbeavoidedasitaggravatestheexistingimbalance.
Schrothdoestheopposite,forinstancetheexercisemusclecylinder,fig.15

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Schrothleanstheupperbodytotheleft(concave)side,tostrengthentherightlumbarmuscles.
Thebackmuscleserectorspinae,longissimusdorsiandotherscannowpulltogethertheribhump
frombelow.Sotheroofoftheribhumpstandsverticallyagain.
Inthisexercisethepelvisisfixedinthebestderotatedposition(rightpicture),Nowtheribcagecan
bederotatedwiththeleadedSchrothbreathinginthreedimesionalmannerfortherightwaist,the
leftribs,thefrontalrghtribs.Theheadpullswithathrustofthefontanellecranially.
Whenallisdone,wefirmthetodaybestresultofexercisewithanisometrictensionroundaboutthe
wholetrunk.
Fig.16ThispictureinsidelayingbelongsalsototherubricSidebending.
Thepatienthasapronouncedthreecurvescoliosis,lumbar
left,thoracicright(fig.11)inordertocorrectthethoracic
curve,butthelumbarcurveincreases,becausetheupper
bodybecomesheavierontheright.Thisrequiresbecause
ofcorrectionofbalancethatthelefthipprotrudes.Since
theleftlumbarmusculaturemustnowattempttoholdthe
bodyinbalance.Ittightensupanddrawsthelumbarspine
towardstheleft.Butnotonlythat.Theshouldergirdleis
drawnoutofitshorizontalpositionandpullsthethoraco
cervicalcurvealongtowardstheleft.Thiscreatesanothershoulderhump.
Aswell,inaddition,inthispositiontherightribsarepressedoftheweight.Butthatdoesntbewith
thesideribsbecauseofthetrunkrotation.Whatispressednow,areapartsofthefrontsideribs.
Andtheseribsarenotallowedtogoinward.Theyhavetobreathforwardupward.Onecanseein
thepicturethattherightfrontpartisturnedrearward.Afterthisknowledgewehavetoleavethis
postureorexercise!
Fig.17Schothimaginethedifferentmovings
Remark:Whenevaluetingarightthoraciccurvelaterallyinflexion
totherightincreasesthoraciccurvature,sincethealready
lengthenedmusclesarefurtherlengthenedviastretching,while
simultaneouslyincreasingspinaljointloadingandvertebralwedging.
However,iftranslation(sideshift)isperformedinthecoronal
(frontal)plane,theconvexmusclesshortenwhiletheconcave
lengthenandspinaljointloadingisdecreased.fig.17

Thedrawingfig17shallmakeclearhowSchrothimaginesthe
differentmovings:
1=astraighttrunk2=scoliosisthoracicright3=bendingtheuppertrunktotheright
4=resultwhiledoingthis.Thetrunksinkstogether,thespineisshorter5=accordingtoSchroth
lean(notbend)thetrunktotheleft.Allcurvaturesarelongerandstretched.
Figl8drawing
12

A=thepointwhereonebowgoesintothenextone
B=upperlumbarbow
C=lowthoracicbow
D=upperthoracicbow
E=lowshoulderneckbow
Onebowgoesintothenextoneinthesamedirection.Whenone
directionchanges,thebowsgrowbigger.

HereImaytellyou,whathappened,asIwrotetoaseniorIyengarYogaspecialist,thathehastostop
suchsidebendingexercisesforthoracicrightscoliosisbecausetherightlumbarareagrowsnarrow
andthelumbarspinedeviatestotheleft.Therib11and12andthelaterallyinsofttissue
musculatureontherightwaistarepressed.Theyrunalmosthorizontally.Incaseofaseverescoliosis
thesetworibsreachverticallyintotheabdomenbecausethesofttissuemusculaturedoesnotoffer
supportandisatrophic.Theweightoftheoverhangingribhumpprodusesadeepfold.Thelumbar
spineisdisplacedandpushedovertotheoppositeside.Isenthimapartofmyarticle.
Heanswered:Trianglepose(Trikonasana).ThesubjectinaTrianglePoseassumesawidestance
andbendshertorsototheright.Herrighthandreachestowardsherrightfootandherleftarm
stretchesoverherhead.Ifapatientwitharightsidelumbarconcavityistoldtotakeherbottom
handtowardsherrightfootandthenherleftarmstretchesoverherhead,clearly,thepatientis
practicingwithawoefullyunadaequateteacher.Becauseontherudimentarylevel,assuming
TrianglePosetotherightsidewitharightlumbarconcavityshouldhavetherightarmSTRETCHED
PARALLELtothefloorandtherightarm,AWAYfromtherightfootandplacedonachairatthe
heightoftherightsideribs.Thentheleftarm,insteadofstrechingupshouldalsobebroughtup
andoverthehead,PARALLELtothefloorandtherightarmthelefthandonthetopofthesame
chair,sothatBOTHSIDESOFTHELUMBARSPINEANDCORRESPONDINGERECTORSPINAEMUSCLES
AREEQUALLYEXTENDED,wITHEVENANDBALANCEDLOADINGONBOTHSIDESOFTHEVERTEBRAE

Furthermore:Intheauthorsdescription(mine!)theauthor(me!)descripts,oftheposeshe
assumesthatwhenTrianglePoseisperformedtotherightsidethelumbarrightwaistisSHORTENED
andthefloatingribs(11thand12th)pushedtowardtheleftside,furtheraggravatingthealready
atrophiedrightsidemuscles.Theautorwrites:Therightfreefloatingribs(11thand12th)areshifted
totheleft,downwardandmedially.ButthisisABSOLUTELYINCORRECT!WHENTrianglePoseis
donetotherightside,theheadoftherightfemurissupposedtobeabsorbedsufficientlyintothe
hip,therightsidebuttockboneresistedsufficientlyforwardsothattherightsidefloatingribsare
extendedAWAYfromtherightsidewaist.LENGTHENINGtherightsidequadratuslumborum.NOT
SHORTENINGIT.AlsoTrianglePoseisnotalateralbend,butitisalateralextension,NOTalateral
bend.
13

Whatshallonesaytothat?
Thisexpertdoesntknow,thatweallhavethreepartsofthetrunkandnotonlyoneinthemiddle.
Hedoesntseethelumbararea,whichisasthecellarofahouse.Andacellarhastobehorizontal,
sothattheotherpartscanbuiltexactlyverticallyupon.Thesamewehavetothinkaboutourbody,
Theexpertdoesntwanttolookatthelumbarandpelvispart.Hedoesntseethattheleftlumbar
musclespullthelumbarspinetotheleftandrotateit.Thatisalsothecasewhenhestretchesthe
rightwaist,becauseallthebodyweighthangsontheseleftlumbarmuscles.
HehasasimilarstrangeexplanationforBackBending.
Hewrites:Tomyeyesandunderstandingsheismakingfalseconclusionsregardingtheeffectsof
thepractice.Sheischoosingonephotoofoneposture,perhapsorchestratedandarrangedby
somebodyunqualified.Thisonephotomayverywellbeilladvised.Theexerciseisbeingdone
incorrectly.Wehaveawholearrayofdifferentshapedwedges.foams,bandages.ropes,poles,
triangles.etctomodifytheunwantedcounteractionsofthespine,inordertocreateaharmoneus
balancedmanageablespinalextension.
Thereisnotsupposedtobeaccentondorsalextensioninthebackbends.Converselythespine,from
thetipoftheanteriorcoccyxallthewayupintotheatlasissupposedtohaveabalancedanda
harmoneusextensionwherespaceiscreatedevenlybetweenthevertebrae,withanemphasison
anteriorgapping.Butthisanteriorgappingisnotsupposedtopinch,close,and/orrotatethespinein
anycompromisedway.Andifitdoes,thepostureisbeingdoneincorrectlyandonabodythatisnot
readyforsuchanaction.Inwhichcasetheposturemustbethrowntothesideacorrectly
assembledbackbendcreatestractionforthespinenotcompressionandlateralrotation.
(Isay:Wherewecanfindsomethingwrittenaboutthedifferentaidstouse?AndSchrothhasno
patientwhoisnotjetreadyforthisorthatexercise.)
Hedsays:Theauthorthencontendsthatthebackwardextensionshortenthethoracicmuscle
groups(Imeanthelumbarmuscles)andthattheabdominalmusclesgetweakened.
Inaclassicbackbendthedorsalmusclesaremomentarilycontracted.Yes.Butdoesthatgivethe
authorthefreedomtoproclaim,themusclesareshortened?Onecouldeasilyusethewordstoned,
rinsed.strengthened,chargedorflushed
(Isay:Hemisunderstood:Theoverstretchedabdominalmusclesaregrowingweakbecausetheyare
nowintheexerciselongandlatertheyareunabletopullthemselvestogether.Sothattheintestines
cansinkforwardanddown.Thepatientgetsabigstomachandalumbarlordosis.)
Hesays:IfLocustPoseispracticedinawaythatcreatesastheauthorpointsoutincreased
lordosis,thenyes,itiscounterproductivewhentryingtoaddressscoliosis.
Whyshoulditcreatelordosiswhichisanabnormaloverextension/archofthelumbarspine?Any
seniorIyengarYogateachersforexampleknowthatanypatientwithspinalconditionmust
emphasizeinthebackarchesknowthataspinalconditionmustemphasizethelongitudinal
extensionofthespineinputtingveryaccentonanyarch.
(Isay:Thatisnowherewrittenorshown.Butwithhisbackextensionthelumbarlordosisstays
nevertheless!)
14

Hesays:Salabasabaispracticedwithafoldedblanketplacedcrosswisejustbelowthenavelatthe
levelofL5,encouragingtheanteriorfaceofL5tomoveposteriorly.Thepatientstretchesboth
armsforward,liftingthewrists/handsupontoachairseat,keepingtheheaddownsoasnottopush
thelumbarfurtherintolordosis.Theproperlytrainedteacherthenstandsabovethepatientatthe
levelofhis/herpelvis.Andwithatrainedfoot,theteachermovesthesacrumstronglydown(distally)
andinto(anteriorly)thebody.
Thenthepatientistold,nottoarch,buttoextendtheanteriorspine,alongwiththearmsina
longitudinalextension,balancedlefttorightandfronttoback.Thisdoesnotcreatelumbar
overarching(lordosis).Onthecontrary,itgapsL5/S1andcreatestractionforthelowerspine.
(Isay:Whenthearmsarelyinguponthechairseat,thethoracicbackmusclesworkinagood
extension.Butthefrontribbowglissesforwardandcreatesalumbarlordosis.Whatshallthehead
tokeepforward?Thatcreatesonlyakyphosisintheuppertrunk.Andwhataboutatrainedfoot?Is
thischiropractic?Schrothdoesneverdosomethingtocorrectwiththefoot.)
Whatshallonesayabout?
Youcandospinalextensions,butthewrongpositionofthepelvisstaysandworksworsening.
Whenyoubendtheuppertrunktooneside,itpullsalwaysanotherlumbarpushintotheopposite
lumbardirection.
Fig.19Thethreetrunkblocksinathreecurverightthoracicscoliosiswiththedeviationsinfrontal
plane

Thefirstdrawingshowsanormalbodyanditstrunkareals:fromdown:Thepelvisblock,the
thoracicblockandtheshouldergirdleblockwithhead.
Theseconddrawingshowesamildscoliosis.Thethreeblocksshiftlaterallyagainsteachother:
Thepelvisblockshiftstotheleft,thethoracicblockshiftstotheright.Theshouldergirdleblock
shiftstotheleft.
Thethirddrawingshowsadecompensatedscoliosis,notonlysideways,butalsoturnedagainsteach
other.Theblocksarenowwedgeshapedandthetrunksinkstogether.

15

Thefourthdrawingshowesapatientinrestingpositionwhohassuchaform.Thepelvisismovedto
theleft,thelefthipstandsout,isprominentbecausethebodyweightisontherightleg.Theupper
bodysinkstotheright.
Iftheuppertrunkiswrongbenttotherightandthepelvismovedtotheleft,thetrunkisbalanced
overthecenterofgravity.Butitisascolioticbalance.Thisiswhythebodyweightrestsmoreonthe
rightlegwhilestandingandontherightbuttockwhilesitting.Thispositionrepresentsa
disadvantageforscoliosispatients.
Oncemore:
Eachcaseofscoliosisisasumofmalposturewhichhavedevelopedintoonewrongshape.Forthis
reasonitisnotenoughtocorrectonlyonespezificmalposture,sincethoseremainingspoilthe
overallresult.
Fig.20Thefourtrunkblocksinafourcurvescoliosis

Inthiscasethepelvicgirdleisdividedintoalumbarandapelvicsection.Sotheblocksturnagainst
eachother.Allhaveshiftedlaterallyagainsteachotherandturnagainsteachother,too.Theblocks
sinktogether.Thedrawingontherightshowsapatientwithsuchaform.Therighthipstandsout,is
protruded.Thatisveryimportantforthetraining:
Inrestingpositionofadorsalrightscoliosiswithfourcurvesthebodyweightisontheleftside.The
bodysagstotheleft,thelumbarspineshowesabigcurve.Thispositionrepresentsquitea
disadventageforscoliosispatients.Theconsequencewouldbeinreversalexerczises:Thepelvis
shallmovetotheleft,butthelumbarcurveshallturnagainstinwardforward.Thebodyweightshall
restsmoreinthemiddlewhilestandingorsitting.Thedrawingontherightdepictsanrotatedtrunk
witharightthoracictrunk.Therighthipisprominent.
Allthisthetherapistneedstoknow.Hehastounderstand,whythisorthatexerciseiscalledforone
scoliosisandanotherisprohibitedinscoliosis.
NowfortheTorsorotationor/andTwist,fig.21
ThatisacombinationPose..Atorsotwistoccurswhentheshouldergirdletogetherwiththethorax
sectionrotateagainstafixedpelvisasintheChairTwistPose.
16


Fig.21theTorsoRotationPose

Thepatient(leftpicture)turnstherightshoulderrear,theleftshoulderforward.Onesees,theright
humproundedsideandbackwardbecausethepelvisisturnedtotheopposite.
Therightpictureshowstheturningleftshoulderback,rightshoulderforward.Therightribhump
aggravates,too.,becausetheleftfrontribbowpushsforward.
Oneseestherighthumproundedsideandbackwardbecausethepelvisissittingfixedturnedtothe
opposite.
Youcanturnandtwistthetrunk,itiswrong,whenshouldergirdleisturnedagainstthepelvis,
becausethemiddleofthetrunk,theribcagewiththeribhumpisoutofseeing.Nobodythinks
aboutofourthreeblocks.Allareseeingonlytwo.,theshoulerandthepelvis.
Apersonwhodoesnotrecognizetheseelementsperformsuchharmfulexercisesorprescribesthem
forothers,withoutattemptingtodetermineexactlytheirphysiologicaleffects.
ButtheYogaexpertwrites:Theauthorisdescribingaverypoorlyperformedtwistwhoseemphasis
appearstobeonrotationandnottheuniquespinalextensionthatissupposedtobeexploredin
relationshiptoagraduallyincreasedreasonabletorqueofspinalrotationespeciallyforscoliosis
patients.
ThepatientswanttotryallexerzisesonpicturesofYogabooksandarticlesabouttwistingand
bending.Andthisisdoingdangerous.Theseexercisesmustavoidsincethereisnowaytoperformit
withoutcounterproductiveeffects.
AllYogateacherstalkaboutLyengar,fromwhomtheylearnedtheseexercisesforscoliosis.Heis
theheadmanofYogaandallpayhimtribute.Lyengarwasborn1918andofferedhisfoundingsfor
scoliosisinthemiddleofthelastcentury.Butunfortionatelyhealsodidntthinkaboutscoliosis
more.Forhimwasthemostimportantthingtoopentheconcavity.Hegavecursesforscoliosis.And
allhisstudentsagreeanddontlookbehindtheseexercises.
Lyengardidntrealizeourthreetrunkblocks(pelvis,ribcage,shoulderneck).Hetwiststheshoulder
girdletogetherwiththeribcageagainstthepelvis.
Inbendinghedoesthesame:Hebendstheupperbody=theshouldergirdletogetherwiththerib
cagesidewaysagainstthepelvis,notthinkingabouttheresultofthesemovementswhilenotlooking
onanundressedthorax.Butwecanseethatinthepictures:
17

Schrothinathoracicrightscoliosisbringstherightshoulderrear,buttherightbreastforwardand
therightpelvisoncemorerear.Allthistheexpertdidntseeinhiscreatedexerciseswhichhegave
hislearningstudentsandallotherteachers,too.Andtheyfollowhimtilltoday!

Fig.22TheSchothderotationsitonchair

KatharinaSchrothrecognizedthis.Shecreatedcounterexerciseswhichworkcorrectlyonallspinal
curvesandtorsorotations.Seefig.22aboveormySchrothbook.
Thepractitionerwhowishesreallytohelpthepatients,findsawayoutofthescolioticmiserywill
havetothinkaboutmorethanHownicethisexerciseislooking!Thepatienthastolearnwhat
he/shehasdonewrongbeforeandhowithastobeperformedcorrectly.
Conceivedwrongexercisesusuallyalsocausesthepatientspain,becausethespinaljointspositioned
unphysiologically,andfinallyonebonesectionwillbegintorubagainstanother,causingpain
becausetheskinthatenclosestheboneisthemostsensitivepart.
Oftenafaultyloadcausesarotationofvertebrae,sothatthespineformsaflightofstairs(toone
centimeterormore)insomevertebraewhichstronglyirritatesthespineandalsothepatient.In
severcausestheonlythingthatcanhelpisasurgicalintervention.
Allthatwouldnotbenecessaryiftherapistandpatientknowexactlywhytheyhavetopracticethis
exerciseandavoidthatone.ItisnecessarytoknowandtounderstandtheSchrothconceptandto
trainwiththoughts,toacknowledgethemandincorporatethemintothetherapyprogram.
Performingexerciseswithoutunderstandingtheprecisefunctionandeffectsofeachisawasteof
timeandoftenharmful.
KatharinaSchrothrecognizedthis.Shecreatedcounterexerciseswhichworkcorrectlyonallspinal
curvesandtorsorotations.WhiledotheSchrothderotationsit,stretchingtheoutwardrotated
rightlegreartheupperbodyhastoleanforwardexactlyinprolongationofthestretchedleg.Sothe
rightwaistisopenforbreathingaccordingtoSchroth.Sothefloatingribscanbreathedlaterally
craniallyandrearandoncemorecraniallytilltheywillfindtheirnormalposition.Apushwiththe
heelhelpstoopenthewaist.Allotherconcavitieswillbebreathedthreedimensional(leftconcave
side,rightfrontribs).Whenallisdonethewholetrunkshallfirmeallmusclesofthetrunkwithan
isometrictensionduringexhalation.ButYogaexercisesloosenmusclesandjoints.
18

NowIwanttoshowanexamplewithapatientofmineinformertimes:
Fig23
HealwayssataftermytreatmentwithhiminthisYogasit.
Iforbithimthat,buthedidnthear.Hedidntwanttostop
ithefeelsverywellwithit.Hedidittillitknocked
(knackte)inhisspine.AsIgavehimhisphotos,hewas
shockedandimmediatelyhestoppedthisYogasit.
Wesee:Hisscoliosisisonlyalittletosee.Butwhenhe
turnstotherightortotheleft,theribhumpaggravates.

Whenthebackisalmostfullyexposed,thustheviewerclearlyrecognizesthattheribhumponthe
rightsiderotatesgreatlyoutwardandbackwardsandthattheleftsideofthebackshiftsforward,
whichissurelynotthegoalofthisexercise.Ifapatientperformsthisrotationalexerciseregulary,the
abnormalcurvatureanglesofthescoliosiswillquicklyincreaseandthedoctormayrecommend
surgeryassoonaspossible.
Nomatter,howthepatientrotates,turnsorbends,itwillalwaysbewrongwhenthegoalisonlyto
improvethethoracicspinalcurve.Thisisbecauseascoliosisconsistsnotonlyofasinglespinalcurve.
Athoraciccurveissoonaccompanied,belowbyalumbarcurveandabovebyashoulderneckcurve.
AllspinalcurvesenlargewhentheseHathaYogaexercisesarepracticed.

Fig.24onthemeadowinearliertimes

19


Schrothdoestheoppositeofthatwhatthescolioticbodyshows:
Theleftpictureshowsbendingtotheright.Itpressestheflowtingribstogetherandenlarges
theleftlumbarconvexity.Thepelvisisoutofbalance.
OntherightpictureweseeaSchrothexercise.Thebodystandsuprightwithouttheseabove
describedmistakes.
Fig.25The16yearsoldboyshowsuswhathehaddonebefore

Fig25
Weseeonthepictureaverydisdorted
trunkwithabighumpundertheneck.
Hetrainedformelythesewrong
exercisesforfouryears,notknowing
whathedoes.Andnoonetoldhimto
stopthat.
Thepictureshowshimtorsotwisting:
rightshouldergirdlerearward,butright
hipforwardforholdingbalance.Therib
humpturnsfurthertotherearand
enlarges.Noonedidrecognizethat.And
theboythoughtitisallright.

Fig.26

Fig.26:Schrothopensthenarrowrightwaist.Thesemuscleshavenowtocarrytheweight
oftheupperbody.Inthesametimetheconcavesideiswide,aircanstreamin,three
dimensionalleaded.Alliscombinedwiththemostpossiblederotatedpelvisandderotated
shouldergirdle.Theheadpullscranially.Thespineisnowaslongaspossible.Afterallthe
patienttensesallmusclesisometricallywhileexhaling.

20

Fig.27:tworesultsofdifferentconservativetreatments

a) The12yearsoldboyafterathreemonth
treatmentbyKatharinaSchroth.
b) FouryearslaterThesameboyattheageof16
years.Meanewhilehetrainedbendingand
twistingexercisesinanotherpractice.

c) 10yearsoldgirlatthebeginningofSchroth
treatment.
d) Thesamegirlattheageof15yearsattheendof
fourinpatienttimeswiththeSchrothmethod.

OnBreathing
Previouslybreathingwasonlymentionedcursorily.However,itisanessentialpartof
Schroththerapy,infactthemostessentialpart.Thereisnootherwaytofilloutthe
collapsedtorsosections.Onlyairpressurefromwithincanwidenandfillthemout.

Thereforewhencorrectingsunkenupperbodysections,theSchrothmethodalwaysbegins
withtheconstrictedribs,inordertopushthemapart.Ifonewouldmerelypresstheribs
inwardthathaveshiftedlaterallyandrearward,theseribswouldhavenoroomtomove,
becausethecollapsedribsandthestiffspinewouldhinderthem.Aderotationofribcage
andspinecanonlyhappenwhenthetorsoisextendedtoitsgreatestpossiblelength.Thus
theSchrothmethodengagesthesocalledrightanglebreathing(RAB)technique,whichis
describedindetailinmySchrothmanual.

InRABthepatientbreathestheribsoutwardfromthemiddlethatisthefirstdirection
anddirectlyafterwardsupwardalongtheverticalaxisofarightangleasthecomplementary
seconddirection.Theupwarddirectionmeansstretchingthespineandtherebythewhole
torso.Outwardmeansawayfromthecrookedspine,whichisthendrawnintothecorrective
position.

Toreducetheribhump,theonlymethodistofillthereartorsocavities,wherebytheribs
serveasleversfortheabnormallyrotatedvertebrae.Thisofcourseisonlytheoutward
movementofthebreath(ribs).AcorrectSchrothRABactionalsoincludesaninward
movementofthebreathingtechnique,aconsciouslyonesidedloweringofthediaphragm.

21

Perhapsthisarticlewillgivequalifiedreadersanincentivetocomparethetwomethods,
yogaandSchroth,andtheirresults.Itisreallyhightimetodothis,becauseYogaforScoliosis
isspreadingallovertheworld.

Fig.28Fourdifferentformsofthoracicrightscoliosis

Hereweseefourdifferentformsofscoliosis.Allpatientshavethoracicrightcurves.
a)thebodyiswellbalanced
b)thepatienthasanenormousshoulderhump
c)thelefthipstandsoutinathreecurvescoliosis
d)therighthipstandsoutinafourcurvescoliosis
Thetherapisthastoknowwhatistodoforallsinglepatient.
LetmestressagainthatIdonotwishtodemonizeHathaYogaexercisesbecausetheyarein
factconceivedverywellfornormalbuildedbodiesasnotedabove.Buttheyare
inappropriateforscoliosispatients.Soscolioticpatientshavetoleavethem.

Iwouldbegladtogetanswers,maybeagreeingoragainstmyexplanations,viaemail:
info@schrothskoliosebehandlung.de
Links:
TheSchrothexercisesIhavesetoutindetailinmyrichlyillustratedtextbookThreeDimensionaleTreatment
forScoliosisAPhysiotherapeuticMethodforDeformitiesoftheSpinenowinthe8theditioninGerman.by
Urban&FischerElsevier,Mnchen.Notjettranslated.Thetranslated7theditionisstillavailableby
www.schrothmethod.com
www.schrothskoliosebehandlung.de
www.scoliosistreatmentschroth.com
bookHRWeissBestpractice,PflaumVerlagMnchen
Hr.Weiss:www.scoliosisXpert.com
www.scoliosisPT.com
www.scoliosisjournal/content//6/1/17
EliseBrowningMillerinYogaJournalMay2006
MarciaMonroe,book

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