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Scoliosis Sequence given to Marcia Monroe by Guruji

Principles
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You need to know about your scoliosis to work with this sequence. Once you know how to work with both sides of your spine with simple poses you can apply the principles to more complex poses. Each scoliosis is different and each person requires special adjustments and modifications. Work with a qualified teacher

The following is not a traditional class sequence and not for beginners. It describes how Guruji taught me certain group of asanas during a personal practice. The teachings were directed to my specific scoliosis (the primary and major curve is on the right thoracic spine with underlying sub curves on the left lumbar and left upper thoracic, with healthy discs and vertebrae conditions). The major convexities being on the top posterior right rib cage(rib hump) and lower anterior left rib, and the major concavities being on the left upper thoracic and (a discreet) on the right lumbar region. Guruji's teachings that particular day embodied the principles of how to work with scoliosis addressing the various dimensions of the asymmetric spine. *The following asanas are not recommended for any spinal or musculoskeletal pathologies, such as back pain, spinal fusion, osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and disk disorders such as degeneration and herniation. Even with a functional scoliosis a medical approval and follow up are recommended. I will be offering some suggestions for modifications and hints based on my experience. The most important one is to not force or push in any position. Urdhva Hastasana in Tadasana
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Press more with the inner heel of the right foot and lift the inner right arm. From the lifting of the right inner arm bring the convexed ribcage in and lift the chest. Press the outer left heel to lift the collapse of the arch and lift the left outer arm to spread the concave ribs. From the mind revolve the groin from inside out, more on the right leg (or the convex side).

Janu Sirsasana (Right Side) Props: two mats and a wall Note: One or more belts around the shoulder blades will help to align and stabilize the blades throughout this sequence. A qualified teacher will be able to help with the placement of the belts. The belts should not be too tight as this would restrict breathing and compress the chest.

Sitting on the floor the right knee touches a wall and the left leg is straight. Two rolled mats are placed on the upper thigh of the left leg in the space between the groin and waist to support the left ventral convex rib. The right knee creates a fulcrum from which both sides of the trunk extend, the left hand is on the outside of the left outer hip and the right hand grasps the left outer thigh. Lift and extend both sides of the trunk and lean slightly the right ribcage toward the left side and revolve toward the left leg. Extend the trunk and place the right forearm down at a perpendicular angle to the left knee, moving the shoulder blades in. Turn the head and move the right ear toward the right upper arm as in a parivrtta action. Gradually extend the right arm as the right ear moves toward the left knee. Press the left hand and bring the left front ribs back and spread the left concave ribs as the right side convex ribs move in and revolve toward the left side. Breathe on the concave areas or areas that feel restricted. Before doing janu sirsasana on the left side, do: Paschimottanasana Props: one plank, three rolled mats Place two rolled mats on top of the left leg and one not fully rolled on top of the right leg. The one on the right side should only be thick enough to fill in the space created by the right lumbar concavity. The hands hold a plank positioned on the heels and the elbows are lifted, the right elbow lifts higher to align the shoulder protraction. Extend the sides of the ribs and diaphragm forward, and the upper right chest toward the leg. The chin is up to extend and open the anterior upper thoracic spine and to reduce the dome shape caused from the deviation. Janu Sirsasana Left Side Props: one mat, wall Left knee touches the wall with the right leg straight. One very thin rolled mat on the upper right thigh to support the collapse from the right lumbar concavity. The right arm is bent with the right hand flat on the floor on the outside of the outer right hip, the left hand grasps the outside of the right thigh. Lift and extend both sides of the trunk and revolve toward the right leg. Broaden the left ribs leaning slightly toward the left side, extend the trunk forward and place the left forearm down at a perpendicular angle to the right knee as in a parivrtta action, turn the head and release the left ear to the left upper arm. Gradually extend the left arm and release the left ear toward the right knee. Extend and revolve both sides of the trunk. For this side of the pose, less rotation is needed. Instead move the right convex ribs in toward the left side and extend the anterior thoracic spine. Extend both arms a bit diagonally toward the right to give more stability to the right ribs and to open the front of the chest. Suggestion for modifications: The following modifications can be done depending on the condition of the individual and with a medical approval.

For beginners, increase the height by using a chair or blocks next to the extended leg for the placement of the arms, and focus on good extension/elongation. Stay only in a concave phase with a very mild rotation, and if necessary use additional height for the buttocks and arms. Lateral Extension and Twists Hints for twists: Each side of the scoliosis needs a modification. Focus on the grounding of the pelvis as one side might receive more weight, and focus on a good extension on both sides of the trunk and spine. The lift of both sides of the trunk precedes the rotation. Twist from the organs and abdominal muscles to prevent straining the spine. When twisting to either sides, lift and lean the convex ribs toward the concave side in a side shift motion. Lift from the floating ribs, and move the ribs away from the pelvis. Do not push or force the twist. Use the breath to guide the motion. Avoid any excessive twisting if it aggravates the concavities or convexities. A qualified teacher will be able to see it and help the student. Instead give both sides of the trunk a good elongation, increase stabilization the spine, and work with the correction from the ribs. Unlock the eyes to turn the spine on its axis. Note: The following postures are not for beginners, or anyone with spinal pathologies, including spinal fusion. Work with a qualified teacher. Marichyasana III (Classic pose) Props: One blanket, three mats There were assistants to guide the motion through hands-on adjustments. Right side: Sit on a folded blanket. Extend the left leg and place the right heel close to perineum. Root and distribute the weight evenly on both sitting bones. Place two rolled mats on the root [top] of the right thigh to help the abdominal rotation to the right. Lift both sides, lean from the right ribcage toward the left, and rotate the abdomen from the left to the right as the upper left arm moves over to the outer right thigh and as the hands clasp behind the back. Draw the shoulder blades in but mainly on the convex side. From the resistance of the thick roll, turn the abdomen and lift both sides. Look up and turn the head as the upper thoracic spine opens. Elongate and draw the convex ribs in as the concave ones broaden. Left side: For the concave side it is challenging because it is the short and retracted side. And for that I had extra hands-on. I had extra hands on my ribs and abdomen to move from the right to the left, and with the additional extra help I was able to reach the final stage of the asana. Root and distribute the weight evenly on both sitting bones. Lift both sides, side shift the right ribcage toward the left side and move the left posterior convex ribs back and circularise the right concave ribs around toward the left. Rotate the abdomen from the right to the left as the upper right arm moves over to the outer left tight and as the hands clasp behind the back. Draw the shoulder blades in. Look up and root both sitting bones as the head turns and as the convex ribs move in. Breathe on the back concave ribs areas.

Suggestion for modifications: 1. Increase the height of the buttocks (simhasana box, bolsters etc), bend the elbow over the knee, and use a block for the back hand. Use a belt when attempting to clasp the hands. 2. When going to the concave side (left), extend the right arm out (inside of bending the elbow) on the outside of the left thigh to open anterior upper thoracic spine (Light on Yoga 301,302). 3. Use a wall. Sit next to a wall, and place both hands on the wall with the left hand and arm higher (for right and left side of the pose) to open and spread the concave ribs. Use a thinner roll or fold a blanket in the space between the thigh and trunk. Having access to ropes is even better to pull the ropes with both hands and to feel the space in both sides. Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 Props: One blanket and three mats
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Right side: Sitting on the left foot with a blanket between the foot and sitting bones, as with Marichyasana III the rolled mat is inserted between the trunk and the right thigh. Root and distribute the weight evenly between the sitting bones (use small pads if necessary), compact the hips, lift both sides of the trunk and lean from the right ribs toward the left. Elongate and rotate the abdomen from the left to the right as the upper left arm moves over to the outer right thigh and as the hands clasp behind the back. Look up, incline the head slightly back and open the anterior upper thoracic spine as the convex ribs move in. Left side: As in Marichyasana III, I had extra hands-on. I had extra hands on my ribs and abdomen to move from the right to the left, and with the additional extra help I was able to reach the final stage of the asana. Lift the ribs up and away from the pelvis, lift both sides of the spine, and slightly shift from the right ribcage to the left side, move the right shoulder blade in and the convex ribs in toward the spine. Lift, broaden and breathe on the concave side.

Suggestion for modifications:


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Sit on a height (simhasana box, bolster, blankets), instead of the foot, and with both hands to the wall work with the correction for the ribs. Ropes are also very useful to hold and create length and correct the rib cage. Use belt when attempting to clasp the hands. In both postures Guruji emphasized the need to close the space between upper arm and outer knee. As well as using the eyes to further twist.

Kurmasana (First stage) Props: One mat, two blocks


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Place a block under the concave side (left) to support the anterior convex rib and the posterior concave ribs, and a small, rolled mat under the concave area on the right side. Extend the arms to the side, with the upper arms under the knees and hands spread out laterally. The skin of the chest spreads to the sides in a horizontal

extension as the convex side moves in and releases farther down toward the floor. Chin is supported on a thin foam block to further release and open the anterior thoracic spine and extend the trunk vertically and horizontally. As both hands press down and the arms extend, the chest spreads and the convex ribs move in and toward the floor, the front left side ribs move back and the concave ribs spread. Both sides extend and spread. Suggestion for modification: Sitting on a chair with bent knees apart place the arms under the knees and the hands on blocks to bring both the vertical and horizontal extension of the thoracic spine. You can support the chest on a low halasan box to support the trunck. Roll the buttock flesh down, press the heels down strongly, adjust from the ribs to reduce the convexity and elongate both sides of the spine. Maintain the elongating of the neck and chin and look up to open the chest. Use a folded blanket on the seat of the chair to ground the sitting bones if needed. Savasana Prop needed: One mat There was no direction, just a wonderful feeling of space and serenity. I am forever grateful for all of Guruji's teachings and compassion.