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Yoga and Scoliosis: A Journey to Health and…

Yoga and Scoliosis: A Journey to Health and Healing

by Marcia Monroe

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
*Yoga and Scoliosis: A Journey to Health and Healing* by Marcia Monroe is a comprehensive guide to strengthening and balancing the scoliosis back with modified yoga asanas. The author states in the preface that she is not offering a cure for scoliosis, but is providing information based on "lifelong studies and experience on how yoga has helped" her. Though she reiterates that these exercises are to be be done with a teacher, I think that the book provides enough information about movement, balance, and modifying the poses to be useful even if a yoga teacher is not an option. At least It's got me to hoping that I might be able to keep my back from getting any worse as I get older, and perhaps even improve it.

Part I: Introduction - "Introduction to Scoliosis" by Dr Loren Fishman, MD; Yoga; Concepts of Sequencing
Part II: Yoga for Scoliosis - includes floor, seated, and standing asanas; a modified selection of forward, lateral, abdominal and back extensions; inversions; and restorative savasana (relaxation postures and breathing practice)
Part II: On Daily Life - a brief section on ways to work with scoliosis in daily life
The appendix provides several additional exercises ( )
  okeres | Oct 2, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This is an important book, because it archives poses in the Iyengar tradition for people who have scoliosis and who, because of their condition, might not otherwise be able to reap the benefits of a yoga practice. Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar’s method provides an avenue for people with scoliosis to experience yoga postures that might otherwise be impossible for them to do. Over time, and with guidance, practicing yoga has distinct advantages over other treatments for scoliosis. With the help of specific props, designed for use with this particular conditions, the poses urge spinal convexities and concavities to strengthen and move toward midline.

Scoliosis is an asymmetrical spinal condition that becomes increasingly painful, and may restrict breathing, as a person ages.

The problem with this book is: who is it written for? The instruction waffles between telling the reader he/she can follow the instructors and self administer the poses; to telling the reader they must do these poses under the watchful eyes of a senior teacher; to speaking to the reader as if he/she is a senior yoga teacher.

In addition, the Marcia Monroe is the only subject int the book. All the photos and instruction refer to her particular scoliosis. I imagine a senior teacher could interpret and adapt the poses and props to other people’s scoliosis.

For the layperson or beginning yoga student, who has scoliosis, the information in this book will be inaccessible. Monroe does not define variations of spinal conditions other than her own. Her props magically appear in the photos and are tucked under her back or hip and around her torso but she does not tell the reader about how to adapt the props for conditions different than her own. She does not mention where to purchase the props, or how to make them.

This book will best serve advanced yoga teachers who might want to help their students with scoliosis. ( )
  authorknows | Apr 5, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
For those who have scoliosis, this book will probably change the way they move. The author has scoliosis and opted to not have surgery as a teenager, and decided to embrace scoliosis instead finding ways to adapt to it.

Marcia Monroe is an expert in yoga and she currently teaches it. Her book has numerous photos throughout describing how to do the moves. Each move has props, benefits, placement, and any notes detailing the moves, and if there is a variation, Monroe lists the benefits and what to do to accomplish the goals.

She does a really good describing each of the moves, and gives a thorough introduction to scoliosis and why yoga is so helpful for the condition. ( )
  RShelton | Feb 29, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Yoga and Scoliosis provides a thorough collection of yoga poses modified for scoliosis patients. As an adult who was treated with a back brace in adolescence, I was interested to see how I might approach yoga for the first time. As others have noted, the author recommends studying with a teacher and the pictures all show placement of props that would be difficult to achieve on one's own. She also notes that this book is meant to be a supplement to a reference on poses, modified for scoliosis, but not a substitute for such a reference. It may be this book would be more helpful to a yoga teacher who wants to teach clients with scoliosis than to the clients themselves. ( )
1 vote ChickLitFan | Feb 20, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Yoga and Scoliosis: A Journey to Healthy and Healing is largely a detailed instructional book. It’s apparent that the author, Marcia Monroe, is an experienced yoga practitioner whose credibility stems from having scoliosis, studying with Iyengar, and having seen--and personally experienced--positive results from the many poses that are described in great detail.

Throughout, there is explanation of yoga philosophy as it relates to helping relieve the spinal imbalances that can result from scoliosis, and how awareness of one’s exact personal situation needs to be considered, via self-awareness and via an experienced yoga instructor. The book gives the reader with scoliosis a great understanding of what would be expected and what the poses would look like if he or she were to hire a yoga instructor (which the author highly recommends) who can assess and assist. Monroe speaks to the reader who has scoliosis, but it’s quite clear that the instructions are not for the yoga beginner. In other words, you can’t just read the book and then do the poses; you need an experienced yoga instructor who can help you do it right. Many of the poses require the use of a variety of props that need to be applied during the poses. A beginner would likely not have enough self-awareness to know where or when to put the props. It seems that the complicated pose instructions are more for an instructor than for the person with scoliosis.

What this book provides is a great understanding of why and how a variety of poses can help balance one’s entire body if they are performed on a regular basis. After reading this book, even an experienced yogi should find an experienced yoga instructor who specializes in scoliosis who can assess, assist, and develop a personalized practice that could, eventually, be performed on a regular basis without an instructor.

To say more about self-awareness and yoga, Monroe emphasizes imbalance, which is something we all have; each one of us has one side that is stronger than the other. Monroe encourages starting out with the weaker side when we begin to walk. She points out need to become more aware of our tendencies. Do you tend to tilt your head to one side? Do you always carry things on one side and maybe lift your shoulder a little to bear the weight? Switch sides. Keep your shoulders level. Strengthen your weaker side. She points out that even our eyes have a dominant side. She also discusses the need for balance in lives and the need to have the things around us organized. It’s all very interesting. And these things we can all incorporate into our daily lives. ( )
1 vote luckystars | Feb 11, 2012 |
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"Yoga and Scoliosis: A Journey to Health and Healing is intended to be a source of encouragement, knowledge, and healing for those who have scoliosis and need to treat it, but want to avoid braces and/or surgery. The book looks at scoliosis not as a pathological syndrome but as a spiritual, and metaphysical pattern that embraces the multiple dimensions of the spine (vertical, horizontal, and sagittal). It briefly covers the history and treatment modalities of scoliosis and discusses the development of the spine in the embryo. Yoga and Scoliosis also explores the complexities of the concept of alignment in the body, with the main part of the book showing how to address scoliosis with Iyengar yoga. Four chapters give instruction in yoga asanas for scoliosis, and another chapter discusses yoga practice in daily living. Finally there is an advanced yoga chapter that was developed by B. K. S. Inyengar"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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