My favorite yoga asanas are those that strengthen and lengthen the spine. I’ve had scoliosis since I was a kid, and back pains and discomfort have been part of my life. Yoga twisting poses usually does a good job of flexing the spine. One that I do on a daily basis, even when I am at home, is the Belly Twist or the Jathara Parivartanasana. It’s a supine twist that stretches the back muscles, realigns and lengthens the spine, and hydrates the spinal discs.
We usually perform the supine twists as the last part of our yoga sessions. Start by lying down on the yoga mat in a relaxed position. Stretch your arms out on each side with palms facing up in a T position. Then fold your knees towards your chest and inhale. Exhale and bring down your knees to the left side of your body without moving your torso. Try to make your left knee touch the ground. Hold the position for 6 breaths. Then, move knees to the opposite side of your body. Repeat these for 3 to 6 times. A modification would be to move your head to the opposite side of where your legs are resting — look at your right hand if your legs are resting on your left side, and vice-versa. When doing the modification, try to keep your shoulder blades on the ground.
When I do this pose, I can feel my back literally stretching and most of the strain and aches seem to go away. The motions also massage the lower back which takes most of the pressure while we do our daily routines. However, this is not an advisable pose for those who have had chronic injury to the back, hips, or knees. Consult your physician first if you intend to practice it if you had such injuries.