Putting the Kibosh on Kyphosis

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My quest for August will be to explore the teachings of Viniyoga. Over the years, I have found this particular style of yoga attractive because it represents the way yoga can serve as therapy. The method stems from the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya, T.K.V. Desikachar and, more recently, Gary Kraftsow. In a nutshell, Viniyoga “tweaks” the traditional poses in order to address specific ailments. Foremost, it works closely with the breath by presenting the poses in a vinyasa (or flow-like) manner.

Below, I have provided a short posture sequence for reducing upper back tension and/or the curvature disorder called kyphosis. Unfortunately, we are seeing this condition occuring more and more frequently with the increase in computer and cell phone usage. Left unattended, this posture bias can adversely affect breathing and other system functions.

Friday Focus: Kyphosis (rounding of the upper back)

Purpose: To expand and stretch the front torso, open the chest and flatten the upper back. The vinyasa (or flow) aspect is part of each pose. Therefore, it is imperative to incorporate the breath into each movement.

Warm-Up: Table (with chest up and away from belly) to Balasana

Target Postures:

  • Virabhadrasana I (lift and lower “cactus” arms)
  • Eka Pada Rajakopatasana (lift and lower body by bending arms)
  • Salabasana Arm Positions: 1.)overhead 2.)”cactus” 3.)overhead 4.)behind back
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (roll up onto shoulders/arms overhead, then lower)

Cool Down:  Savasana

I will be practicing this sequence every other day for the next week. My intention is to not only bring more variation into my home practice, but to create a blueprint for working with my own physical biases.

My Tip: I encourage you to research the poses yourself in order to develop a practice based on your specific abilities. To establish a personal practice, you will need to listen closely to your body. Please consult a teacher if the poses are unfamiliar to you.

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