“Hunchback”, also known as kyphosis, is a condition where the spine’s curvature within the lumbar and cervical regions are too round than usual. Commonly identified as a hump in the back, this condition can begin from the early stages of simple improper posture. It can also be caused by osteoporosis, fracture, improper spine development, arthritis and degeneration of the disc. Kyphosis and its advanced stage, hyperkyphosis, can dramatically affect overall mobility and one’s breathing comfort which can result in difficulty in living a normal life.
Yoga is popular for its effective and natural restorative benefits. Practicing it can help gently correct and regenerate the spine back to its normal curvature. The following yoga poses are focused on strengthening and lengthening the spine, as well as increasing its mobility. Try these postures to correct your spine’s exaggerated curvature and live life to the fullest.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
This pose improves the strength of the lower spine, calves, and leg muscles. It also opens the shoulders and chest region. Locust pose is very effective in preventing back pain and developing proper posture when practiced regularly.
To do the pose: Lie on your stomach and place your hands on your sides with your palms facing the floor. Extend your feet back together and point your toes. Upon inhalation, lift your chest and look forward. Engage your glutes and core by squeezing your thighs together and lower down as you exhale to release. Repeat this process for 3-5 sets.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is the easiest yet most effective yoga pose to help treat kyphosis. It decompresses the spine and opens the shoulders which aid in proper realignment of spine’s curvature. It also relaxes the back of legs and helps to improve the flexibility of the Achilles tendons.
To do the pose: Begin on a tabletop position, knees are placed hip-width apart and hands are shoulder-width apart on the ground. Make sure that your knees are directly parallel to the hips and hands are parallel to the shoulders. Curl your toes under and straighten your knees to create an inverted V position. After that, push away from the floor through the shoulders, sending them towards the hips. Keep your gaze at your navel and hold the pose for 3-5 breaths.
Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
It is a very relaxing way to pamper the muscles and allowing the spine to rest. It is often-times practiced at the end of every yoga session to give the body the time it needs to cool down. Resting in this pose also aids in countering hunchback by gently lengthening the spine and opening the chest and shoulder areas.
To do the pose: Lie on your back with your legs extended and the feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your sides with your palms facing the sky. Allow your shoulders to drop back and stay in this pose as long as you desire.
Remember to consult your doctor before you start any physical practice. It is also highly recommended to do yoga under the guidance of a certified and experienced yoga teacher. Do not force your body into positions that feel painful and always have fun flowing.