Introduction to Pilates for People with Scoliosis

Focus Exercise Video: The Hundred

This video is a focus exercise video on The Hundred. This video is important because there are many exercises in the Pilates repertoire that are taught with the head, neck, and shoulders lifted into spinal flexion. This video demonstrates a good alterative for modifying these exercises, which include The Hundred, Single Leg Stretch, Double Leg Stretch, and Single Straight Leg Stretch.

The use of breath in The Hundred is valuable and interesting for people with scoliosis. It is traditional taught with the head, neck, and shoulders lifting off the floor in a chest lift, which causes that area of the spine to come into flexion. For people who have a scoliosis curve in the thoracic this flexion may cause the spine to come into more rotation. A wonderful modification is to allow the head to rest on a moon box, block, or blankets while maintaining axial elongation through the neck and spine. This modification will help load the anterior tissues of the torso without causing more rotation in the spine or instability at the transition points between the curves. It is also a wonderful modification for people with hyperkyphosis and/or osteoporosis.

I personally enjoy using The Hundred to improve my use of breath and breath control while maintaining the thoracic (mid-back) areas of collapse expanded. I find that I’m best able to do this with my feet resting on the floor or in a tabletop (dead bug) position. Positioning really depends upon each unique person! A few additional modifications for the body position:
⭐ Keep both feet on the ground while focusing on the breath and pumping the arms
⭐ Lift one knee into tabletop (dead bug) and change to the other halfway through
⭐ Use a nonslip wedge under the torso

There are many approaches to the breath for people with scoliosis. Find one that works for you and helps keep the rib cage equally weighted on the mat (left and right side). You can also shorten the breath cycle to 3 pumps inhale and 3 pumps exhale or 4 pumps inhale and 4 pumps exhale. A few different options for the breath:
⭐ Imagine that an umbrella is opening up inside your rib cage and pay special focus to how the umbrella opens in the back space (towards the mat) as well as out to the side
⭐ Inhale to expand your thoracic concavity and exhale keeping that concavity slightly expanded
⭐ Inhale to open the front rib on your thoracic convexity towards the ceiling, exhale to connect your back ribs on your thoracic concavity towards the floor

Inspiring health and happiness!