084: Yoga for Scoliosis with Christine Jaureguiberry

Christine Jaureguiberry has niched down over the years as a yoga teacher. She now works mostly with individuals who have scoliosis. This is fueled by her own love of yoga and her own scoliosis.

At the age of five, Christine was diagnosed with structural scoliosis. Her parents first put her in ballet. As Christine grew, she stayed active, but in her teen years, her pain started to increase.

Christine spent a lot of time visiting physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors. She wanted them to “fix” her, but instead found that the effects from the treatments wouldn’t last long.

After Christine’s first yoga class (a Sivananda class in 2004), she noticed that she felt much better. Yoga made Christine feel like she was in control of her own well-being.

It was after becoming a mother of two that Christine decided the timing was right to take her yoga teacher training.

Now Christine works mainly with individuals who are experiencing back pain, scoliosis or other back-related conditions. She loves to empower people so they can live pain-free. She teaches alignment and posture, bearing in mind the unique bodies and shapes. Christine makes yoga accessible to everyone.

[5:34] – Meet Christine Jaureguiberry, who was diagnosed with structural scoliosis at the age of five. Christine shares her journey to yoga and how that motivated her to become a yoga teacher.

[11:03] – What might a yoga student with scoliosis look like in a yoga class? Adam’s Forward Bend: a technique to determine if someone has scoliosis

[12:20] – Definition of scoliosis: Scoliosis is a lateral (side-to-side) curve in the spine, usually combined with a rotation of the vertebrae.

[14:18] – Difference between structural scoliosis versus functional scoliosis

“80 – 90% of people have some sort of functional scoliosis” – Christine Jaureguiberry

[16:08] – Christine shares how she is one of the 70% of individuals with an idiopathic cause (meaning the cause of her scoliosis is not known).

[17:16] – Why it is important to diagnose scoliosis in children and teens. In most countries, it is rare to have scoliosis screening, but Christine was lucky to be living in Germany where screening was done.

[18:48] – As yoga teachers, diagnosing scoliosis (or anything) is out of our scope of practice, but Christine shares how if we are teaching children’s yoga – we can tell parents if we notice something that could be checked by their healthcare provider

[20:09] – How diagnosis before puberty can actually correct scoliosis

[21:15] – Yoga poses, considerations, and cues that Christine offers to students who are dealing with scoliosis. She talks about how she gradually works with a framework that offers poses involve:

  1. Releasing
  2. Lengthening
  3. Derotation
  4. Strengthening

[24:30] Study by Dr. Loren Fishman on side plank for scoliosis and how you may get students in your classes referring to this study

[25:44] – Christine shares how she feels about adjustments (hands-on assists) when working with students with scoliosis and how she sustained an injury from one in her yoga teacher training.

[32:38] – How a yoga teacher can guide students with scoliosis, who may not know what is “straight”, “centre” or “balanced” in their body

[33:10] – Poses that Christine has removed to her own yoga practice (shoulder stand)

[34:50] – Things to consider when someone has spinal fusion or Herrington rods (*Herrington rods are not done now, but students over 35 years old may have them)

[36:36] – Why lying on the back may not be comfortable for those who have scoliosis and how to modify for comfort

“Go with the sensations that your student is feeling, rather than what you think looks straight or even.” – Christine Jaureguiberry

[38:45] – How Christine feels about 1:1 versus group classes and how she prefers to work with individuals with scoliosis

[40:03] – What Christine wishes all yoga teachers knew when working with yoga students who have scoliosis

“It’s not about the pose, it’s about how you practice the pose.” – Christine Jaureguiberry

[41:55] – How to work 1:1 with Christine (yoga students and teachers)

Christine’s Facebook Group: Yoga for Scoliosis Community (for both students with scoliosis and yoga teachers working with students who have scoliosis)

Christine’s website – Work 1:1 with Christine – online or in-person (yoga or mentorship)

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Christine’s online course for yoga teachers — Introduction to Teaching Yoga for Scoliosis: How to teach yoga safely for students with scoliosis

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