Getting Started with Scoliosis: Part 2

I’m excited to share the second part of the series with you and hope it inspires you to work with clients who are moving through life with scoliosis. Maybe you’ll even be interested in  specializing! Check out Part 1, if you missed it. Lets get started!

How to Prop

I teach propping of various kinds depending on the exercise and if I am using heated props, certain shapes of props, and what my goal is for the muscles.

  • Props like yoga blankets, yoga blocks, over balls, and spike balls are all great to have in the studio. You can get creative and cut up an old mat into specific shapes, use cabinet liners, or use small towels.
  • Prop your client’s alignment (pelvis and ribs) until their alignment appears closer to neutral. And they are comfortable.
  • Keep things simple while you create alignment solutions with propping. You will know by observing your client in different positions and looking for which side of the ribs or pelvis might need more “floor”. Ask yourself “which areas of the body could be lying on the floor but are shifting away from it?” For example, If your clients lumbar spine and ribs seem lifted off the ground in supine add small prop to  encourage the client to rest/reach their ribs in that area. This is essential when working on flexion exercises. What you prop will either even out the body or make the unevenness worse.

Avoid Typical Pitfalls

There things to look out for when it comes to pain management with scoliosis and creating mobility.

  • Tightness patterns contribute to spasms caused by over tightening during exercises or stretches. Be calculated in creating muscular balance. When stretching, encourage clients to seek out medium tension.
  • Side bending too far to the concavity side is a movement that shouldn’t be done in repetitions. It should be avoided altogether until the client learns to lift their spine and engage deep abdominals to lengthen as they bend.
  • Side bending movements to “stretch out” the convexity can cause over stretching that results in a “recoiling,” and potentially severe spams for your client. So, don’t over do the convexity stretching. Those movements are not actually the game changer for the client looking to build obliques & abdominals. Instead, use exercises that are recruiting side body muscles without side bending at first. This is a more desirable approach for disc and vertebral health for a spine with scoliosis.
  • It’s common for me to meet instructors who suggest scoliosis clients lie on foam rollers for balance work. Instead of asking clients to lay on a foam roller to practice balance work try doing all the work you have planned on the reformer carriage instead. Clients moving with scoliosis need evenly supported shoulder girdle and pelvis to be able to feel their spine at the start of their training. A foam roller is an example of a “forced center” that puts negative pressure on ribs, twisting vertebrae, and vulnerable spinous and traverse processes.

For more and to get into touch, I’d love to hear from you at


Laura Hausler

About Laura Hausler

Laura Hausler is certified by the PMA, Balanced Body, and SmartSpine Wellness System. Laura began her career in Pilates in Chattanooga, TN back in 2013. She has recently moved to the Seattle area where she teaches at 5 Elements Pilates on Mercer Island. She has fresh outlook on moving with scoliosis and how to use Pilates as to benefit people like herself. After working with Sydney Craig of Pilates Tonic and Jennifer Gianni during her training she went on to work mostly with Clients with former scoliosis needs in Chattanooga. In 2015, Injury cause a 2 year pause in Laura’s career. Her injury lead her deeper into how to heal and manage pain and scoliosis. The tools in her training combined with a great Pilates community were exactly what she needed to get herself back on track. Now feeling restored she is excited to share what she has gained through her teaching to those looking to Pilates specifically for scoliosis management. Find her at OR on instagram @pilatesandscoliosis to discuss training with her or hosting her for a workshop your studio.