After the Ashtanga Led class at Beyoga this morning, I stayed on for the Karma Yoga class after I met the guest teacher, Viviane De Doncker who told my sister and me that she specialises in yoga for scoliosis. My sister had met her at the ladies shower room after her Pilates class and had told Viviane about having back problems and Viviane had asked my sister to bend over for her to check her spine. Viviane told my sister that she has scoliosis which causes an abnormal curve of the spine.
In the class, Viviane took us through poses like the cow and cat stretch, pelvis tilt, cow face pose, seated side stretches and downward facing dog which she told us would help us to balance our spine if they are done correctly and regularly.
Although the cat and cow stretch and pelvis tilt are simple poses, it was an awareness practice and movement sequence where we stretch muscles that have tightened and strengthen muscles that have become weak from the imbalance of our spine.
While doing the seated side stretches, I noticed that one of my hips tend to lift up as I overstretched myself. Viviane came over to press my hip down and told me to keep my ribs slightly pulled down so as to lengthen the spine.
For the downward facing dog pose, Viviane got us to partner up and we were told to loop a strap around the hips of our partner while she is in downward facing dog. As we pull the strap up and away, this helps our partner moves her hips up and away from her shoulders while releasing the heads of her thigh bones deeper into her pelvis as well as lengthening her torso. We were also taught to wrap our fingers under our partner hips to lift their hips up and shift their weight back to the center giving them a deeper stretch.
There were eight of us in the class and Viviane told us that she could see that all of us were having scoliosis as we tend to lean to one side when we were doing the poses. Scoliosis may cause the head to appear off center or one hip or shoulder to be higher than the opposite side.
Yoga for scoliosis requires us to have inner awareness; to accept the imperfection of our body and to feel where our body needs realignment and balance to find back our center.
I am very glad that I did not miss this special class with Viviane and with the other practitioners asking Viviane if she will be doing any more classes, I hope that Beyoga will have Viviane come to teach more classes at the studio.
Viviane De Doncker took her first yoga class over 25 years ago and has been teaching since 1997. Viviane believes each student is a unique individual and that this uniqueness is a cause for celebration, rather than a source of frustration. Her classes integrate the principles of alignment and technical precision to ensure a safe practice, while concentration and enthusiasm are cultivated through the use of breath and well-and-lesser-known bandhas.
When Viviane first started teaching Yoga in Singapore, she was strongly drawn towards Vinyasa, and she was the first teacher to offer it there. This style of Yoga was at that time not really considered ‘serious’ Yoga, but to everyone’s surprise, students liked her Vinyasa classes. Today, many teachers in Singapore offer Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga classes, and it has become one of the most popular styles of Yoga in Singapore.
During her years of teaching, Viviane became very interested in the physical transformation which can be achieved through Yoga and its effects on the spine. She has worked intensively with students suffering from back problems and over the last couple of years, she has been focusing on students suffering from Scoliosis and she is currently conducting specialised courses and classes for them and have obtained some very encouraging results, which have been established medically.
Viviane has also conducted workshops for students and Yoga instructors (including Vinyasa, Back Care and Scoliosis) in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.