Every week in my yoga classes I have a theme.
Last week and today we went bone deep.
My theme idea came from an article a student shared with me. It was originally in the New York Times and was reprinted in The Oregonian.
Click here for a link to the article.
Weight-bearing exercises, which includes many yoga poses, can actually reverse some of the negative effects of osteopenia (loss of bone density) and osteoporosis (bone loss).
The article that spurred last week’s sequence and today’s post is about a doctor at Columbia who did a study with 11 practitioners who practiced yoga and had results of increased bone density in their spine and hips.
The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has also done studies on the effects of yoga and osteoporosis and found that weight-bearing yoga training had a positive effect on bone by slowing down bone resorption (break down of bone).
The 12 poses the doctor gave his yogis to practice are:
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)*
- Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle)*
- Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle)
- Vrksasana (Tree Pose)*
- Salabhasana (Locust Pose)*
- Marichiasana (Marichi’s Pose–Seat Straight Legged Twist)*
- Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)*
- Supta Padangusthasana II (Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose II)
- Jathara Parivartanasana (Reclined Bent-Knee Twist)*
- Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)*
- Savasana (Corpse Pose–Final Relaxation Pose)*
The doctor had each practitioner hold each pose for 30 seconds. The daily regimen, once learned, took 12 minutes to complete. The poses with an asterisk (*) were poses I included in my sequence plus several more.
And I do believe that weight-bearing yoga poses can reverse some of the negative effects of osteoporosis and osteopenia. One of my yoga teachers, who is also a doctor, regularly told class that holding a weight-bearing yoga pose, such as Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) (pictured above), for 30 seconds can help reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis/osteopenia.
My mom has been practicing yoga for about 20 years. When she was diagnosed with osteoporosis she started working with little dumbbells. She was able to reverse some of the negative effects of osteoporosis.
We know that yoga has lots of positive side effects, such as better posture, stronger muscles, better body alignment, better balance, reduced stress, better body awareness, better sleep, etc. If reversing bone loss is another benefit, I am on board.