Going bone deep

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:

Weight baring yoga poses and osteoporosis

In Baxter’s yoga class the other day we focused on poses that can help the effects of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

I find it fascinating that weight baring exercises, yoga included, can reverse the effects of these conditions.

In a Livestrong article titled, Osteopenia & Yoga, Loren Fishman, physician, author and creator of the website Sciatica.org, has conducted research on the benefits of yoga for osteopenia and osteoporosis. … According to his research, yoga improved both bone mineral density and bone strength, compared to subjects not participating in yoga.

Baxter said research shows that we can stimulate new bone growth along the lines of stress by holding poses (weight baring pose) between 8-72 seconds.

Baxter wrote on his blog Yoga for Healthy Aging, that engaging opposing muscle groups while doing a pose like Downward Facing Dog increases the stimulation of the underlying bone cells that make new bone.

From the Livestrong article, seated postures can benefit the hip; examples include Hero pose, Bound Angle pose and Wide Angle pose. Standing poses put weight on the legs and hips, which help strengthen the bones in these areas; examples include Mountain pose, Triangle pose, Warrior pose and Side Angle pose.

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