By Faye Martins
During yoga teacher training intensives, we learn how to use weight bearing asanas and gravity to increase one’s bone density. Like aging, osteoporosis is a condition we don’t think much about when we are young. By the time we reach menopause, though, many of us which we had. Young people who eat good diets and have healthy lifestyles continue to build strong bones until they are in their twenties. After that, bone loss begins unless we do something to stop it.
Diet and clean living remain important through the life span, and some people take medications to make bones stronger. Exercises, especially weight-bearing activities, aid in the fight against brittle bones and pain caused by osteoporosis. Among these, Yoga training offers numerous benefits.
Because Yoga instructors encounter students who want to prevent bone loss as well as those who already have varying degrees of related disabilities, it is the student’s responsibility to get medical approval and find a Yoga teacher who understands the illness.
The following asanas can be adapted to fit the needs of everybody from young practitioners wanting to keep healthy bones to older ones with brittle bones and limited flexibility. The use of chairs, blankets, walls, straps and bolsters ensure student safety and make poses much more comfortable, regardless of an individual’s physical ability.
Ten Asanas that Prevent Osteoporosis
• Tree Posture
• Triangle Pose
• Warrior II Posture
• Side-Angle Pose
• Camel Posture
• Cobra Pose
• Hero Posture
• Mountain Pose
• Bridge Posture
• Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
At the Yoga Therapy conference in Los Angeles in 2009, Dr. Loren Fishman offered convincing evidence that asanas actually increase bone density by placing stress on opposing muscles groups. The catch is that the stretch needs to be held for 72 seconds to stimulate the cells to build new bone.
Dr. Fishman says asanas also help by circulating synovial fluid in connective joints and mobilizing stagnant tissues, and there are other benefits, as well. Deep breathing and meditation detoxify the body and supply it with oxygen, making it easier to deal with aches and pains. Even the process of visualizing the regeneration of tissues during Yogic meditation may also be helpful.
Studies suggest that Yoga training can prevent osteoporosis. It can also slow its progression and make it easier to deal with its symptoms. If we hold that asana long enough, it may regenerate new tissue. In addition to fighting bone disease, Yoga makes us healthier, happier, and calmer. That alone is invaluable in fighting any illness.
Side Notes for Yoga Teachers
Study after study reveals that asana practice increases bone density. For this reason, continuing education and specialist yoga certification are recommended. The age of our students will increase as we age. Hence, the need to know everything we can about Yogic techniques that improve bone density is apparent.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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