Yoga Instructor Training: Osteoporosis

yoga teacher trainingBy Bhavan Kumar

You’re going to learn a lot more about bone diseases in a chair Yoga instructor course than in any other yoga certification program. Sure restorative Yoga teacher training and Yoga therapy courses will have their fair share of information, but skeletal health is often of prime importance during our senior years than it is when we are below 45 years of age.

When young people take up Yogic exercise, osteoporosis is often the last thing on their minds, but they may be starting a practice that will prevent serious bone disorders later in life. For older practitioners, Yoga training not only meets many of the guidelines for exercises recommended for the disease; it also helps to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of falls.

Approximately 20 percent of American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, a bone condition that occurs when the body reabsorbs old bones or fails to make new ones. The process takes place gradually but accelerates after menopause when estrogen levels start to decline. Men usually don’t have to worry about thin bones before the age of 70.

Adequate supplies of calcium and phosphate build strong bone tissues during youth. Diet, healthy habits and exercise are important at any age.

Four Components of Treatment and Prevention

  • Medications
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle

Four Goals of Standard Care

  • Slowing down or stopping bone loss
  • Managing pain caused by the condition
  • Eliminating fractures by strengthening bones with medication
  • Preventing falls that might cause broken bones

Eight Skeletal Benefits of Yoga Training

  • Maintains strength in bones although it can’t restore bone density
  • Makes joints more flexible and relaxed
  • Improves posture and balance; lowers risk of falling
  • Keeps back muscles agile and strong; lessens back pain and injuries
  • Aligns spine
  • Helps prevent rounding of the shoulders
  • Strengthens large muscle through weight bearing postures
  • Encourages mobility in hip joints

Four Kinds of Beneficial Postures

  • Seated asanas for hips and thighs
  • Backbends to fight the pull of gravity and reduced curvature of the spine
  • Standing poses for weight bearing and flexibility
  • Asanas that promote balance and alignment

Anyone at risk for bone disease should get the approval of a medical professional and the help of well-trained instructor before starting any new exercise program, and Yoga training is no exception.

For people with osteoporosis, it is also especially important to carefully move in and out of poses and to use supports such as blocks or bolsters when needed. Any discomfort is a signal to slow down and make adjustments or to discontinue that particular movement. Just as our Yoga training changes, so do our bodies. The goal is to feel better and stay healthy.

Side Notes for Yoga Instructors

As you learned in yoga teacher training, or on this web site, it is not wise to diagnose the symptoms you see, when a student has an ailment. It is prudent action to strongly suggest a student visit with his or her doctors due to apparent symptoms. Surely, a student’s family has suggested the same course of action, but he or she may not listen to family members. A suggestion from one’s yoga instructor is often taken seriously. Hopefully, your student will listen.

© Copyright 2006 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Yoga Teacher Training: Alcohol

Faye Martins -Yoga Instructor -Tree PoseBy Faye Martins

The common image of someone dedicated enough to become yoga instructor includes a strong, flexible body, a positive attitude and an undeterred focus on wellness. Yoga instructors are still faced with all of the temptations and negativity from the modern world, but they find ways to maintain a healthy, pure lifestyle that aligns with yogic philosophies. This means avoiding fast and processed foods, sedentary behavior, drugs and alcohol. Yoga teachers take care to consciously treat their bodies well and live lifestyles that promote gratitude, charity and health.

Of course there are all kinds of people who teach yoga classes, and each individual chooses their own level of “pureness.” When it comes to alcohol consumption, some yoga practitioners believe alcohol should be completely eliminated while others believe it is 100 percent acceptable to indulge in moderation, or even to overindulge on occasion.

Consider the Intent

Perhaps it is the intent of the alcohol consumption that matters most. Are you drinking to escape from a problem, particular feelings or an unhappy memory? If so, the intent to heal with alcohol does not comply with the idea of releasing negativity through postures, breathing and meditation. If, on the other hand, the intent of the alcohol consumption is more for social interaction and relaxation, perhaps it is okay. Some people feel it doesn’t do any harm to have a drink or two with friends at the end of the day to relax and connect with each other.

Make a Personal Choice

The bottom line is that the choice to consume or not to consume lies within each individual. If you find yourself feeling uneasy or disappointed in yourself upon drinking alcohol, you might consider giving it up. If your body responds negatively to alcohol with fatigue, lethargy or illness, it will also affect your yoga practice negatively. Alternatively, if you feel confident that moderate alcohol consumption adds to your life, then there really is no reason to eliminate it.

Side Notes for Teachers

Remember that to truly live a yogic lifestyle you must be true to yourself. If you put on a show of refusing alcohol at every turn simply so you will “look good” then you are putting on an image that everyone expects of you instead of what you expect of yourself. The yogic philosophy would support you to make this personal choice for yourself, not for others. As you strive to live an authentic life, remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is more you than you.”

© Copyright 2006 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division