The skeletal system is the framework of our body. It holds the tissues and muscles together and protects the body’s vital organs…
This is why we need to keep it in tip-top shape. One way to do so is by doing some yoga poses for bone health.
Yoga Poses for Bone Health: What’s the Need?
Medicine has enabled us to live longer than our ancestors. In his book, “Aging Is a Treatable Disease,” Walter Parks says:
In 1786, life expectancy was 24 years. Better diets and some medical innovations allowed it to double to 48 years in the next 100 years. Modern medicine has now increased life expectancy to 76 years. Future medicine promises to increase it to over 100 during your lifetime.
This is exactly the reason why we need to do yoga poses for bone health. They’re free, natural and effective. Besides, you wouldn’t want to spend the next 30 or 40 years of your life stooping and suffering from the pain of bone-related diseases like osteoporosis, would you?
What happens to the bones as we age?
Do you ever wonder why some people seem to grow shorter with age? Or why some have bent backs, gnarled fingers or osteoporosis?
From birth to late thirties, our skeletal system, along with the rest of our bodily systems, undergo active growth. The bone marrow produces healthy blood cells, allowing oxygen to reach every part of the body, thus ensuring that the body functions as it should. This is the reason why young people look and feel strong and healthy.
At about 30 years of age, bone loss occurs gradually. At some point, the cells in our body is said to stop dividing, so no new cells are produced. This is called the Hayflick Limit. During the ageing process, bones weaken and become brittle, making them susceptible to a variety of bone-related diseases like osteoporosis. What’s alarming is that bone-related diseases are not only unsightly. They can be debilitating and fatal too.
No, osteoporosis won’t happen to me.
This is what some people say. But in reality, it can happen to anyone, especially to people aged 50 and above. As previously mentioned, bones (including the vertebrae) become weak and brittle as we grow older. When they break due to osteoporosis, they can collapse on top of each other, causing pain, bent posture, reduction of height and a misaligned spinal column.
Osteoporosis is not uncommon. In fact, it is estimated to affect 200 million women globally. Below are more facts you need to know about it.
Yoga Poses for Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Pilot Study
Yogis and those in the know have long been aware of the benefits of yoga for seniors, specifically to their skeletal system. However, there has never been any scientific study about this – until now.
Dr. Loren Fishman, Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City, and author, ‘Healing Yoga’ has been gathering data on how yoga can benefit bone health and if it can be used as a treatment for osteoporosis.
So in 2005, Dr. Fishman began a small pilot study of yoga moves that turned up some encouraging results. Eleven practitioners had increased bone density in their spine and hips, he reported in 2009, compared with seven controls who did not practice yoga.
Weight-bearing activity is often recommended to patients with bone loss, and Dr. Fishman argues that certain yoga positions fit the bill.
“Yoga puts more pressure on bone than gravity does,” he said in an interview. “By opposing one group of muscles against another, it stimulates osteocytes, the bone-making cells.”
The 12 poses, by their English names, were tree, triangle, warrior II, side-angle, twisted triangle, locust, bridge, supine hand-to-foot I, supine hand-to-foot II, straight-legged twist, bent-knee twist and corpse pose. Each pose was held for 30 seconds. The daily regimen, once learned, took 12 minutes to complete.
See the complete study here.
Recommended Yoga Poses for Bone Health
Here are the yoga poses for bone health that Dr. Fishman used in his study: