Osteoporosis–a condition in which bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes as we age, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D–affects 1 in 10 women in their 60s, 1 in 5 in their 70s, 2 in 5 in their 80s, 2 in 3 in their 90s. Fractures are common in 1 in 30 women over 50; 1 in 5 for men over 50!
So how can we prevent osteoporosis? Through good posture; nutrition (eat calcium-rich foods like greens, almonds, rhubarb, soybeans, dairy, sardine bones); increasing your balance and neuromuscular skills (yoga, anyone?); and, hopefully none of us do this but if you do, stop smoking.
Helpful tips for what to practice, how to practice and how much to practice yoga for osteoporosis:
- Hold poses 12-72 seconds to increase bone growth.
- No sun salutations or other movements where you’re flexing your spine a lot (forward bends) if you have osteoporosis.
- No curving/hunching in twists or forcing with arms. Keep your spine straight.
- Build up weight-bearing in hands and wrists gradually. Don’t force or push.
- You need to practice 30 minutes/day, 5-7 days/week to see results.
- Focus on strength/balance over stretching/relaxing. (As much as we love Yin, we really need to be doing Hatha!)
- Focus on backbending postures like Supported Fish, Cobra, Locust, Bridge, etc.
- Good Standing poses to build strength in hips, knees and spine: chair, extended side angle, triangle, revolved triangle, crescent, and tree.
If you found this blog post helpful, I recommend:
My upcoming 7 Weeks of Wellness Live+Virtual course that begins November 6 includes a week’s focus on Yoga for Bone + Joint Health, as well as Yoga for Better Digestion, Relaxation, Seasonal Affective Disorder and more.
My 15-Minute Yoga video course, which includes seven 15-minute videos for your Hamstrings, Core, Glutes, Neck & Shoulders, Back & Spine, Balance, and Posture. (Get 1/2 off now for a limited time!)
My Yoga for Bone + Joint Health 2-part audio series, where I guide you through one practice for arthritis prevention and one practice for osteoporosis prevention.
Private yoga sessions can also be a great way to get some one-on-one attention to learn how to modify postures and make sure you’re doing them safely and effectively if you have osteoporosis.