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.
Here are some 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.
Private yoga sessions can be a great way to learn how to modify postures and make sure you’re doing them safely and effectively if you have osteoporosis. I have lots of good advice and suggestions; please contact me if you would like to work with me!