I have always been a huge fan of yoga. Before I even knew what it really was, I loved the way stretching and breathing made me feel. Since we began our journey of healing through exercise, taking all of the principals of yoga into our methods has been essential. But… there are a lot of things that happen in a yoga class that may not be for you, and that can be intimidating.
Anyone that attempts to practice yoga should be acutely aware of what is going on with their body and be sure not to over exert. There are some poses and moves that certain people should not attempt, and sometimes it is hard to know which ones are safe. An article from yogajournal.com has a great discussion on this topic.
To avoid injury, people with osteoporosis should work individually with a yoga instructor with specialized training until cleared to safely participate in an appropriate group class, says yoga and physical therapist Matthew J. Taylor, director of the Dynamic Systems Rehabilitation Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Proper alignment in poses maximizes the bone’s ability to resist any applied force, making good instruction and awareness critical in reducing the risk of fracture, he says. In particular, it’s important to maintain a neutral spine—which for many people means bending the knees in postures such as Downward-Facing Dog.
They also go into some great detail about the specifics of practicing yoga when you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Some poses are great for building bone density, others should be avoided all together.
Since weight-bearing exercise has been shown to strengthen bone, I try to include postures that involve moving my body against gravity, particularly poses that use my arms and upper body—for example, Side Plank, Handstand against a wall, and repetitions of the middle portion of Sun Salutations (Down Dog, Plank, Staff Pose, Upward-Facing Dog). I also focus on balance postures (such as Half Moon Pose) to reduce my risk of falling, since falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults and can lead to life-threatening hip fractures in people with osteoporosis.
I don’t ever like to discourage somebody from participating in yoga practice, but I do always encourage them to exercise caution when doing so. When you get in a room full of people that are more advanced than you, it is easy to get carried away and overextend yourself. Remember that yoga can be an amazing form of exercise, but just like any other form you can get hurt, especially if you have weaker bones.
Read the rest of the article here. Also learn more about our yoga program and how we might have the perfect solution for you if you are interested in using this amazing discipline in your life by clicking here.
Alex Simmons, Owner and Director of Wholebody Systems