Improve your Bone Density with Yoga
Today we will explore another main benefit of yoga, specifically, increased bone density. Yoga is fantastic for your overall bone health. As we have explored in our benefit of yoga series, we hold poses for long periods of time and shift from pose to counter pose or from one side of your body to the other. Your asanas (or yoga postures) create extra load (or weight) that creates more tension from tendons pulling on bone. The more tension, the more new bone your body will make. Yoga also as you know from our class on flexibility, has a lot of stretching, which research on bone density now shows also stimulates new bone growth.
For years research has show that new bone growth is stimulated when you engage in activity that puts stress on your bones. These have classically been referred to has weight-bearing exercises or weight resistance exercises.
Dr. Loren Fishman, author of Yoga for Osteoporosis describes it like this, “ Yoga pits one muscle group against another to generate forces far greater than gravity. Yoga is isometric exercise. It is also weight bearing. Both of these types of activity have been proven to improve bone strength.”
Ultimately it is the stress on our bones that stimulates the increase in our bone density. So how does this relate to the rest of the layers of our koshas? I understand how this relates to my physical body, but what about my energetic, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. This week I was thinking about the metaphor of the forming of a beautiful clear diamond. A diamond starts as black coal, but when under tremendous pressure, black coal becomes the most brilliant diamond. “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”. Peter Marshall
“No pressure, no diamonds”
I’m sure we can all think about events in our life that have put us under enormous pressure, where in fact we have grown tremendously mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually. Although we may feel like dark coal during it, we may come out like brilliant diamonds on the other end.
Props Needed: block
Asanas/Yoga Postures: Bridge Pose/ Sethubandasana, Cat/Cow/Marjaryasana, Four Limb Staff Pose/Chaturaṅga Daṇḍāsana, Side Plank/Vasiṣṭhāsana, Falling Tree/Vṛkṣāsana
Warrior I/Vīrabhadrāsana I, Goddess Victory Squats/Utkata Konasana, Wide legged Standing Forward Fold/Prasarita Padottanasana, Sphinx Pose, Dying Warrior, Janu Sirsasana/head beyond knee pose