Top 10 Reasons Why Yoga Builds Better Bone Strength
forms of weight-bearing high-impact exercise, such as
jogging and various other
sports, are known to stimulate the cells that build
bone. Unfortunately, with
the passage of time, such forms of movement often contribute to joint
destruction that can result in
hip and knee replacements.
Recent studies report that yoga improves the actual congruence of joints,
undoing (reversing) the wear and tear that is responsible for
Non impact, non weight-bearing exercise, such as
swimming, won't wear out your
joints, but it won't strengthen your
bones, either. The good news is that a
balanced yoga practice can give you all the positive benefits of
exercise without negative wear and tear on the joints!
Yoga is the ideal exercise prescription for prevention of
those already at risk, and for bone regeneration. The 206 bones in the human
body are living, breathing, changing tissue that requires a steady supply of
blood and nutrients and a flow of energy or prana.
Yoga postures, besides
providing a superior form of weight-bearing exercise that stimulates bones to
retain calcium, also help stimulate and distribute the flow of synovial fluid,
which lubricates the joints between the bones. Jogging,
dancing, weight lifting,
racquet sports and other forms of exercise, while strengthening bones, may cause
further imbalance in the muscular system. Conversely, yoga postures balance the
muscular system while bones are strengthened. When the muscular system is
balanced, the skeletal system is brought back into alignment, reducing the risk
of wear-and-tear conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Ten Reasons Why Yoga Builds Better Bone Strength at Any Age
In yoga, weight is borne through the entire body. In weight-bearing
standing poses, inverted poses and partially-inverted poses like
Downward Facing-Dog Pose, active backbends, and various arm balances, weight
is systematically applied to the bones in the
hands, wrists, arms, upper body,
neck and head, and feet and
Because yoga postures are learned gradually, the weight applied to
the bones increases safely and incrementally, as the student becomes stronger
and can hold postures for longer periods.
While building strength, yoga poses simultaneously promote mobility
in the hips and shoulders, remove stiffness in the joints, and bring
to the whole body.
Standing poses and other poses that require one to strongly engage the
bones and muscles of the legs affect the
pelvis and spine. This increases
circulation and benefits the health of the whole body..
Yoga prevents and can even reverse the most visible and obvious symptom
of osteoporosis and aging: the rounding of the spine. Yoga poses encourage
concavity of the spine, rather than a convex humped shape. Decreased height is
not always the result of bone loss. Years of poor
posture and lack of stretching
can also make us shorter than we once were. Some height loss results from the
shrinking of spaces between vertebral disks, even when bone density is good.
Yoga helps keep the space between the vertebrae open, plump and supple.
Weight bearing through the arms and upper spine in poses such as
Downward-Facing Dog and Handstands and other weight-bearing inversions keep
the upper spine strong. Yoga's upper-body weight-bearing poses are particularly
beneficial in preventing the hairline fractures in the vertebrae that result in
the upper-back curvature common in older people.
While other weight-bearing exercises tighten the body and wear out the
joints, yoga increases flexibility and "lubricates" the joints by giving
them an internal
Seated postures help keep our hip joints healthy as they require a
wide range of movements that increase mobility.
Yoga postures also have a balancing effect on the endocrine glands,
which contributes to the formation of strong, healthy bones. Restorative yoga
poses such as
Supported Legs Up the Wall Pose
replenish the adrenal glands, thus reducing
stress levels and inhibiting excess calcium secretion. Supported backbends—which
can be as mild as restorative poses, such as lying over a bolster, or more
intense, such as
using a chair or backbender as support— promote deep
relaxation and restore
the health of the endocrine system.
Yoga improves balance and coordination, helping to prevent falls.
Agility and flexibility derived from a range of movement help us to maintain our
balance and avoid falls.
Article submitted by: Suza Francina,RYT, a Certified Iyengar yoga instructor
who has taught
yoga since 1972. She teaches yoga internationally and is the author of
Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause.