By Faye Martins
According to the National Osteoporosis Association, the cost of medical care for fractures related to the disease will reach $25 billion by 2005. More prevalent in postmenopausal women and in men over 70, the disorder is associated with the loss of estrogen in females and testosterone in males. Due to the fact that Hatha Yoga is a low-impact exercise that strengthens bones and balances hormones, it is one of many techniques being used in the fight against osteoporosis.
Yogic Prevention for Osteoporosis
• Weight-bearing asanas build strong bones and strengthen muscles. All poses promote good health.
• Meditation alleviates stress-related and hormonal symptoms before and after menopause, improving mood and strengthening adrenal glands.
• Pranayama complements meditation – boosting the circulatory system, removing toxins, and carrying freshly oxygenated blood to the organs.
Ten Yoga Poses for Osteoporosis
• Downward-Facing Dog stretches the entire body and refreshes the mind.
• Standing Forward Bend calms the nervous system and lengthens the hamstrings.
• Big Toe Pose stretches and strengthens the hamstrings.
• Bridge Pose revitalizes tired leg muscles and quiets the mind.
• Warrior II increases stamina and promotes good posture.
• Extended Triangle helps to align the body and strengthens ankles, legs, and feet.
• Extended Side Angle Poses elongates the side of the body from the heel to the lifted arm.
• Half Moon Pose strengthens bones, tones muscles, and improves mood. The Half Moon posture can be easily modified for anyone who has difficulty with balance by using a chair, wall, or the corner of a room.
• Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose improves balance and lessens the likelihood of falls.
• Wheel Pose energizes the body and makes the spine, abdomen, arms, and legs stronger and more flexible.
With the use of props and proper adjustments, each of the above-mentioned postures (asanas) can be modified for any Yoga student. All of these poses also help to do the following: tone the body, increase bone density, remove toxins, release negative energy, massage organs, increase circulation, and balance the endocrine system. Maintaining good emotional and physical health helps to improve mood and prevent all kinds of illnesses.
Precautions Regarding Yoga for Osteoporosis
Anyone with osteoporosis should consult a health care professional and an experienced Yoga instructor in order to prevent the following complications:
• People with low bone density may develop spontaneous fractures to the spine as the body returns to its normal position.
• Backbends may cause stress fractures. A suggested modification is to gently tilt the whole spine without force to avoid pressure that may occur with bending the spine back.
• Some weight bearing exercises can cause hairline fractures of the bones or spine.
For those people who want to prevent osteoporosis and have no other health issues, traditional Yoga is a good option. For anyone with bone-related issues, however, good advice and a slow pace in a gentle Yoga class are the way to go. Yoga for osteoporosis is a viable solution and a preventative measure.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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