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Benefits Of Yoga For Osteoporosis

Emily Jones

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have been noticing some of the typical osteoporosis symptoms, chances are you have already started researching the options and treatments that are currently available. It is always preferable, and if at all possible, to start with the natural and alternative treatments for osteoporosis because they are known to have the least occurrence of any harsh and severe side-effects.

Diet and life-style changes are the first and the easiest treatments that you can introduce without, more or less, big sacrifices compared to your current life. Incorporating more exercises for osteoporosis, especially the targeted weight-bearing exercises are great if you are able to perform them regularly.

However, if you do not like going to the gym or do not like working with weights, then the ancient science of yoga might be what you are looking for. There are many documented benefits of yoga for osteoporosis and many patients experience great improvement in their osteoporosis symptoms by starting their yoga practice.

In this article Darlene Varaleau looks at the results of a study specifically designed to administer and monitor the effects of yoga practice on chronic lower back pain.

A new study from India, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Volume 14, page 637) indicates that one week of intensive yoga practice may reduce chronic low back pain that is preventing participation in many fitness activities.

In the study, eighty adults who had suffered from lower back pain attended a residential healthcare center for one week. Part of the group participated in eight hours of yoga each day and the other part participated in general physical exercises like hamstring stretches.

The yoga group practiced meditation, breathing and chanting, deep-relaxation and stress-reduction techniques…as well as yoga postures designed to strengthen back and abdominal muscles and relax muscles in the spine. The physical exercise group also did breathing exercises (non-yoga based) but participated in standard stretching and strengthening exercises.

At week's end, the yoga group had a 49% reduction in disability and a significant increase in spinal flexibility. The physical exercise group also had a reduction in disability and better spinal flexibility but improvements were not as great as those in the yoga group.

The best exercise is always the one that you can do in the moment and that you enjoy and will continue over time. Yoga for osteoporosis treatment should never be dismissed simply because it is not weight bearing. It has provided health benefits to millions of people for centuries.

And with any other treatment, including the alternative treatments and exercises, it is always best to check with your medical practitioner to see if yoga is for you or not. But overall, most of the people that tried it were able to practice yoga at one level or another.

The best thing about yoga, as reported by many osteoporosis patients, is that is easy to enjoy and stick with over the long periods of time. Even though yoga for osteoporosis is not defined as a classical weight-bearing exercise, it has provided great benefits for millions of people and it should not be ignored.

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. Because 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.

Preventative Yoga And 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.

Osteoporosis Protocols And Yoga For Osteoporosis Class

Ten Poses In Yoga 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.



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