This article is separated in 4 chapters:
Part 1: How can yoga help to strengthen your bone capacity?
Part 2: Yoga for osteoporosis
Part 3: Asana practise for people with osteoporosis
Part 4: Do’s and don’t in Asana Practise for students with osteoporosis
Today you can read part 4: Do’s and don’t in Asana Practise for students with osteoporosis
Written by Sophie Nusselder
As a teacher, ahimsa (nonharming) is my first priority. I always advice my student to identify sensations in the joints (knee, hip, shoulder). If a student feels any pain surrounding a joint, I always ask him/her to feel if it’s a healthy stretch or a sharp, bad pain. We intuitively know the difference between good pain and sharp, bad pain. Unhealthy pain indicates that the student is potentially about to damage a ligament or tendon. If it’s an unhealthy pain I advice them to back off from the pose until the pain has subsided and/or perform the asana less intense than they did before. Eventually I teach the student to perform another asana, which stretches the same muscle group but doesn’t harm ligament or tendon.
As I deal with the diagnosis of low bone mass, my yoga practice is undergoing a shift. In my own asana practice I don’t involve continual forward bends. When I do uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), I bend my knees so my back doesn’t round into a position that may increase a risk of vertebral fracture. I still twist, but I no longer tuck my elbow outside my thigh or thread my arms through my legs and clasp my hands.
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. Examples: Side Plank, Handstand against a wall, and vinyasas in a slow pace: Down Dog, Plank, staff pose, Upward-Facing Dog).
I also focus on balance postures (such as Treepose and Gurudasana). Further I love to practise restorative postures like Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose). In this inversion the stagnated blood in the smallest capillaries and veins in our legs flow back towards the heart without any effort. I often do this pose whenever I feel overwhelmed, tired or stressed because it has a grounding, nourishing and calming effect on me.
Osteoporosis is a serious condition, always consult a doctor about any medical concerns and before starting any (yoga) exercise regimen. If you want to understand and experience the beneficial elements of yoga asana practise, practising under guidance of an experienced yoga teacher (preferably specialised in yoga for osteoporosis) is firmly required. 🙂
*Remember: nothing in this article should be construed as a medical advice.