Monday, June 7, 2010

Ten Reasons Why Yoga Builds Better Bone Strength at Any Age

  1. Yoga is one of the few exercise systems in which weight is borne through the entire body.  In weight-bearing standing poses, inverted poses, active backbends, and various arm balances, weight is systematically applied to the bones in the hands, wrists, arms, upper body, neck and head, feet, and large bones of the legs and hips.
  2. 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.
  3. While building strength, yoga poses simultaneously promote mobility in the hips and shoulders, remove stiffness in the joints, and bring flexibility to the whole body.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Weight bearing through the arms and upper spine in poses such as Downward-Facing Dog and the 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.
  7. 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 massage.
  8. Seated postures help keep our hip joints healthy as they require a wide range of movements that increase mobility.
  9. Yoga postures also have a balancing effect on the endocrine glands, which contributes to the formation of strong, healthy bones.  Restorative yoga poses 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 as support - promote deep relaxation and restore the health of the endocrine system.
  10. 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.

Source from The New Yoga for Healthy Aging by Suza Francina