Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone density that affects us as we age and certain medications, including those for cancer and glucocorticoids may increase risk. As the bones become more porous and brittle, compression fractures may result from normal daily activities or falls. It is important when practicing yoga with osteopenia or osteoporosis that certain body mechanics guidelines be followed in order to ensure safety and comfort.
"To keep proper alignment, avoid the following positions or movements:
Below you will find a few yoga postures and a mudra that are helpful for those with osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Touch the tips of the thumb and ring finger together, extend the index, middle, and little fingers; rest back of hands on thighs.
Benefits: Encourages feeling of safety within the body
Draw right knee into chest and hold around shin. Press left foot into floor. Sit up as tall as you can. Hold 5 breaths. Exhale to release and repeat to other side.
Benefits: Stretches muscles around hip.
Cross right thigh over left. Inhale and sit up tall. Exhale bring left arm outside of right knee, right arm under chair back. Try to twist navel, ribs and chest allowing head to follow. (Hold 10 breaths each side).
Benefits: Squeezes muscles of torso and detoxifies organs.
Seated Downward Facing Dog
Press hands into table and push your chair back as you extend arms overhead. Press hips into chair and feet into floor. Relax shoulders away from ears. Engage the belly. Hold 5-10 breaths.
Benefits: Stretches shoulders and spine, encourages deeper breathing.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Stand with feet wide apart. Turn right foot in 30 degrees and left foot out 90 degrees. Inhale arms out from shoulders. Exhale and bend left knee. Keep torso upright and do not lean over bent leg. Gaze towards left hand. Hold 5-10 breaths then release and change sides.
Therapeutics: Strengthens legs and increases balance
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I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.