As a practice, Yoga has existed for several thousands of years, and it is now practised worldwide.
Yoga’s popularity continues to grow considerably due to its fantastic health benefits. Plus, with the rise of online classes (like our Online Studio, we call it MerryBody) it really is an accessible way to exercise.
If you are looking to improve your bone health, build bone mass or increase bone density, adding Yoga into your daily routine and workout program could be your next best decision.
Many people think that increasing bone density has to be done through lifting heaving weights. Although this kind of movement can do just that, it’s not the only way.
Practising Yoga every day (or even just twice a week) can help to strengthen your bone mass, stimulate bone rejuvenation, lower the risk of fractures, and prevent bone loss, especially for people with osteoporosis. (In fact Loren Fishman, medical practitioner, uses Yoga in his regular treatment protocols for osteoporosis).
Yoga will also help you improve your balance and in turn, help to prevent falls that may have led to you breaking a bone.
So how does Yoga Strengthen Bones?
Practising any weight bearing exercises will improve bone health.
Simply put, when you’re performing weight bearing exercises, the muscles and tendons add pressure to the bones, this encourages and stimulates the bones to create new bone tissue.
This results in your bones getting stronger and increasing in density. This is what reduces the risk of bone issues like osteoporosis and osteopenia.
It’s pretty damn amazing.
When you think about your Yoga practice, so many of the Yoga poses and postures bear your weight.
Think Warrior II when you’re down low in the legs, Downward Facing Dog when you’re holding all of your weight in your hands and feet, and Tree Pose when you’re standing on just one leg (we’ll teach you how to do these below!).
Even your Yin Yoga poses help with bone density as you pull the bones apart, adding tension to the joints, this in turn adding pressure to the bones.
At What Age Should I Start Weight Bearing Exercises?
Bone problems can become more prominent as you get older.
Just like most parts of our bodies, with age, comes some kind of degeneration. Balance also can become more difficult and strength can decrease as you age.
However, it is important to remember that you can do something about it, and the best time to begin is today, so age NOW is the right age for you.
Age can increase the risk of falls in general daily activities. It’s not the fall that is the worst part, it’s what happens from the fall, for example, breaking or fracturing a hip bone.
Yoga can become a preventive tool for these injuries as it can teach you how to protect against falling.
Yoga Poses That Improve Your Bone Health
As already mentioned there are several Yoga poses that are going to be perfect to add to your Yoga routine if you are looking to strengthen your bones and improve your bone health.
However, if you are struggling with any of these poses, be sure to ask your Yoga instructor for help and assistance in performing them. Inside MerryBody we post technique tutorials every week so you can work on alignment, yes we can practice poses together! We’re also there to answer Member questions every single day.
So let’s get to the Yoga poses!
Or if you like, you can sign up to our Free 5 Days of Yoga and Pilates Classes, this way you can work through some of these poses and start your weight bearing exercises today!
Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana II
The Warrior II pose will strengthen your core, quads, shoulders and improve the health of your bones.
Here is how to perform the Warrior II:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Take a big step forward with your left leg, away from your right foot.
- Turn your left foot outwards and bend your knee at a 90 degree angle.
- Your right foot faces in at a 45 degree angle and your right leg is long and strong.
- Lift both your arms parallel to the Earth at shoulder level with both of your palms facing down. Take a few breaths in this position, breathing in and out through your nose.
- Come back to the starting position and repeat the same process on the other side.
Tree Pose, or Vrksasana
Tree Pose teaches the Yogi to feel rooted and reach tall simultaneously. In this pose, the strength of your standing leg will be improved, and bone health overall.
Here is how to perform the tree pose:
- Stand on your mat, completely straight, in a relaxed pose, with your feet close.
- Bring your right hand to big toe, to help lift your right foot and bend your right knee, then place your right foot on the inner seam of your left thigh. Your right knee faces out.
- While trying to balance your body in this position, slowly inhale and exhale, concentrating on your deep breathing.
- Raise your hands over your head and join your palms together.
- To help balance, press your right foot into your thigh, and your thigh into your foot. Focus on one spot on the horizon that isn’t moving.
- Hold the tree pose for up to ten seconds, and then gently lower your hands and put your foot back to the ground. Repeat the same process with the left leg.
Downward facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana
The Downward Facing Dog is one of Yoga’s most widely recognized poses, and it strengthens the core, improves circulation, provides a satisfying full-body stretch, and improves bone health.
Here is how to perform Downward Facing Dog:
- Find all 4’s, place your knees directly below your hips and place your hands under your shoulders.
- Exhale and lift your knees from the floor, and raise your booty towards the ceiling, lengthening the legs.
- You should make an upside down V shape with the body.
- Keep a microbend in both knees so you can feel the lower spine lengthen.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears and gaze toward your toes.
- You should feel a lengthening of the legs and spine, there is no force on the spine, it simply feels like you are creating space and length.
- Hold this pose for ten or more breaths, and then bend your knees on an exhalation and lower yourself back into the starting position.
Our favourite thing about Yoga is that you really can do it anywhere, anytime. When you work with a Yoga instructor who ensures to provide options at all levels (like we do inside MerryBody), you can feel confident to begin your Yoga journey (or perhaps continue your journey!).
If it sounds like something you’d like to look into, we’d encourage you to sign up to the free 7 Day Trial we have available for MerryBody. This means you can try out the classes (there are 400+ to stream and download) and see for yourself how MerryBody Yoga makes you feel.
If you have any more questions, we are here to help, reach out any time!
Emma + Carla