Letter of 8/10/2021 Bone Health and Yoga
Over the years I have had questions about Osteoporosis and Yoga. Lately, I have been doing more reading and thinking about it because I have been working with a student to come up with some techniques to move better in her body now that she has been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a scary and very serious condition. If you know where the weakened bones are…that can help you be more careful. So look at your scan. My understanding is that once your are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis doctors can use some serious scare tactics, but not really provide a lot of a practical advice. I think if you read some or all of these articles it will help you feel empowered to keep moving.
When I asked a friend, Doctor Polly Watson https://hormonewellnessmd.com, about Osteoporosis resources she recommended Your Bones by Lara Pizzorno https://www.amazon.com/dp/160766013X/ref=cm_sw_r_em_api_glt_i_FKSCQ0XTPHF7AEVRYBRB It is very thorough book. I have a copy I would be glad to lend out. She also recommended AlgaeCal and their Bone Builder Pack. I personally don’t know anything about this, but it is probably worth looking into.
The takeaway I got from Your Bones is that the movements we do to build strength need to build strength in the body parts most impacted by the bone loss. So, for most people that is the spine, or the pelvis…or possibly the hip. Look at your scan if you have one and see. (You may need to look up some anatomy words because medical scans are written for doctors, not necessarily patients).
If the weakness is in your pelvis…Do more poses like bridge or glute strength exercises or practice less supported sitting (which means ditch the recliner).
If it is in your spine, how’s your posture? Perfect posture is essential. Stacking one vertebra on top of the other “loads the bones” and that loading builds strength. Plus poses like plank and baby cobra will turn on those muscles around the spine and that will tell those bones to build more bone! How cool is that?!
The Yoga Don’ts are: No deep rounding of the back! No deep side bending. Practice Hip Hinge forward bending instead. Back Extension (like cobra or sphinx are ok).
And finally, as far the Yoga-Tune Up balls, caution is best. Especially in boney places where you know there is a bone weakness. The recommendation is only to use the firmer original balls on feet, knees, hands, arms, and jaw. For everything else use a softer Coregeous ball or something like the Franklin Balls (see link below). Use light pressure at the wall or do skin rolling.
Here are several other sources:This is a great article-I think you can read it for free on Yoga International but you can only read it once or twice or something. So save it in reader view as a pdf or print it, if you want it as a reference.https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-and-osteoporosis-the-dos-and-donts
You might also check this page about Loren Fishman’s study about Yoga and Osteoporosis. This page has lots of practical info. https://sciatica.org/?page_id=70
This letter has links to Katy Bowman’s page about Osteoporosis. It is FULL of info, but most importantly it is about how to prevent Osteoporosis. The short answer from Katy, of course, is to stop using furniture to support your body all of the time. Sit on the floor not in a recliner, walk, walk, walk! Her book Dynamic Aging is a Must READ!
If you are looking for a good strength building book with practical how to information. I like this book Core Performance Women by Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams. I bought it years ago and it is the book I pull out when I need a good reference about strength. Great Pictures.
There are several medical treatments out there. I’m sharing here just as a reference.
I have a student who is has been doing daily injections of TYMLOS https://www.tymlos.com/what-is-tymlos since September 2020. Her doctor is:Dr. Silvia Ross at Triangle Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates 919-881-8272
My mom gets a Prolia injection every six months. https://www.proliahcp.com/dosing-and-administration/prolia-injection-dosing?gclid=Cj0KCQiA4feBBhC9ARIsABp_nbU9avWSmjsrJQe_ycL-_Skpb99LqLKb8nrzuO0RtxszuNVjmlQwatEaAjgnEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
I can’t make suggestions about what you should and shouldn’t do, but it is important to find a doctor that you trust. A good PT could also help with movement advice.
I know this is a lot of info, please let me know if you have questions or if you have other sources of information.