A bone-health doctor lists the 12 best yoga poses to strengthen bones
If you’re like many yoga lovers, you appreciate how this one physical activity can be so beneficial, while simultaneously so gentle. Few other practises stretch your body, calm your mind or help regulate vitals, such as your heart rate and blood pressure, in quite the way a regular yoga session can do.
Researcher and rehabilitation doctor, Dr Loren Fishman has also been a practitioner of yoga for 50 years and is the creator of ‘the Fishman method’ of yoga for osteoporosis. In a conversation with Reader’s Digest, Dr Fishman points out that for all its advantages, yoga can also provide a powerful boost to your long-term bone density. In particular, Dr Fishman published 12 yoga poses in Orthopedic Nursing that are particularly great for strengthening your bones.
Of these 12 poses Dr Fishman says: “They all work by putting pressure on the bones of sufficient magnitude and duration.” He says this can “stimulate the osteoblasts to make more bone”, thanks to their placement of “maximum torque, compression or pressure” on particular body parts, as outlined below.
So, while a good yoga session is a helpful tool to help you get through the week, its effects are longer-lasting than you realised.
Keep reading for the 12 best yoga poses to strengthen your bones. (“With all poses, remember not to round the spine as you go into and out of the poses, and within the poses themselves,” Dr Fishman advises.)
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1. Tree pose (Vriksasana)
Tree pose has a special way of calling you to stillness. Dr Fishman says tree pose also adds pressure that can strengthen the upper femur and hip. He adds that a study at the University of Southern California (USC) showed a 60 per cent increase in pressure, even with the foot placed three-quarters down the calf.
Dr Fishman says tree pose is “also extremely valuable for improving balance and avoiding falls,” although he reminds us that the raised foot should always go above or below the knee – never directly on the knee joint.
2. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle pose “puts torque on the lumbar spine, the neck of the femur, the hips and ribs,” Dr Fishman says, adding that this is another pose that will help improve balance.