Yoga for Bone Health classes are formatted specifically for those with osteopenia or osteoporosis. It is beneficial for those who have bone loss or are hoping to prevent it. Modifications are offered to those who need them for safety. A combination of gentle movement and focused postures which increase balance and help to strengthen bone. The sequence of poses is based the work of Loren Fishman, MD, a Columbia University physiatrist specializing in rehabilitative medicine. A 2015 study, published in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, found that 80 percent of older participants, most of whom had osteoporosis or its precursor, osteopenia, who practiced a specific 12 pose sequence, once a day, showed improved bone density in their spine and femurs.
What is the format of a class?
The Yoga for Bone Health class is based on the 12 posture series, developed by Dr. Loren Fishman of Columbia University, which has been shown to help increase bone density. The class includes a centering and warm-up, with emphasis on breath and core awareness; standing poses with attention to posture and balance; simple backbends; leg and hip stretches; twists and rest. The class is accessible to all levels.
Can/should someone with bone loss take "regular" yoga classes?
Yes, but there are some precautions and adaptations you should know about. It would be advisable to attend a workshop or have a private session with a teacher who is trained in Yoga for Osteoporosis so that you can practice more safely. As with any physical activity, if you are under the care of a physician, you should discuss your participation with them before attending.
I've never done yoga, can I take a Yoga for Bone Health class?
Yes, you probably can. However, if you have Osteoporosis, have not been physically active and have no familiarity with yoga, you should have at least one private session with a knowledgeable teacher before starting any group class. While the Yoga for Bone Health class is meant to be accessible to all levels, a private session will help you to know what to expect and what precautions you should take according to your particular needs. This will allow you to be more comfortable and confident in the group class. As with any physical activity, if you are under the care of a physician, you should discuss your participation with them before attending.
Does Yoga for Bone Health "cure" Osteoporosis?
No. Unless there is a secondary cause of your bone loss that can be addressed medically there is no “cure” for osteoporosis/ osteopenia. However, the 12 posture series used in Dr. Fishman’s 10 year study was shown to increase bone density in those who practiced it consistently for two years. And yoga, with its emphasis on developing strength, flexibility and balance, can help to prevent falls, which are the main cause of osteoporotic fractures. Yoga also benefits your overall health by reducing stress, improving posture, increasing breath capacity and improving agility and focus so that you can move more confidently through your day.
What is the benefit of private lessons?
Each person comes to yoga with their own unique set of conditions, strengths and limitations which should be addressed accordingly. A private session will allow you to become more aware of what your particular needs are, so that you can practice yoga in a way that will benefit you the most while minimizing any risk of injury. This is especially true for those with osteoporosis/osteopenia. The knowledge you gain from private sessions will allow you to enjoy your yoga practice more, knowing that it is uniquely yours.
Upcoming Classes @ Yoga Haven
Yoga for Bone Health meets Wednesdays, 4:15 pm at the Scarsdale studio.
During this 90 minute session, we will discuss your physical condition as well as your goals for our work together. In the first session we will begin to practice the Fishman 12 Poses for Osteoporosis, using adaptations suited to your particular needs and abilities. We will also go over what precautions you should take if your goal is to attend either the weekly Bone Health class or other yoga classes.
4 Session Package
Each session will build upon the last to familiarize you more with the Fishman 12 series so that you can begin to establish a home practice in order to maximize your benefits from the series. Sessions are 75 minutes each.
8 Session Package
Each session will build upon the last and by the end of the 8 sessions, you will have your own personally tailored version of the Fishman 12 series for a 25-30 minute home practice. According to Dr. Fishman’s study, those who practiced the series at least every other day increased their bone density after two years, so establishing a home practice is essential. Sessions are 75 minutes each.