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Yoga Poses To Avoid With Osteoporosis

Postures To Avoid: The Donts

12 Poses to Prevent & Reverse Osteoporosis

Follow these additional yoga for osteoporosis guidelines to keep your bones safe and to build bone density and bone strength.1. Avoid flexing the spine forward to stretch the back, legs, or abdominal muscles. Several reclining poses can accomplish the same goal.2. Avoid twisting the spine in a way that uses gravity or leverage for rotation. Any type of rotation should be introduced slowly using simple movements without force.3. Approach backbends cautiously and gently, and avoid overarching the back. Gently supported backbends, as with a rolled towel, can help restore posture.4. Avoid supporting your entire body weight with your hands to avoid wrist fractures, a common problem with osteoporosis. Other poses, such as Mudras, arm movements, or sustained arm positions, can build arm and wrist muscles and bones.5. Standing poses and balances are excellent for increasing leg strength, but they should be done with the help of a teacher and the support of a wall or chair, as the risk of fracture is increased in these positions.6. Inversions are never recommended. Rather, try restorative poses such as the Legs-Up-the-Wall pose.There are numerous other important ways in which yoga benefits people with osteoporosis, such as improving balance, muscular strength, range of motion, and coordination while lessening anxiety, says Dr. Fishman. These are other important benefits of yoga for people with osteoporosis because they each help reduce the risk of falling.

Study Shows That Exercise Lowers Fracture Risk In Senior Women

The study, which was conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo, found that among senior women, at least, regular exercise appears to lower the risk of breaking a hip. These results are based on an investigation that included 77,206 women between the ages of 50 and 79 when the research began to examine the effects of various types of physical activity on the rate of bone fractures. All the women were tracked for an average of 14 years beginning in the 1990s, during which time they answered questions about their lifestyle and physical activity levels. After analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that those who regularly took part in exercise had a lower risk of hip fractures than their peers who did no exercise. Those who mainly did moderate to vigorous types of workouts had a 12 percent decreased chance of fracturing a hip. But the link held no matter what intensity the subjects worked out at or what kinds of activity they chose, including for those who identified most of their exercise as coming from less intense activities such as bowling, golfing, and slow dancing.

Osteoporosis And Cardiovascular Exercise Considerations

Good posture is important to maintain throughout your cardio routine. Osteoporosis exercise contraindications can happen while you perform weight bearing exercises.

Remember maintain proper posture and avoid positions that cause flexion of the spine while doing your cardiovascular exercises.

In the photo above, the model is deliberately slouching forward as she is using the cycling machine. She should change her seat position so that she maintains postural alignment while using the machine.

I encourage you read my blog post on modifications for gym exercises. You can also look at the video below:

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What Do The Results Mean

Though promising, the study, published in 2015 in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, doesn’t provide conclusive evidence that yoga can reverse bone loss. The researchers acknowledged its drawbacks: less than one-third of the study’s participants adhered to the yoga routine by practicing the poses at least every other day throughout the study, and just 43 submitted complete actual DEXA reports at the beginning and end of the study. “It gives one a reason to be cautiously optimistic, but a more complete study should be done,” says Dr. Marian Hannan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, whose research includes the effects of biomechanics on physical function.

Dr. Hannan notes the participants were also self-selected, not randomly enrolled. In other words, they wanted to practice yoga. “Would the results be equally promising in people who were simply assigned to do yoga?” she asks. Yoga is a mind-body activity, and to get the most benefit requires full engagement.

Incorporate More Free Weights Into Your Routine

Yoga Poses That Encourage Bone Strengthenin / 9 Yoga Poses To Build ...

This allows a more functional type of lift. You are working the main muscle but also all the smaller supportive musculature. The added bonus that free weights deliver, when done with good posture, is that they allow your deep spinal muscles to kick in and help you build stronger bones in your spine .

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Exercise Lowers Fracture Risk As We Age

It is not uncommon for older people who are mainly sedentary to be somewhat apprehensive about starting an exercise routine. Their worries may include not having the strength or stamina to be able to complete a workout or injuring themselves while exercising. But the good news is that raising your physical activity level will most certainly offer far more benefits than risks. In fact, new research shows that even less strenuous workouts can help protect aging bones. Studies show that exercise lowers fracture risk as we age.

Yin Yoga Dangers And Concerns

Several instructors and teachers promote Yin Yoga principles that are not appropriate for people with either osteoporosis or disc issues. While these instructors are well-intentioned, because they have not received formal training in human anatomy and are unaware of some underlying issues caused by their recommendations.

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Are There Any Precautions To Follow

The average age of getting osteoporosis is 35 years. Women fall prey to this disease more than men. Osteoporosis study participants have marked that 80% of the population of women including postmenopausal women are currently suffering from it.

And today, even younger women are getting affected. Hence, the comparative effectiveness of yoga varies between men and women accordingly.

Yoga practitioners say that precautionary measures ensure that you practice yoga without any negative effect on bone loss.

Performing yoga poses that require spinal flexion movement or other movements precautions can prevent fractures in lumbar vertebrae, cortical bone, thoracic spine, and more.

Joining yoga classes at an early stage of life is good for improving low bone density. It will prevent any unnecessary geriatric rehabilitation in the future. Avoiding certain yoga poses and movements also acts as a precautionary measure to not alleviate pain.

But, it is always important to follow up with your doctor regarding any kind of physical activity that you must prevent, including yoga.

Osteoporosis And Yoga Positions To Avoid


Yoga poses that were commonly associated with injury included the extreme forward bends and extreme back bends . Any position that causes your spine to bend too much in either direction should be avoided.

For individuals with neck or back pain, yoga can be a beneficial part of an ongoing treatment plan. Just as with stretching and exercising, the practice of yoga can help reduce the strain on your spine and the pain caused by it. However, as with any exercise plan, its important to consider all the factors before jumping in. This is especially true for individuals with osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor first, start slowly and listen to your body. Do this and yoga can become an effective part of your treatment plan.

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Osteoporosis: Some Yoga Poses May Cause Bone Injuries

Although anecdotal sources and academic studies show that yoga can boost a persons well-being, some may need to use caution. A new study suggests that certain yoga poses can lead to bone injuries in people with osteoporosis or osteopenia.

In the United States, about 24.5 percent of women ages 65 and over and 5.1 percent of men in this age bracket have osteoporosis of the femur neck or lumbar spine. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone tissue becomes thinner and thus more likely to break. The medical term for the precursor stage is osteopenia.

Past studies have suggested that practicing yoga could have a protective effect against osteoporosis, though their findings have remained inconclusive.

Now, research conducted by a team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, warns that people who already have this bone condition may be putting themselves at risk by practicing yoga indiscriminately.

The new studys findings featured in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicate that certain yoga poses may harm people with osteopenia or osteoporosis, leading to further soft tissue and bone injury.

The benefits of yoga in terms of flexibility, strength, and balance are widely known, the researchers write. However, they add, multiple reports have described injuries resulting from yoga, ranging from mild muscle strains to bony fractures.

Elliptical Machine For Cardio

The elliptical machine creates no ground force and, as a result, is does not challenge your joints and bones enough to stimulate bone building.

It also encourages flexion of the spine when performed improperly. Note in the picture that the client is having to slouch or flex forward to reach the handles.

There are many cardiovascular exercises that are safer alternatives to the elliptical. In the MelioGuide Exercise for Better Bones Program, I suggest a variety of safe cardio activities based on your activity level and fracture risk.

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Side Angle Pose Parsvakonasana

Benefits: Stimulates the entire skeleton, including central and peripheral.

You should avoid this pose if you have-

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Props: A yoga mat and a chair are required. Perhaps a blanket or a block.


  • Make any required adjustments to this position based on your height.
  • Place a block beneath your front foot if it doesnt reach the floor comfortably.
  • Place a folded blanket on the chair seat if youre tall.

Modify Your Bench Press Position

Yoga for Osteoporosis

Executing a bench press from the floor allows you to roll down and back up in a safer manner. With guidance, the use of a burst resistant ball also allows you to execute a bench press with safer ascent and decent. Replacing a bench press with a push up has the added benefit of increased loading through your wrists.

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Some Yoga Poses Are Risky

In order to verify the link between the practice of yoga and the experience of additional injuries in people with osteoporosis, the research team analyzed the health records of 89 individuals.

Each had begun seeking treatment at the Mayo Clinic between 2006 and 2018 due to pain that they thought had been caused by yoga participation.

Some were yoga beginners, while others were adept practitioners, but they all experienced pain in one or more of the following areas: their back, neck, shoulders, hips, or knees.

When asked, the participants pointed to 12 specific yoga poses as having either caused them pain or worsened existing pain, and most of these required flexing or extending the spine.

These included poses such as Downward-Facing Dog, Bridge Pose, and the Supported Headstand.

Using these participants health records, medical exams, and imaging results, the researchers categorized the injuries sustained as bone injuries, soft tissue injuries, or joint injuries.

In the end, the investigators concluded that, among the study participants, specific yoga poses had led to 29 types of bone injuries, which included disk degeneration, vertebrae slippage, and compression fractures, likely due to poses that exacerbated the pressure on disks and vertebrae.

How To Do Downward

  • Begin in tabletop position with toes tucked under feet, heels raised.
  • Press into hands as you lengthen your spine and raise sitting bones toward the ceiling.
  • Elongate spine and maintain a slight bend in knees.
  • Position ears to be in line with upper arms, or move chin towards chest.
  • Hold for up to 1 minute.
  • Repeat 1 to 3 times.
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    Recommended Modifications To Their Exercise Programs

    After consulting with the two gentlemen, I made the following modifications to their exercise programs to make them more effective and safe for someone with osteoporosis. If you are following a program similar to their program and have low bone density, osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should consider these modifications as well.

    Where To Practice Yoga For Osteoporosis

    Yoga For Preventing Osteoporosis

    Before looking for a yoga class or an instructor, book an appointment with your healthcare provider to find out what exercises you can safely do and what you should avoid. Write down this information, and show it to your yoga instructor.

    Instructional videos are available online, such as Dr. Fishman’s, but they don’t allow for individualization, feedback, and interaction.

    If possible, it’s best to start practicing yoga under the guidance of an in-person instructor who is knowledgeable about osteoporosis. The participants in Dr. Fishman’s study were advised to find an instructor of Iyengar yoga. This type of yoga focuses on body alignment and breath control.

    Some tips for finding a class or an instructor include:

    • Ask about a yoga teacher’s qualifications.
    • Choose beginner classes if you are new to yoga.
    • Get recommendations from friends.
    • Find a good fit .
    • Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations.
    • Check resources for osteoporosis, particularly local ones, to see if they have recommendations.
    • Check for yoga course offerings at your local community center or senior center.

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    Certain Yoga And Pilates Poses

    Both yoga and Pilates are good in that they improve strength, balance, and flexibility, which can all help with preventing falls. But some poses or movements can strain the spine and put fragile bones at risk for fracture. With low bone density or osteoporosis, you should avoid:

    • Rounding poses or rounded spine movements
    • Spine twist or any deep twists
    • Corkscrew or bicycle
    • Deep hip stretches
    • Warrior pose
    • Overpressure from teachers

    Some yoga and Pilates movements can be safe, such as the tree pose or plank. A physical therapist can help recommend or modify moves that are safe and appropriate for you.

    The Basic Principles Of Yoga

  • The Breath. Pay special attention to your breath. Breathing smoothly and naturally enhances yoga poses. Holding your breath can cause fatigue and block awareness of your body. In general, inhale when lifting up or arching your back and exhale when settling into a pose or folding forward.
  • The Foundation. Your foundation is the part of your body bearing weight. This is often your feet, hands, or pelvis. The key is to spread your foundation, so that youre well supported. With your feet, try and use all four corners of each foot in a balanced way. Stretch your toes instead of contracting them. The same concept applies to your hands.
  • The Curve of the Spine. Your spine has a natural curve that makes it strong. The goal when aligning your spine is to achieve a balance of strength and flexibility. Always bend from as low down in the spine as possible. Tilt your pelvis from the hips, not the waist. This will minimize any rounding of the spine and keep your back safe.
  • The Balance of Opposites. If youre new to yoga, you may wonder why poses include actions that are opposite. For example, you may be instructed to press down through your feet and reach up through your arms. This is to create a stable pressure on your bones, which makes poses safer and more effective.
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    How To Do Triangle Pose

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than your hips.
  • Turn right toes to face forward while you turn left toes in at a 45-degree angle.
  • With palms facing down, raise arms until theyre parallel to the floor.
  • Hinge at your right hip as you extend right hand forward.
  • Lower right hand to your shin, the floor, or a block.
  • Extend left arm up toward the ceiling with palm facing away from your body.
  • Gaze up toward the ceiling, straight ahead, or down at the floor.
  • Hold pose for up to 1 minute.
  • Repeat on opposite side.
  • Pilates And Osteoporosis Exercise Precautions

    People with osteoporosis should avoid spinal poses in yoga

    Individuals with osteoporosis need to practice caution when doing certain Pilates poses and exercises. Before starting a Pilates program with a new student, a qualified Pilates instructor should gather important information about the students physical condition and healthincluding if the student has, or is at risk of, low bone density or osteoporosis.

    If your instructor is not aware of your condition, then you should alert him or her and inquire about appropriate modifications before starting a Pilates program or session.

    As a general rule, students should modify their Pilates programs as they progress in age. For the student with low bone density or osteoporosis, it is critical that the student and teacher monitor the students spinal alignment to reduce the risk of vertebral fracture.

    Forward bends of all kinds should involve flexion of the hip only. Students need to maintain a normal curvature of the spine throughout the pose. Bending at the hips, rather than at any point in the spine, is essential. Pilates instructors need to be aware of the risks to clients with low bone density of forward bends that involve spinal flexion. Modify or eliminate poses that cause negative stresses on the spine.

    Certain Pilates poses can increase the risk of vertebral fracture for people with low bone density or osteoporosis. Pilates poses that involve forward flexion of the spine need to be modified or avoided. Avoid or modify these Pilates poses for clients with osteoporosis:

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    Benefits Of Yoga For Osteoporosis

    Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathwork, and meditation. The physical movement has been shown to have a variety of benefits for everyone, not just those with osteoporosis, such as:

    • Better posture
    • More even gait
    • Increased bone density

    These physical benefits are especially helpful for people with osteoporosis because improved coordination and balance can help prevent falling, which is the main cause of fractures in people with osteoporosis.

    Yoga also uses weight-bearing movementthat is, moves that make your body work against gravitywhich has been shown to encourage bone formation and increase bone strength. This can help keep osteoporosis from progressing.

    A 2016 study examined the effectiveness of 12 specific yoga postures in raising bone mineral density . It showed that participants who did yoga every other day significantly improved bone mineral density in their spine, hips, and thigh bones.

    While this study had limitations and drawbacks, the results are promising. Further research is needed to explore the effects of yoga on the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in a more diverse group of participants.


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