We all know exercise is beneficial to our body – from both a physical and mental standpoint. While there are a variety of exercises that are considered valuable for supporting bone health (and relieving back and joint pain), yoga is a winning exercise, offering countless health benefits.
With its origins dating back to over 5,000 years ago, yoga has a deep history in multiple cultures. The history of yoga can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice and development: the Vedic period, pre-classical yoga, the classical period, and post-classical yoga. There are also various types of yoga that a person can implement into their exercise regimen (bikram, hatha, and vinyasa, to name a few).
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Even though it is scientifically proven that it takes more than diet and exercise alone to reverse low bone density, below are three yoga postures that can contribute to a stronger body and relieve back pain.
Locust for the Upper Spine
Also known as the salabhasana variation, the locust pose helps prevent rounding of the upper spine. This pose also stimulates the vertebra and strengthens back muscles.
To get into this pose, lie on your stomach with your arms stretched to the side in a “T” with your palms facing down. If you’re new to yoga, you might want to pad the floor below your pelvis and ribs with a folded blanket. Another key tip to keep in mind: turn your big toes toward each other to inwardly rotate the thighs, while resting your forehead on the floor, firming all the muscles of your back body (arms, spine and legs).
Once you’re in position, you can then raise your arms parallel to the floor and stretch your back actively through your fingertips, while keeping your gaze forward or slightly upward. You can stay in this pose between 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation.
Twisted Triangle for Tight Hamstrings and Lower Back Tension
Not only does the twisted triangle posture increase your neck mobility, it also can relieve upper back tension and is traditionally thought to stimulate abdominal organs. This particular pose can also be called the revolved triangle pose or parivrtta trikonasana.
To begin the pose, stand at the top of your mat in mountain pose (or tadasana). Step your right foot approximately three feet back and turn it about 25 degrees, while keeping your left foot pointed forward to the top of your mat. With your hipbones now facing the side of the mat, bring your left hand to your waist as you inhale your right arm overhead. This movement allows you to hinge forward at the waist, while lengthening your spine.
Depending on your range of motion, allow your right hand to float toward the ground (either toward your shin, a block on the floor outside of your left foot or your fingers looping your left big toe). Exhale and rotate to the left, extending your left arm toward the sky and turning to gaze at your left palm (while breathing comfortably!). In order to practice this pose safely, keep in mind your hamstrings’ flexibility – use blocks if needed.
Warrior II for Opening Hips and Backache Relief
Last, but certainly not least, warrior II (also known as virabhadrasana) is a standing pose that enhances strength, stability and concentration. Along with relieving backaches, this pose can also stimulate healthy digestion and is considered a deep hip-opening stance.
Like the twisted triangle, begin this pose with your feet hip-distance apart and arms at your sides. Exhale as you step your feet wide apart (about four to five feet) making sure that both feet are aligned with each other. Your right toes should be pointed to the top of the mat, while your left foot will be at a 45-degree angle. With the arches of your feet rooted down through your ankles, raise your arms to the side at shoulder height so they are parallel to the floor. Your arms should be aligned with your legs, and ensure that your palms are facing down, reaching actively from fingertip to fingertip.
On your next exhale, bend your front knee, keeping it directly over your ankle. While keeping your front shin vertical, sink your hips lower and press down through the outer edge of your back foot, keeping your back leg straight. Some additional alignment tips: keep your torso perpendicular to the floor, your head directly over your tailbone and turn your head to gaze out across the tip of your right middle finger. Yogis can hold this position for minutes at time – just remember to continue breathing with steady inhales and exhales.
While these yoga poses can help relieve backaches and support your wellness journey, studies show that diet and exercise improve bones mass very little (if at all). OsteoStrong is a wellness solution that is scientifically proven to dramatically and painlessly increase bone density in just a few months, providing enough weight-bearing force to stimulate bone density.
To learn more about recovering your bone density, call OsteoStrong O’Fallon at 636-238-8696. First session is on us!