Yoga with Osteoporosis – the standing forward bend
I am happy that Joanne asked me to guest blog because I just returned from teacher training about “How to Teach Yoga for Seniors”, and I have much to share. I want to begin with the topic most relevant to me – yoga for those with osteoporosis (OP). At age 67, I thought this OP diagnosis had not affected my yoga practice, but my new training has informed me about a safer way to do standing forward bends. With OP one wants to avoid flexing the back or rounding it as many of us do at the end of a full standing forward bend. Instead, a person with OP will avoid undue pressure on the front of the spine, by keeping the back flat and stopping the forward bend movement before the back flexes and rounds forward. For me that means stopping about half way down and even with my knees. There are three other elements to include as you begin: 1) find the hip crease with your hand and bend forward from there, not from the waist 2) bend the knees 3) move the buttocks out behind you, as though you are about to sit in a chair. Go into the forward bend only as far as you can keep a flat back. Next week I will explain how to “feel” that wonderful relaxed spine that occurs when one is hanging downward with arms loosely hanging – but instead, in a half-down forward bend.
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