Part Two: Yoga With Osteoporosis
By Virginia White, RYT/MA
This is my second week to guest blog, and I had several people ask about last week’s blog. They asked “why” a person with OP would want to avoid the flexing forward and rounding of the upper back in a forward bend. This is my interpretation of studies on this topic: if the spinal vertebrae are thin from OP, a rounded upper back in a standing forward bend may result in compression of the anterior spine and pain afterwards. A rounded upper back during a seated forward bend may also cause the same compression and pain afterwards. Try it – avoid rounding the upper back in a forward bend for a couple of days and ask yourself this question, “Does my spine feel better?” If you decide it does, then I have accomplished what I wanted – to provide information you may use in your own yoga practice.
If a person with OP does adopt this modification, he or she will still need forward flexion to rest the spine in the opposite direction. A very enjoyable position is to lie on your side, on a bed or couch, or on your mat on the floor. Lie in a fetal position, with a rounded upper back, with a pillow or an arm under your head – do this for 1-3 minutes. This can be done anytime during a yoga practice to rest the spine, such as after cobra.
Another position that provides rest and relief is to stay where you stop your forward bend. Picture a person who has stopped about half way. In this position, as in all forward bends, the abs contract as you bend forward, knees are kept soft, hips are back a bit, and the back is flat. Place your hands on your thighs and stay for 2 or 3 breaths. While breathing look at the floor, let your vision blur, and consciously soften the eyes. Many people experience a softening and relaxed feeling in the spine with the visual softening. Enjoy life and enjoy yoga!
Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
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