Although we, women, become more powerful, stronger and wiser as we grow inward, it seems to be that our bones love to grow backward: they tend to become weak, bristle, and porous as we age. However, it is here when our power, strength and wisdom must come into action. Starting taking care of your bones at this very right moment, regardless of your age and circumstances will help prevent, minimize and even reverse one of the main effects of aging, bone density loss.
I know it is inevitable not to get cut off by your daily responsibilities, tied schedules, multiple commitments, personal and emotional affairs, physical, mental and emotional stress as well as your poor eating choices, but it is also true that it is on your hands to stop your busyness and start visualizing the big picture in order for you to give priority to what matter the most: your health. Taking small, but consisting steps towards your health and wellness will get you fully armed and prepared to receive your golden years gracefully and healthfully.
And one of the most powerful ways to preserve your bone health is by practicing yoga in a safety way. New researches have shown that yoga can outweigh the hormonal effects of age on your bones. That is because each time you practice a yoga pose, you are potentially building new bone due to the fact that yoga is a weight-bearing kind of exercise that allows you to hold up your own body weight against gravity. This puts mild stress on the bones, therefore, keeps them strong and stimulates bone growth.
Said this, here I want you to think and believe that it is never too late to increase your bone mass, or build new healthy bones by using your muscles and improving your eating habits. Caring of your bones, at any age, starts now and the now is the best time to focus on increasing your bone mass reservoir, so go get your yoga mat, wear your comfy yoga pants and your favourite t-shirt because here I am going to give you 7 simple, but powerful yoga poses that if practiced for 15 minutes 6 days a week will help you maintain your bone density as well as preventing and even reducing bone loss.
- TADASANA (PALM TREE POSE)
How to do:Standing with your feet 10cm apart, raise your hands over the head, interlock the fingers and look straight. As you inhale slowly, stretch the arms upwards. Keep stretching till you are on the tip of your toe. Hold to pose for 20 counts. Exhale as you lower your hands and bring your toes back to the floor slowly. Repeat 6 times. Rest for 20 seconds. Duration: 2 minutes.
- EKA PADASANA (ONE FOOT POSE)
How to do: From Tadasana, inhale and raise your arms directly above the head and interlock the fingers with the palms downward. Exhale and bend forward slowly from the hips, keeping the trunk, head and arms in a straight line. Raise the left leg straight back to get into pose. Keep the leg in one line with the trunk. In the final position the left leg, trunk, head and arms are all in one straight, horizontal line. The right leg is straight and vertical. Bend your right knee slightly. Hold the pose for 20 counts. Exhale and slowly return to the starting position. Relax for a few breaths. Repeat the pose with the other leg, twice each leg. Duration: 2 minutes
- VIRABHADRASANA (WARRIOR 2)
How to do: Begin in Tadasana pose turn to the left, exhale as you step your feet wide apart, about 4 to 5 feet. Check to ensure that your heels are aligned with each other. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat. Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45-degree angle. Inhale and raise your arms to the side to shoulder height, so they’re parallel to the floor. Your arms should be aligned directly over your legs. Palms facing down. Exhale and bend your front knee. Align your knee directly over the ankle of your front foot. Your front shin should be perpendicular to the floor. Sink your hips low, bringing your front thigh parallel to the floor. Keep your back leg straight. Turn your head to gaze out across the tip of your right middle finger. Hold for up to 30 counts. To release, inhale as you press down through your back foot and straighten your front leg. Lower your arms. Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat for the same length of time on the opposite side. Relax for few breaths. Repeat each size twice. Duration: 3 minutes.
- MAKARA ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (FOREARM PLANK)
How to do: Start with a plank pose, slowly shift the weight of the body to the front. Your shoulders should align with your wrists. Lower your arms slowly till the forearms touch the floor. Keep your palms on the floor and give a press to the floor. Your head should be downwards gazing the ground. Knees and back should be in a straight line. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, upper body paralleled to the floor. Slowly pull your abdominal muscles in when you inhale. Hold the pose for 20 counts. Relax the abdominal muscles and the whole body on the floor while you exhale. Relax for a few breaths and repeat 4 times. Duration: 2 minutes
- SANTOLANASANA (SIDE PLANK)
How to do: Bring your body into Santolanasana (normal Plank Pose) Make sure that your hands are underneath your shoulders. Your arms and legs should be straight. Put the weight of your arms and shoulder onto the right side only. Find the balance. Separate your fingers from each other and distribute the weight onto your hand equally. Lift your left arm up while placing your left foot onto your right one. Stretch your hand towards the ceiling so that both arms are in one line. Look up at your left hand and hold this pose for 30 counts then come back into Santolanasana and rest in Child Pose for 20 counts. Repeat twice each side. Duration: 2 minutes.
- UTKATASANA (CHAIR POSE)
How to do it: From Tadasana pose, exhale as you bend your knees and move your hips back as if you were sitting down on a chair. Draw your lower abdomen in and up to support your lower back. Send your hips back rather than your knees forward, so that you can still see your toes. Inhale as you raise your arms up around your ears and soften your shoulders. Keep reaching higher, while sitting lower. Hold the pose for 20 counts. Come back into Tadasana. Exhale, as you press your feet down to straighten your legs and then bring your arms down to your sides. Relax for few seconds and repeat 3 more times. Duration: 2 minutes.
- VATAYANASANA (FLYING HORSE POSE)
How to do it: In tadasana, bring your right foot to the top of your left thigh in Ardha Padmasana (half lotus). Inhale and wrap your arms around each other as in Garudasana, with the right arm on top. Exhale and slowly bend your left knee as you were sitting on a chair. The left knee must be aligned with the toes. Slightly bend your torso forward keeping your back straight. Inhale and hold the pose for 10 counts with normal breathing. Exhale and come up to the straight position with two feet on the floor. Rest for few seconds and repeat 3 more times alternating the legs. Duration: 2 minutes.
In addition to all general well known benefits of a daily yoga practice such as: greater flexibility, stronger muscles, better posture and balance, emotional and physical stress relief as well as self-esteem booster, you can now add bone health to this list. Remember: Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga. Namaste.