What are the benefits of yoga for osteoporosis?

Joan Pagano
Weight bearing and weight training exercises help build and maintain bone density. Standing and inverted yoga positions are weight-bearing as your body uses anti-gravity muscles to offset the pull of gravity. Yoga postures also use the resistance of your own body to develop muscle strength and endurance, causing a parallel hypertrophy (strengthening stimulus) to the bones. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you must avoid certain yoga positions which can cause damage to the weakened bones, especially the vertebrae of the spine. Avoid forward flexion, curving the spine forward in any position, such as a spinal roll-down or seated toe touches. Avoid twisting motions like spinal twists.  Back-bending positions, however, are advisable since they trigger the muscles that run the length of the spine to strengthen them.
Strength Training Exercises for Women

More About this Book

Strength Training Exercises for Women

Packed with more than 200 visual step-by-step exercises designed to burn calories, strengthen the core, and tone the body, Strength Training for Women is a must-have for core-conscious women who want to target key areas of their body and maintain all-round strength and fitness.

Yoga is a form of weight bearing exercise, meaning you must support part or all of your body weight while performing poses and movements. Some poses will force you to support more than your body weight due to leverage such as pose son ashtanga yoga. Weight bearing exercise places stress on the bones which forces your body to build up more bone mineral and increase bone mineral density which decreases your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Since yoga is a low-to-no-impact exercise, some of the gentler postures may benefit people with osteoporosis. Yoga may help lessen the pain associated with this condition. Certain poses that position part of the body's weight on the hands may also aid in retaining bone density in the upper extremities and spine.

You must take care, however, to avoid excessive pressure or range of motion, such as spinal extension. Each person's condition varies.

Continue Learning about Yoga

Taking Yoga to Heart
Taking Yoga to Heart
Although rescue dogs were first trained as paratroopers in 1944, the first military dog to skydive from an altitude of 12,500 feet was Sgt. Maj. Fosco...
Read More
What types of yoga can help decrease my pain?
Debra Fulghum Bruce PhDDebra Fulghum Bruce PhD
With any type of yoga, you may find great benefit from the physical postures (asanas) to alleviate a...
More Answers
21 Easy Yoga Poses
21 Easy Yoga Poses21 Easy Yoga Poses21 Easy Yoga Poses21 Easy Yoga Poses
Try these basic yoga poses for a healthier, calmer you. 
Start Slideshow
Yoga Sun Salutation With Dr. Oz
Yoga Sun Salutation With Dr. Oz

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.