Strong for Life

Want to en­sure a healthy, pain-free yoga prac­tice for years (and years) to come? This fun and sim­ple three-part plan is for you.

Yoga Journal - - Contents - By Les­lie Gold­man

In­jury-proof your body and en­sure a healthy, pain-free prac­tice for years to come with this vi­tal, science-backed plan for boost­ing bone health.

ASK SEV­ERAL YO­GIS what mo­ti­vates their prac­tice, and you’re sure to get a range of re­sponses, from “stress re­lief ” to “spir­i­tual growth.” What you prob­a­bly

won’t hear: “a strong skele­ton.” But new re­search shows that yoga is sur­pris­ingly pro­tec­tive when it comes to staving off frac­tures and help­ing to pre­vent os­teo­poro­sis, a bone-thin­ning dis­ease that will cause ap­prox­i­mately half of women age 50 and older to break a bone. (Men get os­teo­poro­sis too, but 80 per­cent of suf­fer­ers are fe­male, likely be­cause women typ­i­cally have smaller, thin­ner bones and be­cause pro­duc­tion of es­tro­gen— a fe­male hor­mone that pro­tects against bone loss—drops off sharply at menopause.) The hard truth is that by the time you hit the age when your skele­ton be­comes more brit­tle, it’s much more chal­leng­ing (though not im­pos­si­ble) to build pro­tec­tive bone mass. Which is why the best time to fo­cus on in­creas­ing your bone mass reser­voir is now, says Loren Fish­man, MD, a Columbia Univer­sity physi­a­trist spe­cial­iz­ing in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive medicine who stud­ied un­der B.K.S. Iyen­gar.

Ready to be more proac­tive about pro­tect­ing your bones? Our three-part plan re­veals which yoga poses may be par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial, re­gard­less of your age, as well as new think­ing be­hind the role of nu­tri­tion and high­im­pact, weight-bear­ing ex­er­cises on bone health. Read on for the lat­est re­search-backed ways to strengthen your lovely bones.

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