Many women worry about Osteoperosis as they age, which is a disease causing the bones to become more brittle and weak, due to a loss of bone mass. Osteocytes are specialized cells that help bones be strong and less prone to breakage, whether it is hairline fractures or full breaks that happen when the bones become ‘old.’ This supposition that the bones should become brittle as we age; however is a fallacy, and with yoga you can turn the age of your bones young again with just 72 seconds per posture.
A Minute & 12 Seconds to Younger Bones
Recent studies have proven that bones need stress – and not the stress we normally are trying to get rid of in a yoga class, but the pressure of opposing muscle a groups and tendons on bones themselves. This opposing-force pressure helps stimulates the growth of new bone cells. The magic number for bones to begin making new cells seems to be about a minute and 12 seconds, so while you may not be able to hold all yoga postures for this duration when you first begin, it is a worthy goal to work toward.
Start From Where You Are
One of the great things about using yoga instead of other forms of exercise when you are trying to build bone density is that it is much less jarring and hard on the joints. The ligaments also get stronger, and we develop what is called tensile strength – the strength of the tendons connecting to the bones also. So, while you are adding strength to the bones themselves, you are also increasing the strength of the connective tissues and muscles.
This strength can start with just a five-breath hold – which is usually about 50 seconds for most of us, unless you are able to breath in and out with a much longer duration (another goal of proper yoga practice), and build up to the full 72 seconds. Warrior poses and other balance poses may be difficult to hold for this duration, but you can use yoga props, including blocks, blankets, a wall, or a chair to help stabilize you so that you can work toward holding the pose a little longer from where you are.
Increase Poses Duration to Prevent Osteoporosis
Once you can easily hold poses for the magic 72 seconds, you can even lengthen the duration and start to practice more advanced states of yoga. Even practicing Shirsasana can be a matter of holding a yoga posture for several minutes, instead of several seconds, although this is not recommended for beginners.
Advanced yogis can hold poses with seeming ease for hours sometimes, so no matter what type of yoga your practice, aim for at least that 72 second hold and build from there to stay strong, vital and bone-happy for your entire life. Brittle bones as you age are not something you just have to just accept. You can make a difference with your yoga practice.