Osteoporosis is a common disorder affecting people today. The ailment is a result of low calcium content in the body. In this case, bones become weak, brittle and very porous, so much so, in some cases they become compressible like a sponge. People suffering from osteoporosis have more chances of developing fractures and breaks in the bones. Due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, improper food habits and lack of care for the body, the health of the bones get affected.
While consuming calcium-rich foods helps, physical activities, specifically Yoga, are a great way to combat the problem. Many Yoga postures are known to strengthen the bones and joints, in addition to calming a distraught mind. The areas of the body that are mostly affected by osteoporosis are hips, wrists and spine, affecting the posture and leading to distortions in the body structure. Regular Yoga sessions have proved to be effective in strengthening the body, especially these areas.
Here are five Yoga postures that will help strengthen the bones and maintain the body posture.
Utakatasana or chair pose
* Stand straight with your feet slightly apart. With your palms facing downwards, stretch your hands to the front without bending your elbows.
* Slowly bend your knees and push your pelvis down gently as if you are sitting in an imaginary chair.
* To be comfortable and get a better feel of the pose, imagine reading a newspaper or typing on a laptop as you remain seated.
* Make sure you keep your hands parallel to the ground. Sit straight and lengthen your spine and relax. Ensure that your knees don’t go beyond your toes and keep going down slowly. Sit down in Sukhasana (cross-legged posture). If you want, you may lie down on your back and relax.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or upward facing dog pose
* Stand on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders.
* Spread your palms and turn your toes under. Exhale and push your knees away from the floor.
* Now, lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling, and draw your inner legs up into your groin area from your ankles.
* Downward-facing dog pose stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, arches, hands and calves. It strengthens and stretches the arms and legs.
Trikonasana or triangle pose
* Stand straight with your feet apart at a distance of three and half to four feet. Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees.
* Align the centre of your right heel with the center of your left foot’s arch. Make sure the weight of your body is equally balanced on both the feet and they are pressing the ground.
* Inhale and exhale deeply as you bend your body to the right downward from the hips. Keep the waist straight allowing the left hand to go up in the air while moving the right to come down to the floor. Both the arms must be in a straight line.
* Rest your right hand on the floor outside your right foot, or the shin or the ankle, whatever is convenient without affecting the sides of the waist. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, parallel to the shoulder tops. Ensure your body is bent sideways and not backward or forward.
* As you inhale and exhale, come up, bring your arms down to your sides, and straighten your feet. Repeat the same on the other side.
Setubandhasana or bridge pose
* Lie on your back. Keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor and fold your knees. Knees and ankles must be in a straight line.
* Palms facing down, keep your arms beside your body. Slowly lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor while inhaling; gently roll in the shoulders; touch the chest and the chin but don’t bring the chin down, support your weight with your shoulders, arms and feet. Both the thighs must be parallel to each other and to the floor.
* Breathe easily and hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release the pose.
Bhujangasana or cobra pose
* Lie on your stomach with forehead resting on the ground and your toes flat on the floor. Keep your legs together and allow your feet and heels to lightly touch each other.
* Palm downwards, place your hands under your shoulders, keeping your elbows parallel and close to your torso.
* Inhaling deeply, slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen while keeping your navel on the floor.
* Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands. Curve your spine one vertebra at a time.
* Even if it means bending elbows initially, keep your shoulders relaxed. Ensure that your feet are still close together. Breathing out, gently bring your abdomen, chest and head back to the floor.