Yoga for Stronger Bones Workshop

Saturday March 14th 1-3pm / Wake Up Yoga Rittenhouse / 2030 Sansom Street / 215.235.1228

Prevent or Reverse Osteopenia + Osteoporosis with Yoga!

54 million Americans, half of all adults age 50 and older, are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health. The usual prescription for osteoporosis is “weight-bearing and impact exercises.” However most people over 55 also have osteoarthritis, and impact exercise is exactly what the doctor did not order. So, how to prevent and treat the ever-threatening loss of bone without damaging joints? In order to stimulate bones to grow stronger, force must be applied – in the form of compression or tensile stress. Yoga is a safe and impact-free way of applying that force! In fact yoga also exerts a positive influence on arthritic joints.

Did you know that the right yoga, done the right way, has been proven to strengthen bones? More than 80% of steady practitioners of the Fishman method of yoga increase their bone mineral density scores – they actually gain bone!

During this workshop, we’ll:

  • Learn more about the science behind bone synthesis
  • Discuss bone quality and measuring bone mineral density (how to read your DEXA scan results)
  • Learn about lifestyle changes you can actively make to support better bone health
  • Practice the Fishman Method of yoga, designed to specifically strengthen the parts of the body most vulnerable to fracture: the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, the hip, and the thigh.

Dr. Fishman’s carefully selected and trialed poses offer variations for differing levels of ability. When performed consistently, for at least 30 seconds, and with the proper alignment of joints, they’ll put compressive and/or tensile strength on the bones, so that new bone is stimulated to grow. And they are also safe for those with arthritis.

Triangle Pose – levels 1, 2, and 3

Beginners welcome. We will guide students through versions of each pose according to their abilities and what is safe. All props including mats provided, but bring your own if you prefer.

    No one is too old to do yoga, and the earlier you start, the better it is for your bones.

    Dr. FISHMAN

    No one can entirely halt the aging process, but we can control lifestyle, which can affect bone density and increase or decrease your risk of fracture in as little as two years. Yoga also improves your balance, posture, strength, range of motion and coordination, and lowers your anxiety—all factors that further reduce your risk of fracture.

    About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, E-RYT 200, is a certified yoga teacher and registered to teach Yoga for Osteoporosis through Dr. Loren Fishman, MD. She is qualified to guide students through the poses for the dose response study as per Dr. Fishman. She will be Certified once she has taught yoga for 5 years, in August 2020.

    Read more: Yoga for Stronger Bones

    To sign up, visit Wake Up Yoga’s page here: Yoga for Stronger Bones Workshop or call Wake Up Yoga at: 215.235.1228. NOTE: When you click through to the link, if at first you don’t see the information, make sure the tabs at the top are on the right settings. The location has to be set either to All Locations, or Rittenhouse; and it must be set to the Enrollments tab (not Classes.) Scroll to the one with my pic, or select the exact date. Let me know if you have any questions!

    Tuition: $35; save 10% if enrolled by 2/20. Space is limited to 12 participants. 

    Yoga for Healthy Aging

    Swarthmore Public Library – February 5th 2-3pm – FREE – Join us for a combined lecture and movement session, safe for all bodies. 

    Age is not a disease. It’s a state to which we aspire. Yet slow-moving age-related changes such as loss of muscle mass, kyphotic posture, and lack of flexibility can leave us feeling frail, off balance, and unable to live as independently.

    photo by Ben Zuckerman

    Often the very thing that many of these age-related changes react positively to is activity – and the RIGHT activity. And when we make lifestyle changes to counteract the effects of aging, it helps us find a sense of control over what may seem like an overwhelming decline. Yoga is one such activity, found to counteract many age-related changes that reduce your health span.

    Whether you’re looking to strengthen bones + muscles or improve flexibility and balance, there is a safe yoga practice for every level of fitness and mobility. While we may not have control over certain aspects of the aging process, we do have control over our lifestyle and activity levels. Beyond the physical postures, the mind/body connection created during yoga helps foster awareness and acceptance towards our aging bodies so we can practice safely and with compassion towards ourselves. 

    Ann and her grandmother, Ellie

    About the instructor: Ann Grace MacMullan, E-RYT 200, has been teaching yoga to older bodies for almost 5 years. Her oldest student was her grandmother – at age 98, she was one of the most active participants of her chair yoga class! She now teaches a range of ages and mobility levels in her Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga, and Balance classes in the Wallingford-Swarthmore community.

    Yoga for Stronger Bones Series

    4 Tuesdays Feb 18th – March 10th 9-10am / Wallingford Presbyterian Church / $55

    Prevent or Reverse Osteopenia + Osteoporosis with Yoga!

    Did you know that the right yoga, done the right way, has been proven to strengthen bones? More than 80% of steady practitioners of the Fishman method of yoga increase their bone mineral density scores – they actually gain bone!

    54 million Americans, half of all adults age 50 and older, are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health. The usual prescription for osteoporosis is “weight-bearing and impact exercises.” However most people over 55 also have osteoarthritis, and impact exercise is exactly what the doctor did not order. So, how to prevent and treat the ever-threatening loss of bone without damaging joints? In order to stimulate bones to grow stronger, force must be applied – in the form of compression or tensile stress. Yoga is a safe and impact-free way of applying that force! In fact yoga also exerts a positive influence on arthritic joints.

    During this 4-week series, we’ll:

    • Learn more about the science behind bone synthesis
    • Discuss measuring bone mineral density
    • Learn about lifestyle changes you can make to support bone health
    • Practice the Fishman Method of yoga, designed to specifically strengthen the parts of the body most vulnerable to fracture: the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, the hip, and the thigh.
    Yoga for Stronger Bones

    Dr. Fishman’s carefully selected and trialed poses offer variations for differing levels of ability. When performed consistently, for at least 30 seconds, and with the proper alignment of joints, they’ll put compressive and/or tensile strength on the bones, so that new bone is stimulated to grow. And they are also safe for those with arthritis.

    Triangle Pose – levels 1, 2, and 3

    Beginners welcome. We will guide students through versions of each pose according to their abilities and what is safe. Bring a yoga mat if you have one; props such as blocks, straps, and chairs if needed will be provided. Extra mats also available. Pre-purchase your spot – credit card and PayPal accepted. Or bring a check or cash to class, but email to hold your spot: info@teamsunwellness.com

      No one is too old to do yoga, and the earlier you start, the better it is for your bones.

      Dr. FISHMAN

      No one can entirely halt the aging process, but we can control lifestyle, which can affect bone density and increase or decrease your risk of fracture in as little as two years. Yoga also improves your balance, posture, strength, range of motion and coordination, and lowers your anxiety—all factors that further reduce your risk of fracture.

      About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, E-RYT 200, is a certified yoga teacher and registered to teach Yoga for Osteoporosis through Dr. Loren Fishman, MD. She is qualified to guide students through the poses for the dose response study as per Dr. Fishman.

      Read more: Yoga for Stronger Bones

      Yoga for Stronger Bones Workshop

      Thursday December 19th 10-11:15am / Wallingford Presbyterian Church

      Prevent or Reverse Osteopenia + Osteoporosis with Yoga!

      54 million Americans, half of all adults age 50 and older, are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health. The usual prescription for osteoporosis is “weight-bearing and impact exercises.” However most people over 55 also have osteoarthritis, and impact exercise is exactly what the doctor did not order. So, how to prevent and treat the ever-threatening loss of bone without damaging joints? In order to stimulate bones to grow stronger, force must be applied – in the form of compression or tensile stress. Yoga is a safe and impact-free way of applying that force! In fact yoga also exerts a positive influence on arthritic joints.

      Did you know that the right yoga, done the right way, has been proven to strengthen bones? More than 80% of steady practitioners of the Fishman method of yoga increase their bone mineral density scores – they actually gain bone!

      During this 75 minute workshop, we’ll:

      • Learn more about the science behind bone synthesis
      • Discuss bone quality and measuring bone mineral density (how to read your DEXA scan results)
      • Learn about lifestyle changes you can actively make to support better bone health
      • Practice the Fishman Method of yoga, designed to specifically strengthen the parts of the body most vulnerable to fracture: the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, the hip, and the thigh.

      Dr. Fishman’s carefully selected and trialed poses offer variations for differing levels of ability. When performed consistently, for at least 30 seconds, and with the proper alignment of joints, they’ll put compressive and/or tensile strength on the bones, so that new bone is stimulated to grow. And they are also safe for those with arthritis.

      Triangle Pose – levels 1, 2, and 3

      Beginners welcome. We will guide students through versions of each pose according to their abilities and what is safe. Bring a yoga mat if you have one; props such as blocks, straps, and chairs if needed will be provided. Extra mats also available. Pre-purchase your spot – credit card and PayPal accepted. Or bring a check or cash to class, but email to hold your spot: info@teamsunwellness.com

        No one is too old to do yoga, and the earlier you start, the better it is for your bones.

        Dr. FISHMAN

        No one can entirely halt the aging process, but we can control lifestyle, which can affect bone density and increase or decrease your risk of fracture in as little as two years. Yoga also improves your balance, posture, strength, range of motion and coordination, and lowers your anxiety—all factors that further reduce your risk of fracture.

        About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, E-RYT 200, is a certified yoga teacher and registered to teach Yoga for Osteoporosis through Dr. Loren Fishman, MD. She is qualified to guide students through the poses for the dose response study as per Dr. Fishman. She will be Certified once she has taught yoga for 5 years, in August 2020.

        Read more: Yoga for Stronger Bones

        Student Spotlight: Judy

        • Name: Judy
        • Age: 71 (she adds, “old enough to know better and young enough to do it anyway!”)
        • Sun Sign: Aries
        • Pets: Two long-haired black cats, Amos and Pinkerton
        • Favorite Sweet Treat: anything chocolate

        Interoception

        One thing I’ve noticed about Judy since I met her in 2016 (besides her lovely posture!) is her ability to open herself up to whatever she’s experiencing, and I can tell she’s really listening inward during class. She has been a fixture in my group classes since then, adding her special brand of graceful goodwill and lightheartedness.

        Grace

        Warrior Two Pose

        Judy’s been practicing on and off since 1998, but in 2000, she needed spine surgery in her neck to repair a serious bone spur that was interfering with her range of motion and causing numbness down her arm. They took the discs out of C6+C7 and replaced them with bone from her left hip. While she suffers from arthritis throughout most of her joints, Judy has learned that she feels much better if she keeps moving.

        “If it hurts, it means I’m still alive.”

        -Judy s.

        Currently, she practices yoga about 2-3 hours each week, which has also helped strengthen her bones as we reported earlier this year. (Her improved Dexa Scan scores contributed to the blogpost I wrote on Yoga for Stronger Bones.) In fact, I blame Judy and another student for getting me interested in yoga for osteoporosis, and I’m only at the beginning of that journey, so thank you…

        Effort

        Extended Side Angle Pose

        Judy came to my house for a special one-on-one session – or an osteocyte party as I like to say! Osteocytes are important building blocks of bone synthesis, but we need to practice the right poses with proper alignment and work hard within the pose (hold for at least 30 seconds, for one!) in order to put enough stress on the bone to get that bone-building party started. She even got into an Extended Side Angle Pose, great for stimulating the femurs and spinal vertebrae – the areas where Judy has thinning bone.

        Centering

        With her weak ankles and neuropathy in her feet, Judy’s toughest challenge is balancing poses like Tree. “Balance is hard for me, and it makes me feel less successful, though it does get somewhat easier with practice!”

        “Let go of your judgments and just do what you can, but make it a regular part of your routine.”

        -Judy S.

        Because of Judy’s regular yoga practice, she experiences less arthritis pain, stronger bones, and feels more centered in her daily life. Yoga class provides her with a social connection with like-minded people. I’m so grateful to have Judy’s beaming smile in my classes, along with her humor and present-moment insight into her own practice. I hope she will consider the yoga dose response study with Dr. Fishman and keep those BMD scores improving!

        It’s truly an honor, Judy!

        Meet more of our students

        September is Seniors Month!

        We are offering special deals for seniors this month. Stay active, challenge your balance, and meet like-minded members of your community! At Team Sun Wellness, we teach many adults over the age of 65. Avoid injury, manage stress, and get more joy out of life by exploring some of our wellness offerings!

        Aging gracefully: Our health and the rate at which we age entirely depends on our choices. We can actually reverse or slow down the pace at which we age by practicing yoga and meditation! We have seen improvements in balance firsthand with regular practice in our balance and yoga classes. Being more active seems to go hand in hand with maintaining or improving balance.

        CHAIR YOGA – YOUR FIRST CLASS IS FREE!

        According to a 2016 study conducted by Yoga in America, 17 percent of current yoga practitioners are in their 50s, and 21 percent are age 60 and older!

        TUESDAYS AT 11AM: All ages and mobility levels are welcome. Learn breathing techniques, easy stretches, and specific yoga poses adapted for the chair. Props like blocks and straps are used to help support, achieve, or deepen a pose. Improve your balance with standing poses that use the chair for support, if it’s in your practice. Come refine your posture, improve balance, strength and flexibility – in a supportive and relaxing community environment. First class is free for seniors! For more info: Chair Yoga. Swarthmore United Methodist Church.

        BALANCE WORKSHOP – DONATION-BASED

        SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 7th, 10-11:15AM: There’s a real “use it or lose it” component to maintaining your balance. Whether you’re looking to prevent balance issues or to reverse them, you need to challenge your balance on a regular basis. In our class we’ll be learning safe, effective exercises that can improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. With practice, almost anyone can achieve better balance. Participants of all ages and mobility levels welcome. Donation-based, pay what you can. For more info: Balance Workshop. Swarthmore United Methodist Church.

        You can do Tree pose with a Chair!

        More links for active seniors:

        Stay tuned for Free Mindfulness Meditation in October in Swarthmore Town Center! Wednesday October 3rd, 6pm.

        Yoga for Stronger Bones

        Yoga practiced on a regular basis could help strengthen your bones! Certain poses including Warrior II, Triangle, and Tree are considered weight-bearing exercise, often recommended along with a healthy diet for optimal bone health.

        “Yoga puts more pressure on bone than gravity does. By opposing one group of muscles against another, it stimulates osteocytes, the bone-making cells.”

        -Dr. Loren Fishman, author of study Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss”

        Recently, I’ve had several students approach me after yoga class to talk about their bones. “I just got the results from my most recent DEXA scan, and there’s been an improvement in my bone mineral density score in my spine!” says one 73-year old student who started practicing yoga consistently about two years ago in my classes. Another student, who just turned 70, reported a similar result on her latest scan. Both were kind enough to share their results with me, pictured below.

        The DEXA or DXA scan is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density, and helps to estimate the density of your bones and your chance of breaking a bone. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “a bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs.” If you’ve got osteopenia or osteoporosis, it’s reflected in the numbers.

        In fact, more than 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.

        We reach peak bone density by our late twenties, and then it’s maintained by a continuous process called remodeling, in which old bone is removed and new bone is created. The renewal of bone is responsible for bone strength throughout life. Certain factors like age, genetics, lack of exercise and poor diet can slow down bone renewal, and then our bones might thin to such a degree that we develop osteopenia or osteoporosis. Happily, there are lifestyle changes you can make to maintain and build bone density.

        Bridge Pose (Setu bandhasana) stretches the spine

        Of course we’d love to attribute the slight improvement in our yoga students’ bone mineral density scores to the practice of yoga. The only real change they’ve made has been adding a regular yoga practice, and neither of them are on medication. So just how effective is a regular yoga practice for building stronger bones?

        According to one study, “there is qualitative evidence suggesting improved bone quality as a result of the practice of yoga.”

        The study is pretty much the only one of its kind, and its revelations are being touted in Harvard Health and The New York Times. Researchers prescribed 12 yoga postures held for 30 seconds each, practiced on a daily basis by 221 participants. They measured bone density at the beginning and end of the study, and concluded that yoga “actually builds bone significantly in the spine and the femur, the two most frequent sites of fracture.” You can find out more on Dr. Fishman’s site, Sciatica.org.

        The 12 yoga poses included in the study:

        Image from Dr. Fishman’s Study
        1. Tree (Vrksasana)
        2. Triangle (Uttitha Trikonasana)
        3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II
        4. Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)
        5. Reverse Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
        6. Locust (Salabhasana)
        7. Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
        8. Supine hand-to-foot I (Supta Padangusthasana I)
        9. Supine hand-to-foot II (Supta Padangusthasana II)
        10. Straight-legged twist (Marichyasana II)
        11. Bent-knee twist (Matsyendrasana)
        12. Corpse (Savasana)

        We do most of these poses in our classes on a very regular basis, as they were covered extensively in our 250-hour teacher training certification. It’s been eye-opening to learn that not all yoga poses are good for someone with bone loss issues, and could actually increase risk for a vertebral fracture – as in poses with extreme spinal flexion (as in, forward folds.) Yoga should be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher who provides safe alternatives to classic poses, with an emphasis on proper alignment.

        A gentle modification of Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)

        I’m so excited for my students who have committed to a regular practice and seen some heartening benefits show up in the very fabric of their bones! They continue to do the work, and it’s wonderful to witness firsthand what could be part of a relatively low cost and low risk answer to maintaining strong healthy bones and avoiding broken ones. Yoga also comes with some pretty great “side effects,” such as better balance, improved posture and strength, and reduced levels of anxiety. Hope to see you and your beautiful bones on the mat soon!

        For best bone health, Harvard Health recommends:

        • eating foods rich in calcium, such as low fat dairy products, sardines, salmon, green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
        • getting more vitamin D from the sun or a supplement
        • doing weight-bearing exercise every day
        • not smoking
        • not drinking too much alcohol

        Note: if you are under 30, building bone so that your peak bone density score is as good as it can be could help you tremendously later in life! All of the above recommendations apply to those who are still building bone density.

        Resources: