Your spine is the structural center of your body. A stooped posture with a concave chest often accompanies bone loss. Our goal in working with posture for bone health is to keep the spine strong and supple by aligning the spinal curves over one another and by mobilizing them in all possible directions.
According to the yoga tradition, the spine is also an energetic center of the body. Traditionally, yoga poses were meant to move the energy – prana – in different directions throughout the body, culminating in the energy rising up along the spine to ensure our growth and development. Two particular currents of prana, Samana Vayu and Vyana Vayu, are also involved in bone health because they affect the movement of calcium throughout the system.
Calcium enters the body in food and gets extracted from it within the digestive system. This extraction is guided by the energy of Samana Vayu. Afterward, calcium gets distributed throughout the body by the blood; this process is guided by Vyana Vayu. Balanced calcium levels within the body are achieved by the hormones excreted by the thyroid and parathyroid glands. High or low levels of these hormones can adversely affect bone strength and density.
The two yoga practices below address the obvious and more subtle aspects of bone health: spinal alignment and energy movement. Please give them a try and let me know how they feel!
Align your spinal curves for better posture and stronger core
Your spine and all the surrounding structures function best when the spinal curves are stacked on top of each other in the upright position. To keep the spine healthy and supple, we need to A. Stabilize the curves by stacking them and strengthening the supporting structures around them, and B. Mobilize them by moving them together and independently in all main directions – forward bends, backbends, lateral bends, twists, and axial extension postures. This is exactly what we do in this yoga practice. We combine spinal mobilization with spinal stabilization to build better alignment and communication between your curves. We try to find an upright position that requires minimal effort to maintain, which helps to release tension in all supporting musculature – your neck, shoulders, hips, and back. The more structurally aligned your body is, the less pain you will have, and the more you will feel at ease.
Support calcium absorption by working with Samana and Vyana Vayus
In this yoga practice, we try to tune into the rhythms of Samana and Vyana Vayus while also paying attention to the thyroid and parathyroid glands to follow the journey of calcium throughout the system. We combine abdominal contraction with humming to support Samana Vayu in its calcium extraction role and expansive radiating poses with chin tuck action to support Vyana Vayu in its Calcium distribution role. We also take time to recognize and celebrate the body for this complicated and intricate process that keeps us strong, vital, and agile. For this yoga practice, you will probably need a blanket to create some extra padding for your knees. In the kneeling Half Moon pose, you might need a block to elevate your hand or a chair to make it a standing pose instead of a kneeling one if your knees are sensitive.
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Editable sequences to both practices are available to Sequence Wiz members. Just copy them to My Sequences, make any changes you wish, and send them to your students.