Yin yoga and healthy bone

There are often many questions about Yin Yoga and specific spinal conditions. Feel free to ask your question here, or check out other posts or contribute input from your own experience.
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Yoprihessy
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Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:11 pm
Location: Indonesia

Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by Yoprihessy »

Hi bernie

Could you help to enlightened me about few things :
1. I heard, good compression just like what we do in yin yoga is good for our bone . Can you explain to me about it? Why this is good compression?

2. Actually, what happen with our bone during good compression as u can say this is good for their growth.? Does the compression increase the osteoblast quality?

3. Whats the different between Yang yoga and Yin yoga interms of this bone growth? What is the best way to keep our bone good? Yang or Yin yoga?

Best Regards
Yohana
YP
Bernie
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Stressing bones

Post by Bernie »

All tissues need stress to be healthy, and the bones are no exception. Without stress, bones will atrophy. This happens to astronauts who spend long journeys on the space station: their bones weaken due to no stress from gravity (they are weightless). So, we need to stress our bones, but tensile stresses don't work (pulling the bones apart do not stimulate growth). We need to compress the bones. In other words, they need to bear weight. (To learn more see this article on antifragility and what happens if we don't stress our tissues.)

If a doctor has a patient with osteopenia (impoverished bones) or osteoporosis (porous bones) she may recommend walking. and walking will stress the bones in the legs, but they won't stress the spinal bones much. When we walk the stress on the spine is absorbed by the soft tissues: the muscles, ligaments and fascia. That is good, but it doesn't help the bones. So, how do we stress the bones in the spine? Yoga! Many yoga postures can do this but in Yin Yoga we deliberately target the vertebrae...think of poses like Sphinx pose: what do you feel? Hopefully you feel a stress along the back of the spine. This is the sensation of compression, which the bones need.

Compression on the bones stimulates the osteoblasts to become more active. Through a form of communication called mechanotransduction, the cells sense the stress in their matrix and become active. (I have written about this more here.) So I would say compression increases osteoblast activity (not "quality" as you phrased it.)

Both yin and yang forms of exercise, and weight training as well, are good for our bones--they just have different targets. Which bones do you want to strengthen? Legs? Do standing yang postures! Spine, do yin postures. Arms? Do inversions like Handstand and Plank poses or weight training. Walking and running will also strengthen the legs. It is all good!

Cheers
Bernie
Yoprihessy
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:11 pm
Location: Indonesia

Post by Yoprihessy »

Thank you so much Bernie.
Indeed enlightened me.

Cheers
YP
YP
toaster
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:48 am
Location: Upstate New York

Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by toaster »

Bernie, thanks as always for the great info!

I found this post when doing a search for osteopenia. I'm 53, a regular exerciser and a yoga teacher, and I was just had a first DEXA scan and was diagnosed as having mild osteopenia in my right hip (at least my spine looked good!). I am planning to be more conscientious about my weight training and to focus on more standing yoga poses - but what yin? I know that you can't "prescribe" yoga, but given your vast experience and knowledge, I wonder if you have any recommendations for yin yoga poses that would be helpful to incorporate more.
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Bernie
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Location: Vancouver

Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by Bernie »

For your hips, I would not "prescribe" Yin Yoga but standing yang postures, walking and weight training (squats, deadlifts, etc.) Yin yoga maybe helpful for your spine — Sphinx, Cobra, Saddle. But, again, I think resistance training would be even more effective: the same weight training for the hips should also help the spine. Good luck!
toaster
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:48 am
Location: Upstate New York

Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by toaster »

Thanks Bernie! That's actually what I have been trying to do - i.e., I am drawn to more passive forms of yoga (yin and restorative), but I am trying to work more yang postures back in, especially standing postures/the poses recommended by Dr. Fishman. I've done regular weight training since my 20s but am trying to step up my efforts in that area as well (e.g., increasing weights, more balance work).

Maybe a better question for me to have asked is should I avoid any yin postures? I love yin and think it's beneficial when combined with yang yoga/strength, but if anyone sees any detriment for osteopenia, I'd like to be aware.
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Bernie
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Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by Bernie »

Toaster, you asked, "should I avoid any yin postures?" Never is never correct, but I cannot think of any yin yoga posture that would lower your bone density or make your bones weaker. Of course, you can do too much of anything, but as long as you pay attention, stay out of pain, and don't go overboard, I think you will be safe to do all the yin yoga postures without having to worry about damaging your bones.

Cheers
Bernie
toaster
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:48 am
Location: Upstate New York

Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by toaster »

Thank you again! Part of the reason I asked is b/c for some of the postures targeting the outer hip/glute area, I tend to get a stronger sensation in my right hip (the osteopenia one) than my left. It's not uncomfortable and feels like an appropriate age, but I wonder if I should back off from stretching. As noted, I am trying to focus more on strengthening, too. I tend to think that the anatomy of my right side is a bit different - my right leg is slightly longer than the left, and I seem to have more external rotation on that side, so it makes for some interesting poses.

Quick unrelated question - is there some way to set this forum to provide email notifications? I do have notifications turned on so that when I go to the site, the bell at top left tells me if I have any responses, but I often forget to check the site, so I would love to get email notifications if they are available. I've checked the settings but wasn't able to find this.
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Bernie
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Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by Bernie »

It is not unusual to have one side of the pelvis different from the other. One acetabula may be higher, more anteverted or at a different abduction angle, etc. One ilium may be longer or broader. And, yes — 90% of people have one leg longer than the other. Curiously, up to 75% of the time, the right leg is the shorter leg. Usain Bolt is an example of someone with a distinct leg length difference, but that didn’t stop him from winning 8 gold medals. So, having different lengths is not necessarily a problem. Knowing you are not symmetric allows you to treat each side uniquely, which is good. Remember your intention and don’t worry about aesthetics. If working one side different works for you, great! Do that.

Regarding the question about getting email notifications: that is a setting issue in your account. I am not an expert in phpBB, but I think you have to subscribe to the forum that you want to see response to automatically. Do this…visit the Forum Topic page you want to be alerted to, scroll right down to the bottom of the page, where you will see a Logo of a house, “Board Index”, and a tick box for Subscribe forum. Tick that box. If it works, a pop up window will say “You have subscribed….” See if that works.

Cheers
Bernie
toaster
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:48 am
Location: Upstate New York

Re: Yin yoga and healthy bone

Post by toaster »

First, thanks for the tip about notifications; I do have that box checked, but they only email I ever get is the newsletter. Guess I just have to remember to come to the site more often! :D

Second, thanks for the info on the leg length differences. I knew it was common (I think my difference is 3/8") but didn't realize that the right is usually shorter! My right (longer side) seems to more easily become achy or tight, especially in the psoas area. I am all for treating the sides differently and am still trying to figure out what works best for me.
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