Yoga Is Weight Bearing, So It Helps Bones & Immune System
When I first started yoga, I never associated yoga with bone health, or improving the immune system. It does both, and much more. You get these benefits from any level of yoga, including even your first yoga in-the-studio or online, including in a 6-week beginners yoga course online. (These days, with a beginner yoga online course, or in-studio, it’s much easier to get started on a yoga health journey).
So I will first outline why yoga works for bone health. After that, I’ll move on to how the same processes help your immune system.
First, remember that bone is living tissue in your body. Therefore, yoga is an exercise that builds and maintains healthy bones, via it’s impact on that living tissue.
When you do yoga regularly, your bones adapt to the forces placed on them. The result is that you both build more bone, and your bones become denser, and stronger.
In particular, you’re stressing your bones each time you exercise. It encourages bones to increase their calcium content and therefore grow denser.
In addition, the process I’m describing is helped by the many yoga postures that involve weight bearing. For example, consider what happens with standing poses. If you’ve already done yoga, you know that standing poses are done regularly.
The good news is that, because of the process I’ve described, standing poses have proven to be incredibly effective in building a strong skeleton.
Yoga involves weight bearing exercise.
You may also know that standing poses are a major part of most Iyengar yoga classes. Standing poses are also of course done in other yoga styles. In the Iyengar style, however, they are usually held, and held longer. Flow yoga does not focus on holding poses, or get as much of the benefit I’m outlining. Holding poses a way to build strength, and bone health.
Standing poses can also be done by jumping out into them. When you do this, you then also land with a medium impact on your bones. Such impact is also good for bone health. (You can walk out if you have a knee or back problem).
I’ve already mentioned how standing poses are held positions. As well as that, another particularly effective aspect of Iyengar yoga is how your bones are strengthened through aligning each part of the body.
Alignment teaches you how to stack up or align each part of the body. The outcome is that you get correct skeletal and muscular tension. One part of this is that your bones are “stacked” so that your weight is correctly carried through them. In turn, that again builds your bone strength and health.
6 Week Beginners Yoga Course Online Or In-Studio: From $38 (AUD)
Aim to hold poses for as long as is comfortable.
Each standing pose can be held from 12 seconds to up to one minute.
When I first started yoga, there was no 6 week Beginners Yoga Course Online. Such courses, and online, did not exist! Certainly, I couldn`t hold poses for very long. I simply wasn`t strong enough. I also lacked the mental steadiness to stay in a pose, as well as to observe what was happening.
With practise, and introductory beginner poses that build up over time, you come to change all these limits. I learnt to stay longer and to observe, or “watch”, my actions. In turn, I could then correct my posture so there was correct muscular and skeletal tension.
Although I didn’t realise it at the time, it was very important to learn to hold poses and pay attention to correct alignment. The more I learnt to do that, the more I could create the conditions to build strong bones.
“Attaching” muscles to bones correctly
It also takes practise to learn how to “attach” muscles onto bones so as to get correct muscular tension.
Attaching your muscles is just a term in yoga for having your muscles work correctly and fully in conjunction with your bones. Among other things, it involves your muscles flattening out along the bone, rather than bulking up.
So, one important further outcome was that as I learnt to attach my muscles onto bones, I could then further strengthen my bones. After that, I could move my bones and muscles safely into a huge range of movements.
As well as standing poses, there are also many other poses that involve weight bearing. For example, there are poses to strengthen arms, and strengthen the shoulder joints. Such poses include plank pose, side plank, handstand, and forearm balance.
Maintain bone strength as you get older
Bones continue growing throughout adulthood. (Among other things, it’s why you can “grow” your bones back together if you accidentally break them).
The technical background is that the jumping into poses, the holding of standing poses, and bearing your body weight on your arms, physically stimulate your osteoblasts.
Osteoblasts are bone making cells that live inside your bones. So, in order to protect your bones, and prevent them from becoming frail, it is important to stimulate osteoblasts.
As we steadily age, bone fractures can happen as a result of a fall. It can happen even if later middle age, as your balance deteriorates.
Clearly, building muscle strength, and improving your balance through maintaining a yoga practice, will both slow the rate of bone loss, and reduce the risk of fractures.
There is also a further positive impact on your immune system. I’ll come to this in a moment.
Balancing poses also excellent for bones
Before I continue, I want to mention how balancing poses are weight bearing poses that work beautifully for what I’ve been outlining.
In addition to helping prevent falls, they bring awareness to even up the actions in both sides of your body.
For example, consider the well-known tree pose.
Tree pose is a balancing pose that strengthens ankles, shins, and knees, as well as hips on the right and left side of the body.
Non weight bearing poses also help build new bones
Bones are also strengthened by other yoga poses.
For instance, a reclining pose, like reclining hand to big toe pose, also strengthens the bones of the legs.
In this pose, opposing groups of your muscles (hamstrings against quadriceps) “rub” against one another.
Consequently, this muscular interaction creates a force that stimulates your bone making cells. In other words, your osteoblast cells do more work for you.
In Flametree’s 6 week beginners yoga course, online or in-studio, you’ll learn introductory versions of many of the poses I’m outlining. They will start improving your bone health immediately.
The skeletal and immune system have a complex relationship
Your skeletal and immune system are hugely interconnected.
Bone marrow is found in the interior walls of our bones. In turn, bone marrow is very important to the immune system.
All of your blood cells, including both T and B cells, originate in bone marrow.
B cells remain in the bone marrow to mature. But T cells travel to the thymus gland to do their job there.
In addition, in the bone marrow, red blood cells are produced to carry the oxygen that your body needs.
It’s also in the bone marrow that many different types of white blood cells are produced. We need these white blood cells to prevent and fight infection.
Moreover, platelets are produced in the bone marrow. These platelets help our blood clot.
All this demonstrates again how healthy bones, and healthy functions within them, are hugely important. Yoga helps your bones stay healthy and to do their job.
Key points about yoga and bone health
Studies have shown that weakened, frail bones, will reduce your body’s immune response.
Most importantly, as I’ve outlined, exercise via yoga, is vital to maintain bone health.
Yoga has proven itself to be safe, and very effective, both in keeping bones healthy, and keeping muscles strong and flexible.
For example, Loren Fishman, a medical doctor, in “Yoga for Arthritis”, makes the point that yoga has also proven to work with those suffering from arthritis.
But arthritis is just one example of how yoga can maximise bone health. In addition, as I’ve outlined, your bone strengthening also builds your immune system.
For the reasons I’ve outlined, the Flametree’s two weekly classes on Yoga For Immune System, involve both active and less active poses.
6 Week Beginners Yoga Course Online Or In-Studio: From $38 (AUD)
Flametree’s beginner class times
Each beginner class, or a beginner yoga online course, or in-studio versions in Darwin, Australia, are at the local time of Darwin, Australia (+9.30GMT).
At the beginner timetable, there is also a time zone converter which shows the times in your local time zone. (Look immediately under the timetable grid to see the local time zones.)
The classes are all standard, introductory hatha yoga poses.
Try A 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course
Beginner level yoga, including a beginner yoga online course, can be started at any time.
There’s also a two week free trial. You need a credit or debit card, but unless you continue after the trial, you pay zero.
Follow the relevant links to learn more about Flametree’s beginner yoga deals.
Beginners can just pay week to week, or there is also a 6 week beginners yoga course, in-studio or online.
If you are in the Darwin region, there will be yoga classes in each of Palmerston, Casuarina, CBD, and Woolner.
In addition, here are the best options for IN-STUDIO Darwin City & region classes.