If being “big-boned” is really a thing, then many of us are at a great advantage when it comes to aging. We won’t argue if this is true or not, but let’s focus on the most important part: our bones. As we age, bone health becomes vital. Lack of bone density makes us more susceptible to fractures if we suffer a fall and affects stability and agility.

Bone loss is a natural part of aging. But there’s hope. Yoga can help.

Specific postures create muscle opposition that physically stimulates cells called osteoblasts. These bone-making cells live on the outside of the bone and turn into osteocytes, which in turn, fuse within the bone. In other words, yoga literally builds your bones.

Add these yoga poses to your routine to build the foundation of a strong physique.

Tree Pose

  • From Mountain pose, slowly lift the right foot to hovering slightly above the floor. For more of a challenge, bend the right knee and place the right foot on the left shin or inner left thigh.
  • Keep the hips front, squared and even with each other. Bring the hands to prayer position at your chest. If allowed, bring the arms straight up into the air. Focus your eyes on a still object directly in front of you.
  • Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat this sequence on the left foot.

Extended Triangle Pose

  • Stand in mountain pose. Step your feet wide, about 3½ to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor with your palms facing down. Turn your left foot in 45 degrees to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Adjust the heels so they are aligned.
  • As you exhale, reach your right hand down and to your shins or the floor. If needed, place a yoga block against your inner right foot and rest your palm there. Keep your legs straight. Aim your gaze to your left hand.
  • Press the right palm down against the shin or ground and reach your left hand toward the sky simultaneously. Stay long through the torso. Breathe and stretch.
  • Stay in this pose from 30 seconds to one minute. Exhale and release the twist. Repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed, twisting to the left.

Warrior II

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • As you exhale, step your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach out strong with the shoulder blades wide apart. Face your palms down toward the floor. Turn your right foot forward 45 degrees and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Engage your thigh muscles.
  • Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle. Keep the shin perpendicular to the floor. Keep the right leg engaged while pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.
  • Stretch the arms as far back and as far forward as you can, keeping them parallel to the floor. Keep the torso elongated and the shoulders back and down. Turn the head to the left and gaze over the fingers.
  • Stay in Warrior 2 for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat on the left side.

Extended Side Angle Pose

  • Stand in Mountain Pose. Exhale and step or lightly jump your feet 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach your fingertips to the sides. Press your shoulder blades apart. Face your palms to the floor. Turn your left foot in 30 degrees to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the heels. Make your thighs strong. Press your right thigh outward. Press the left hip slightly forward, toward the front. Press your upper torso back to the left.
  • Exhale and bend your right knee to 90 degrees. Bring the right thigh parallel to the floor. Firm your shoulder blades back and down. Extend your left arm straight up toward the sky while turning the left palm to face toward your head. Inhale and reach the arm over your left ear, palm facing the floor. Stretch and lengthen the entire left side of your body. Fix your gaze on the left arm. Create length along both sides of your torso.
  • Ground your left heel to the floor and aim to lay the right side of your torso down onto the top of the right thigh. Press your right fingertips or palm on the floor just outside of your right foot. Press the right knee back against the inner arm. Breathe easily.
  • Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length.

Bridge Pose (WARNING: Do not perform bridge pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury.)

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
  • Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.
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