Strong bones are essential for maintaining good health at every stage of our lives. Primarily the result of weight –bearing exercise, good hormonal balance, sound nutrition and genetic factors, normal healthy bone tissue is formed when old bone cells break down, become absorbed by the bod, and are replaced by strong, healthy tissue that mineralises and hardens.
Yoga works by stressing the bone, much like weight training. Yoga stimulates the bone with isometric contraction at almost every angle for long periods of time. When you do weight bearing poses it affects the whole spine, arms, shoulders, elbows, knees, legs, ankles and feet, while encouraging a range of motion. Because yoga poses pull and stretch the bones from every angle, yoga also stimulates the formation of a bone structure that is able to resist greater amounts of pressure, and many different types of challenges.
Though the following postures are simple to practice and can be easily done at home, but we suggest you seek medical advice before starting them.
Vyaghrasana (Tiger Pose)
This posture is so called because it emulates the stretching movement made by a tiger. A tiger, as well as various other animals, stretches its limbs generously and indulgently in a similar manner to the movements of the posture, especially after awakening from deep sleep.
Vyaghrasana is an excellent pose for exercising the entire spine from top to bottom. It also helps in strengthening the bones.
• Get on to your palms and knees where both are shoulder width apart and parallel to each other.
• Look forward. Relax the whole body.
• Arching the back downwards, straighten the left leg, stretching it up and back as shown. Optionally bend the left knee and bring the toes towards the back of the head.
• Hold the breath for a few seconds in this position.
• Straighten the left leg, bend the knee and swing the leg under the hips.
• Simultaneously, arch the back up and bend the head down, bringing the knee towards the nose.
• The left foot should not touch the floor. The thigh presses against the chest.
• Hold for a few seconds while retaining the breath outside.
• Move the foot straight back and again stretch the leg raising it as high as possible. Continue 5-10 reps with the slow swinging movements. Repeat with the other leg.
• Inhale while stretching the leg backward and retain in the final position.
• Exhale while swinging the knee to the chest and retain while the knee is pressing against the chest.
• Exercises and loosens the back by bending it alternatively in both directions and tones the spinal nerves.
• Relaxes the sciatic nerves, relieving sciatica, and loosens up the legs and hip joints.
• Tones the reproductive organs and is especially beneficial for women after child birth.
• It stretches the abdominal muscles, promotes digestion and stimulates blood circulation. Weight is reduced from the hips and thighs.
Caution: Do not practice this posture if you have severe condition of sciatica, weak back and slipped disc.