Strong Bones & Peaceful Moments with Yoga

August 26, 2023

By: Kandy Taylor Love, PhD, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, Licensed Massage Therapist MA9704
Editor/Contributor: Stephanie Niles

Strong Bones & Peaceful Moments with Yoga

“The body is as young as the spine is flexible.” 
~ Ancient Yogic saying

In the world of conscious living and holistic health, we incorporate many modalities to contribute to the body’s well-being. A healthy lifestyle is not only a matter of nutritious food and good supplementation, but also how to support the basic structures like organs, muscle, and bones, and how to look at the body in its totality.

Bones require attention for strength and stability in order to provide shape to the body, support for muscles, support for body weight, movement, protection for internal organs, proper production of blood cells (in the marrow), and store/release minerals and fat.Yoga trains the mind, body, heart, spirit to be in the moment to feel connected, balanced, quiet, restful and make good choices.

This article is about how these two systems (bones and yoga) come together to help create an environment of power, stability and ease.



Here I will focus on structure. Additional and relevant information on nutrition, scientific studies and other data are available through articles published by Lotus Blossom Clinic and many online sources. Two recommended books are: Great Bones, Taking Control of Your Osteoporosis by Dr. R. Keith McCormick, DC, and Yoga for Osteoporosis, The Complete Guide by Drs. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall.

Because the bones are inside our bodies and not usually a focus unless we have an injury, they are all too often neglected. Bones provide the support and stability for the tissues of the body to do their work and for you to have structure and mobility with ease and strength. 

Consider there are 206 bones, and more than half, 120, are in the limbs (arms/hands and legs/feet), making up the appendicular skeleton. These bones provide mobility, engaging us with the world. The 86 remaining bones make up the axial skeleton, which is on the outside of the organs of the trunk and skull. These function as the internal structural foundation, providing a supportive container.

The bone tissue (like all tissues) is continually breaking down and building. This natural process becomes our focus mainly in the aging process when the breaking down happens faster than the building. The deterioration of the bones gets a label of osteopenia (beginning of the deterioration), and when left unaddressed can become osteoporosis. This condition increases the risk of falling and breaking bones. 

The bigger, more holistic, picture is that the bone loss does not happen all by itself. If any one aspect of the body is compromised, every other one is affected. Remember the song Dem Bones: “The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone; the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone,” etc. This is mirrored in every aspect of our body as the innate intelligence of the body is ultimately designed for homeostasis and health, always the optimum condition. 

The good news is that at any age, the natural processes of the body, even the bone structure, can be assisted/enhanced by lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis. This is why all choices do matter! When we decide what food to eat, what exercise/movement to do, which job, what and when social activities, which relationships, how much stress we allow, as well as the natural aging processes, mental and emotional states – they all matter … .from the inside out.



Although an ancient art, science and philosophy, yoga thrives today because it makes wholeness, awareness, focus, steadiness, sweetness, strength, balance, mobility, and restfulness available and practical.  Dr. McCormick writes, “ Exercise is crucial to healthy bones and body. … There are several good osteoporosis-specific yoga and exercise programs {which} can ease you gently and safely into getting your muscles, joints, and bones moving again… Exercise is … a vital component  to regaining your skeletal health.”

Results of a ten-year study were published in 2016. Dr. Fishman, working with 3 other doctors, assessed the effectiveness of selected yoga postures in raising bone mineral density (BMD). “The current study supports the efficacy and safety of yoga as a treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis.”

In particular, Iyengar Yoga brings awareness to alignment which means proper posture which means stacking the joints which means strength and stability of the bones, muscles and nervous system working together, which means steadiness, strength and balance. Simply put, proper posture is critical to keeping your spine healthy, strong and flexible.Another unique aspect of Iyengar yoga is the use of props to adapt to all body types. The props provide balance, support, and specific prodding to awaken dull areas. All “..this mitigates the risk of falling and breaking a bone.  This is why you end up sleeping better, as well as feeling stronger, happier and your brain function improves.”  Isabel Gordon, Australia

Weight-bearing postures

In this style of yoga, holding all postures, specifically standing and sitting postures, for somewhat longer periods of time is common. This encourages the break-down and build-up of bone mass. Think supporting calcium retention and production.

According to physician and yoga expert Mary Schatz, M.D., yoga can stimulate the bones to retain calcium (provided the body gets enough calcium in the first place). It does this through weight-bearing poses (like standing poses, arm balances and inversion) that affect the whole spine, arms, shoulders, elbows, legs, knees, ankles, and feet, while encouraging full range of motion. 

Hug your Bones

B.K.S. Iyengar, a master of yoga’s therapeutic applications, explained the benefits of yoga by means of what he called its “squeezing and soaking” actions. He contended that through the process of squeezing out the old, stale blood or lymphatic fluids and soaking the area with fresh, oxygenated blood or fluids, yoga helps the body to utilize the nutrients it needs.

We can accomplish this by “hugging your bones.” This hugging concept is actually an internal action of bringing the muscles around a bone to the bone. In particular, the upper arm bones (humorous), upper thigh bones (femur) and hip (ilium) bones, even the length of the spine itself. The action is to squeeze and hold. Think the opposite of the “Don’t squeeze the Charmin” commercial.

Hugging the bones for 30 seconds can stimulate the bones to get the message “I need you.” Why 30 seconds? Dr. Fishman reports that researchers looked at how long you have to stress a bone cell before it starts creating new bone, and they learned that it starts after 12 seconds and stops after 72 seconds. “You wouldn’t be able to make any more bone after that,” he says. During this practice of hugging your bones for 30 seconds be sure to keep your breathing easy. It matters to keep the effort less than full force in a stationary position. Intend this by focusing on one section of the body at a time:  hug the arms, then the legs, then the buttocks, then the spine. The breath remains silky smooth.This contracting action creates a gentle stress around the bones and begins the sense of stability, strength and possibility.


Daily living already has many changes and joys. Choosing to incorporate knowledge that is enhancing yet practical to your lifestyle, can be easier than it is often presented.The referenced tools of yoga are both supportive and preventative. If you are interested in more information and practices to make your daily living more complementary to the life you want to live, including increasing your bone health and feelings of belongings, come join me at Lotus Blossom Clinic.

Small, personalized yoga classes targeting specific interests, such as Osteoporosis, and special Yoga events are listed here

To contact Dr. Kandy for private Yoga Therapy sessions, email her at


The Practices for Strong Bones & Peaceful Moments with Yoga

If  you would like to find out more about the support we provide at the clinic, please call 239-277-1399 to schedule an appointment! And feel free to visit our website for more info. .

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No Bones About It, You Can Prevent and Reverse Osteoporosis


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Note:  We are not MD’s, Nutritionists or Dietitians . Vickie Gelardi and Deb Martin are certified in the Conquering Any Disease, a High Phytochemical Food Healing System and they work under Dr. David Martin’s directions with his patients, helping them incorporate his dietary guidelines into their lives to improve health.