The Practices for 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

The Practices for Strong Bones & Peaceful Moments with Yoga

Over the years, the following six principles have served me and students/clients to create a dynamic, yet sweet, power for daily energy, better sleep, increased focus and balance, and an integration with our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies.


This means that the bones are aligned both vertically and horizontally. For example, shoulder joints and hip joints aligned means vertical stability; and shoulder blades aligned with each other (not one higher than the other) and pelvic bones aligned (not rotated, hip hiked) is horizontal balance. With this aligned posture, a dynamic sense of effort and ease is naturally created. This translates into a sense of being healthy, strong, flexible, and uplifted (physically and emotionally). Using a mirror can be helpful as sometimes actually looking at yourself to see if the joints are stacked is more efficient than trying to feel it. Here are the five points of stacking joints: ankles, knees, hip sockets, shoulder sockets and ear holes. This is practice is more about “work in progress” than about perfection. The goal is toward alignment without discomfort or loss of breath.


This hugging concept means bringing the muscles around the bone to the bone – holding, squeezing without/before movement – one bone at a time. Think the opposite of “Don’t squeeze the Charmin” commercial. Creating a gentle stress around the bones of the limbs begins the sense of stability, strength, and possibility. Hugging the bones for 30 seconds can stimulate the bones to get the message “I need you.” Why 30 seconds? Dr. Loren 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.  The practice is this: hug your bones for 30 seconds while breathing easily. 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 throughout.


Loosen the grip on all organs in all cavities of the body. The inside of the body is constantly moving, undulating and must remain fluid to function well. So, “juicy” is not only about the fluids of the body, blood, and lymph, but also the organs…they must remain soft and pliable. Abdominal organs of digestion, assimilation, creation, elimination. Chest organs of circulation, respiration. Skull brain and sensory organs. This practice can be done more easily while standing with or without support. A simple way to start this relaxation is to soften your tongue and begin slowly moving it, exploring its simple movements, with the mouth closed and then again open. Next, with your arms relaxed, make slow, easy circles with your shoulders which will free up chest tensions and improve breathing and blood flow. Then softly move your abdomen forward and backward, from the front to the back and back to front, with seemingly less effort. Then move your pelvis slowly in all directions, with small, exploring ways of tucking/untucking, twisting, and translating. These easy movements can be done throughout the day whenever you feel tense.


Breath awareness is the place to start. (This means that breath control comes later.)  It is best to become friendly and comfortable with natural, easy breath without control/effort. This process is part of the Parasympathetic (PSNS) function, which is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). This regulates the body’s unconscious actions: respiration, circulation, digestion, and elimination. No thought (i.e., mind control) is needed for any of these normal body processes to happen. They are gifts. This gentle breath focus quickly and easily shifts the mind pattern to a more neutral innate rhythm (“rest & digest”). The practice is to put yourself in the most comfortable physical position with as few distractions as possible and then follow the normal breath rhythm, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. You may notice small, easy movements in the belly and chest. Note: if your structure and condition do not allow for this, then mouth easy-breathing is quite fine.

Secondly, after becoming aware of what is normal breathing, then you can learn breath control patterns. These increase the efficiency and capacity of the lungs and diaphragm in the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange in the blood. The controlled practice helps with the next level of calming the second part of the body’s normal response mechanisms, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), “fight/flight/freeze” reactions. Because of so many reasons, our bodies have become more programmed to stay in those SNS responses, creating unneeded stress-induced chemicals. This suppresses our ability to remain calm. A controlled breath practice can lead to a sense of more control in reactions to stress, which leads to relaxation, improved sleep quality, reduced blood pressure and heart rate. “Too much stress and inadequate rest are terrible for bones,” writes Dr. McCormick.

A simple, controlled breathing practice starts with inhaling and exhaling through your nostrils (as previously explained). Then in a slow manner, gradually lengthening the inhalation, become aware of the expanding movement of the lungs in the rib cage. The jaw, neck and shoulders remain soft and relaxed. The belly movement remains minor. Do three of these longer inhalations, normal exhales, with an easy breath in between each one. Then keep the inhalation normal and gradually lengthen the exhalation three times with an easy breath in between each one. If that is comfortable, then lengthen both the inhalation and exhalation. Repeat three times with an easy breath between each one. Be aware of how the inhale and exhale feel, what is moving, what is not and where. I call this round breathing – all physical parts of the breath system are round: nostrils, trachea, bronchi, lungs, diaphragm, and ribs are round. Paying attention is more important than getting it right.


In the current daily status in more areas than not, more means a lot more: more demand, more production, more choice, more money, more web friends. This generally leads to dissociation, miscommunication (or none), competition, and separation as people individually and as groups are in overload. It is in the stillness of the moment that life happens, when life itself can be experienced/felt. In other words, less is more. The following quote, from the World Sports Photography Awards website, offers a perspective from the place of still shots photography (vs video). It speaks directly to the power of stillness: “…in the moment, the full story of the journey to that moment {in the still shot photo} is encapsulated and the full potential of what happens next is contained.”  

Life happens one moment at a time.


This speaks for itself! And is the only way I know how to end any discussion of how to be with your bones, yourself, and the world.


Strong Bones & Peaceful Moments with Yoga

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