Bones are weakened to the breaking point by hereditary, hormonal, metabolic and nutritional factors. Exercise plays an inestimably large part in our bones’ strength and even their shape. Although they are sometimes necessary, the medications have serious side-effects. We recommend our yoga program, that can be done safely by even quite debilitated people. The peer-reviewed published results of 741 patients followed over a 10 year period show that this yoga improves bone mineral density in every-two-year follow-up studies.
The 12-minute DVD that now has been proven successful in our trial presents each of the 12 poses for 30 seconds, with instruction. We asked people to also obtain spine and hip X-rays before beginning the study, and after two years doing the yoga. Not everyone did, but in more than 100,000 hours of people doing the DVD, 83% with osteoporosis, there are no detected or reported fractures to date. This program is effective in people of all ages, with or without osteopenia or osteoporosis.
In the two years before starting yoga, patients lost bone mineral density in spine, hip and femur (left oval), but after two years of yoga, they gained in all three categories (right oval).
The study showed significant improvement in bone mineral density in the spine and femur. In 2 out of three measures, the hip was also significantly strengthened. Here are the graphical representations of the improvements on two of the three statistical measures:
Many of these poses are excerpted from our books, Yoga for Arthritis, WW Norton 2008, and Yoga for Osteoporosis W.W. Norton, Published 2009. Many of the poses and adaptations here reflect the work of B.K.S. Iyengar and to a lesser extent John Friend. They would not be here but for the generous and creative work of co-author Ellen Saltonstall, and the yogi-models Sally Hess, Nikki Marshall, and Eric Small.
We compared the change in bone mineral density measured in the two years prior to beginning the yoga program (on the DVD) with the same change in the two years after beginning the DVD. Note that the average values prior to starting the study were all negative, and the average values after two years of yoga were all positive. The DVD may be purchased through PayPal on the bottom of the home page of this website, and is free to all entering our current study. The entire DVD has also been made available (for free) on You Tube:
The content of the DVD is streaming at You tube.
Second Series of poses:
The poses of the Second Series are not yet proven to work. They are in the process of getting tested. However they were constructed on the same principles as the prove first series, and include work on the wrists, which are omitted from the First Series. Here they are in still-life form. They are also available in the DVD done by Dr. Fishman and Carrie Owerko which can be purchased at the “store” on this website.
Detailed comparison: Before starting yoga (dark grey) vs. after two years practicing the 12-minute DVD daily(light grey):
The study shows that the yoga in the DVD, done daily for two years, actually builds bone significantly in the spine and the femur, the two most frequent sites of fracture. We have now begun a second “dose – response” study, matching how often and how vigorously one does the yoga with the amount their bones are strengthened. In this study people will go to a yoga teacher certified in our method at least once each two weeks to grade the quantity and quality of their yoga. After two years we will again compare the amount and quality of yoga with the gains in bone mineral density. We are conducting additional trainings this year, but at present if none of the certified teachers are accessible to you, the study is also feasible through Skyping with any of the teachers. The teachers are listed by state. Only the senior teachers whose names appear in bold are able to teach certifying courses for other teachers, but every certified teacher listed can teach the osteoporosis protocol to students.
In addition, Liz Larson and I teach “Yoga vs. Osteoporosis” classes each Tuesday night at 5:30 – 6:30 (ET). If you enrolling in our new study, these classes are free. For more information Click Here
At the bottom of the chart, below the list of certified teachers are teachers who have taken the course, passed the tests, but do not have five years of teaching experience at this point. We use the name ‘Registered’ to group them. Their names will be added to the certified teachers’ list once their fifth year of teaching is completed.
1. When does the study start and end?
The study has already begun, with no known closing date.
2. What is required of me to be in the study?
Two DEXA Scans:
- One DEXA scan done within six months of starting the study.
- One or more DEXA scans before that. Usually that means two years earlier, but sometimes it is only one year, and sometimes it is three or four or more years.
Completed Induction Form: CLICK HERE
Arrange to meet with certified yoga teacher every other week for two years: The state-by-state listing of certified teachers can be found Here
Track progress online. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and email@example.com for questions.
3. Do I need to work with a certified teacher every other week? What is the cost?
You can work with a teacher for 30 min or 60min. Yes, please find a list of certified teachers here. You are required to meet with them every other week in person or via Skype. Costs vary per teacher. You can also come to Liz Larson’s and my every-Tuesday-night class, which is free for study participants. Please contact the teacher directly to learn about their rates and times.
4. Why must participants pay for the sessions in a study?
This is an unfunded study. The certified yoga teachers should be paid for their work. You and the certified teacher can arrange to your liking. You will be getting teaching that is of proven value. If you arrange to have several people form a class, cost will go down accordingly.
5. When does the study officially begin for me? Does it start after my first session with the certified teacher?
6. Do I need both DEXA scans and labs to join the study?
Not necessarily , you do need a DEXA scan from the past 6 months, and another one from earlier in your life, and if you have either osteopenia or osteoporosis, you need the blood and urine tests. If you do not have either osteopenia or osteoporosis, you do not need the blood or urine tests. If any of the tests are abnormal, then you must see the appropriate specialist(s) and correct the value(s) before entering the study. In any event, you need to have a DEXA scan again after 24 months of practicing the Yoga for Osteoporosis poses daily.
General information about Dr. Fishman’s Weekly Yoga vs. Osteoporosis Classes Class takes place on Tuesdays on Zoom at 5:30 PM ET. Each class is $35. Link to register for class: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_S3XYiA3YTiqExNSil4bGZw Once you’ve registered for class, Zoom will send you two automated messages containing the link that you will use to login to class. The first of these messages will arrive 24 hours before class. The second will arrive via email one hour before class begins. The Three Series: Each class focuses on one of the three series.
Series 1 is the most popular of the three series and it was the focus of Dr. Fishman’s earlier studies examining the effects of yoga on osteoporosis. The other two series are based on the same principles as the first, but have not yet been shown to work. Series 3 is the most advanced of the three series. If you are new to yoga, the best class to start with is a Series 1 class. Please scroll down to see images of the poses in each of the three series. Each class focuses on one of the three series. During class, we’ll go over the beginner, intermediate, and classical versions of each of the 12 poses in that particular series. If you normally work at the beginner level, then you’ll simply repeat the beginner version of the pose, while we present the more advanced versions. For practice on your own, aim to practice daily with a hold time of 30 seconds for each pose. For poses with two sides, hold for 30 seconds on each side. If 30 seconds seems too long, then aim for 12 seconds until you are strong enough to hold longer. Upcoming
Weekly Class Schedule (Tuesdays at 5:30 PM ET on Zoom): Tuesday, July 13 Series 1 Tuesday, July 20 Series 3 Tuesday, July 27 Series 1 Tuesday, August 3 Series 2 Tuesday, August 10 Series 1 Tuesday, August 17 Series 3 Tuesday, August 24 Series 1 Tuesday, August 31 Series 2 Series 1 is taught twice per month in alternating weeks. Logistics: During the class you will have the option to turn your camera on or off. It is up to you if you would like to be seen. Please note that the class is recorded. The Gallery View portion of the class is not recorded; however, if a participant volunteers to be “spotlit,” then they will be recorded. Sometimes participants like to volunteer to be spotlit so that Dr. Fishman can give them detailed individual feedback. He also uses the Gallery mode to give quick feedback to those participants who have their cameras on. Again, it is completely up to you to decide if you’d like to enable your camera.
While Dr. Fishman is teaching, we request that everyone mute their microphones to eliminate feedback. Depending on time, there may be an opportunity before class to ask Dr. Fishman questions. Props: During class, it would be helpful to have the following props nearby if you have them available: Chair without arms (such as a folding chair or dining room chair), yoga mat, yoga blocks, folded blanket, and a yoga strap or belt If you could set up so that you have a wall behind you to use as a support, that would also be helpful. Looking forward to seeing you in class! Series 1 The poses should be done daily, and held for at least 30 seconds, but no more than 72 seconds, the time at which bone-making cells will fall into a refractory period. Caution: with all poses remember not to round the spine as you go into and out of the poses, and within the poses themselves. Vriksasana (Tree Pose). Knee is above or below the knee. It is NOT on the knee.
Classical Beginner Intermediate
Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) Beginner Intermediate (wall version) Classical
Parsvakonasana (Side angle pose) Beginner Intermediate (seated version) Classical
Parivrtta Trikonasana (Twisted or Revolved Triangle) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Salabhasana (Locust pose) – Beginner & Intermediate (lift palms for intermediate) Classical
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge) Beginner to Intermediate: Practice Rising up from block Classical
Supta Padangusthasana I (SP1 or Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose I) N.B. The seated versions have the potential to be dangerous. Keep the back straight and against the back of the chair. Do NOT round the back. Beginner Two Intermediate Versions Classical Version
Supta Padangusthasana II (SP2 or Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose II) N.B. The seated versions have the potential to be dangerous. Keep the back straight and against the back of the chair. Do NOT round the back. Beginner Intermediate (belt version) Classical
Marichyasana III (Pose dedicated to the Sage Marichi) (Seated Twist) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Ardha Matsyendrasana I (Half Lord of the Fishes) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Series 2 The poses should be done daily, and held for at least 30 seconds, but no more than 72 seconds, the time at which bone-making cells will fall into a refractory period. Caution: with all poses do NOT round the spine as you go into and out of the poses, and within the poses themselves. Tadasana (Mountain) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Utkatasana (Chair Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1) Beginner Alternate Beginner Version Classical Rise up to move toward Intermediate
Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Ustrasana (Camel Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Vasisthasana (Side Plank) Beginner Intermediate Classical Dandasana (Staff Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Urdhva Mukha Paschimottansana – Do not round spine! Keep sacrum on floor. Beginner & Intermediate Classical The difference between the two is a question of degree.
Arm Threading Beginner at wall Beginner Twist-Front View Beginner Twist-Back View Intermediate (for Classical, interdigitate fully) Intermediate /Classical Step 1 Step 2
Bharadvajasana (Seated Twist) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Abdomen Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
Series 3 The poses should be done daily, and held for at least 30 seconds, but no more than 72 seconds, the time at which bone-making cells will fall into a refractory period. Caution: with all poses remember not to round the spine as you go into and out of the poses, and within the poses themselves.
1. PARTIAL Parsvottanasana (Partial Pyramid Pose). It does NOT include the deep forward bend traditionally associated with the pose. Beginner Hand position for Intermediate Hand position for Classical
2. Natarajasana (Dancer Pose) Beginner Intermediate Classical
3. Raja Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose). Do NOT fold forward. Beginner versions Intermediate Moving Toward Classical
4. Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3) Beginner: Intermediate: Classical:
5. Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved half moon pose) Beginner version 1 Beginner Version 2 Intermediate Classical
6. Parivritta Parsvakonasana (Revolved side angle) Beginner – Chair Beginner – Kneeling Classical
7. Tabletop (aka Altar pose). Beginner Intermediate (rise up from block) Classical
8. Phalakasana FULL Plank. BOTH hands (or forearms) on the floor. Beginner (on chair or wall) Intermediate Classical
9. Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Supine Hand-to-big-toe pose 1 aka SP1) N.B. The seated versions have the potential to be dangerous. Keep the spine straight and against the back of the chair. Do NOT round the spine. Beginner – Chair. Keep the spine straight! Two intermediate versions Classical
10. Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Supine Hand-to-big toe pose 2 aka SP2) N.B. The seated versions have the potential to be dangerous. Keep the spine straight and against the back of the chair. Do NOT round the spine. Beginner Intermediate Classical
11. Gomukhasana (Cow pose). Can also incorporate the Arm Threading from Series 2 instead of the traditional arms. Beginner Intermediate Classical (seated on floor instead of on block)
Savasana (Rest Pose). Not pictured. Class takes place on Tuesdays on Zoom at 5:30 PM ET. Each class is $35. Link to register for class:
Once you’ve registered for class, Zoom will send you two automated messages containing the link that you will use to login to class. The first of these messages will arrive 24 hours before class. The second will arrive via email one hour before class begins.