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.
The 12-minute Series 1 DVD that was proven successful in our trial presents each of the 12 poses for 30 seconds, with instruction. We asked participants 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:
Detailed comparison: Before starting yoga (dark grey) vs. after two years practicing the 12-minute DVD daily(light grey):
We compared the change in bone mineral density measured in the two years prior to beginning the yoga program (on the Series 1 DVD) with the same change in the two years after practicing the yoga program on 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. Thus the yoga in the Series 1 DVD, done daily for two years, has been shown to build bone significantly in the spine and the femur, the two most frequent sites of fracture.
The Series 1 DVD may be purchased through PayPal on the bottom of the home page of this website. The entire contents of the Series 1 DVD have also been made available (for free) on YouTube.
The content of the Series 1 DVD may be streamed via YouTube:
Second Series of poses:
The poses in the Second Series have not yet been verified; however, they were constructed on the same principles as those in Series 1, and they include a pose for the wrists. The wrists were not addressed in the Series 1. Our current study, the Yoga vs. Osteoporosis Dose-Response, is examining the effectiveness of the Second Series poses.
The Second Series DVD, created by Dr. Fishman and Carrie Owerko, may be purchased on the Store Page of this website.
Many of the poses in Series 1 and Series 2 are excerpted from our books, Yoga for Arthritis (W.W. Norton, 2008), and Yoga for Osteoporosis (W.W. Norton, 2009). Many of the poses and adaptations here reflect the work of B.K.S. Iyengar and, to a lesser extent, that of 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.
Our Yoga vs. Osteoporosis Dose-Response Study is currently underway. This dose -response study, seeks to establish a correlation between how often and how vigorously one does the yoga, with the amount their bones are strengthened. As part of this study, participants practice with a yoga teacher certified in our method at least once every two weeks to review the poses. The teachers will also assess how much effort the participant is evincing in their yoga practice. After two years we will again compare the amount and quality of yoga (and effort) with the gains in bone mineral density.
Click HERE for information about joining the Dose-Response Study.
As part of the Dose-Response Study, Liz Larson and I teach “Yoga vs. Osteoporosis” classes each Tuesday night at 5:30 – 6:30 PM (ET). If you are accepted to the Dose-Response Study, these classes are free for study participants in good standing (i.e. consistently entering weekly data about their yoga practice using our online form).
These classes are also open to the general public and cost $35 per class. To sign up for class Click Here
1. When does the Yoga vs. Osteoporosis Dose-Response study start and end?
The study has already begun. It is on-going with no set closing date at this time.
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 Application Form and lab tests: CLICK HERE
Arrange to meet with certified yoga teacher every other week for two years (or take my Tuesday class on Zoom at 5:30 PM ET).
Track progress weekly using the online form which we will provide to you after you are accepted into the study. Please note that data must be entered on a weekly basis using our form. Other forms of record-keeping are not acceptable. You must use the form that we provide to you. If data is not entered on a regular and consistent basis, then participants may be deemed inactive and removed from the study, and from Dr. Fishman’s weekly classes.
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. You are required to meet with them every other week in-person or online. Costs vary per teacher. Please contact the teacher directly to learn about their rates and times. Alternatively, you can come to my Tuesday class on Zoom at 5:30 PM ET, which is free for study participants in good standing.
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 vs. 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.
Click HERE to register and pay 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.
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 verified. 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.
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 30-40 seconds for each pose. For poses with two sides, hold for 30-40 seconds on each side. If 30 seconds seems too long, then aim for 12 seconds until you are strong enough to hold longer.
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.
Please note: This is a large class. Feel free to move in and out of the poses as needed while Dr. Fishman is giving feedback to the other class members. You do NOT need to hold a pose for the entire duration of the feedback period.
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.