There are numerous benefits which are associated with practice of yoga. Generally, they are in for better blood circulation, flexibility, digestion & immunity. Even other benefits like better postures, better emotional health are also mentioned.
Most of these benefits are from experience of practitioners and few are well tested or researched. Quite understandably so. It doesn’t pay well to research on effects of yoga practice :) . Maybe, with announcement of international yoga day, over time this will change.
Yoga helps in Osteoporosis
Here is the heart warming news, there is a recent properly conducted research done by Dr. Loren M. Fishman on effects of yoga practice on bone density.You can read the detailed interview here (for short snippet, keep reading :)
Bone density, especially in females, is a cause of concern. If not taken care of, reducing bone density can lead to osteopenia or worse osteoporosis.
Normally, as treatment, to counter bone density loss, weight lifting along with prescription drugs are prescribed. But weight training is not what everyone is comfortable with. There are numerous can be due to any of reasons, like, travel to gym, time constraints, or plain dislike for weight training.
Yoga(asana practice) is different in this aspect, for simple practice comprising of few asana, you can learn it from a competent teacher and then all you need is little space at any ventilated corner of home to practice. Due to its nature of slow & controlled movements, it can be done easily by anyone. Here at Sciatica.org, all the 12 poses which help in bone density are listed along with visual to understand them.
What Dr. Fishman said:
Dr. Fishman, conducted this study over a period of decade on 741 candidates. the researchers collected data at the start of the study on the participants’ bone density measurements, blood and urine chemistry and X-rays of their spines and hips. they were each given a DVD of the 12 yoga poses used in the pilot study and an online program in which to record what they did and how often. and then data was collected over time of research. in many candidates bone density showed improvement over time. Even if bone density did not increase, improvements in posture and balance that can accrue from the practice of yoga can be protective.