International Yoga Day: Yoga Asanas And Diet For Strong Bones

It is International Yoga Day today. It is celebrated every year on 21st June, since 2015. Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice of connecting mind and body. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuji’, meaning ‘union’ or a ‘yoke’. Yoga comprises various breathing exercises, meditation and poses or asanas to reduce stress and promote an active lifestyle. The fitness activity may have originated in India, but many people abroad are now going ga ga about Yoga. They have also come up with their own renditions of the same like goat yoga, aerial yoga and beer yoga!

Yoga has been liked with various health benefits, it is known to promote weight loss, improve flexibility, and strength and alleviate body and joint pain. If you are ailing with weak bones and the pain is getting unbearable, you must seek a doctor and incorporate a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet. Additionally, with the help of a certified yoga expert, you can perhaps even include some fruitful yoga poses in your routine.  Yoga should also be complemented with healthy diet, if you wish to see results. 

If the pain is mild and occasional, you can start with these easy poses.  

Virasana (Hero Pose): Virasana or the ‘Hero Pose’ is the basic kneeling asana. Here you have to sit down on the floor with your back straight, your legs kneeled and your palms crossed in front of your abdomen. This is one of the basic, starting exercises.  

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose): Also called the butterfly pose, it is again ideal for beginners. You have to begin by being seated on the floor, then bend your knees wide out to the sides, then touch the soles of your feet together. Your feet should be about 1-2 feet in front of you. Now with your hands, cup the ankles from beneath and take deep breaths with your spine straight.  

Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend): For this position, you have to begin in a seated position, then extend one of your legs, say right leg, long. Meanwhile, your left leg should be inside your right thigh. Now tent your fingertips on either side of your right leg, and simultaneously, twist your torso to the right too. Practice deep breathing.

Diet For Stronger Bones  

Osteoporosis, arthritis and many more bone-related ailments are becoming increasingly common. The sedentary lifestyle has taken a toll on the bones. It is best to eat foods that are replete with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and phosphorous.  

Vitamin D helps absorption of calcium, and calcium intake can just not be neglected when talking about bone health. They make up your bones, and lack of calcium makes your bones brittle and weak increasing the risk of fractures High calcium foods include dairy like milk, paneer, cheese. Eggs, tofu, oranges, beans, lentils and leafy greens are also good sources of calcium. 

Eat lots of vegetables, and vitamin C present in veggies help combat the oxidative stress on bones, preventing them from damage. A high intake of green and yellow vegetables has also been linked to increased bone mineralization by studies.

Protein is also very essential for strong bones, about 50 percent of your bones are made up of protein after all. Protein also helps the absorption of calcium. So do not forget your dals, paneer, nuts and seeds like chia, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds. Did you know these seeds have a good amount of calcium too.

Along with vitamin D, you should also be mindful of your vitamin K intake. It helps bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation. This ensures minimum calcium loss from bones, which in fact, is an ongoing process. 

The two most common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 can be found in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut happen to contain MK-7.

Happy International Yoga Day everyone.