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Welcome to lesson six of your email course, Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis.

Today’s lesson is on yoga and osteoporosis, specifically how to practice safe yoga for bone health.

The exercise is a 20-minute Hatha Yoga routine you can follow. It is a sample from my Hatha Yoga for Osteoporosis video series.

Yoga and Osteoporosis

More and more people are practicing yoga because of its health benefits. I became a Certified Yoga Instructor in 2011. Over the past two decades, I have attended many yoga classes across Canada and the United States.

Unfortunately, my experience has been that many yoga instructors (and practitioners) are not familiar with the challenges presented by osteoporosis, osteopenia, and low bone density. 

As a result, practitioners put themselves at an elevated risk of a fracture during their practice. Instructors mean well, but most need to learn better.

My Yoga Journey

Over the years, I have noticed that there are as many different styles of yoga as there are styles of yoga teachers.

As a young physical therapist, I didn’t think about the poses presented during a class. But once I considered yoga classes for people with osteoporosis or low bone density, my life changed. I knew I had to become a yoga instructor to understand what yoga teachers were learning. 

How much knowledge of anatomy and physiology do they receive? 
Are they being taught about osteoporosis?

Most of my classmates were falling asleep during the little bit of anatomy that we did have. I did my training through a reputable center in Canada’s capital city. One of the best teachers included nothing about osteoporosis in her Yoga teacher training classes.

When I asked my teacher what she knew about osteoporosis, she and her instructor (a very experienced teacher visiting from New York City) beautifully defined the contraindications for osteoarthritis.

They confused osteoarthritis with osteoporosis. After all, both conditions start with ‘osteo’. 

Combined, these two experienced Yoga instructors had taught thousands of older adults. They were kind and caring and knew how to teach every possible pose, but neither understood the forces the yoga poses place on the human body. They unknowingly increased the risk of compression fractures in their class participants.

The fact that these two highly regarded instructors knew nothing about osteoporosis motivated me to write and publish my second book, Yoga for Better Bones.

yoga and osteoporosis melioguide

Yoga for Better Bones

My goal is not to scare people away from yoga but to educate them so that they can practice yoga without the fear of fracture. That is why I wrote Yoga for Better Bones.

Yoga for Better Bones will provide you with the following:

  • Education on anatomy and movements related to yoga
  • How to use yoga to improve bone health 
  • How to adjust your poses to stay fracture-free
  • Knowing which yoga poses are best avoided

Yoga for Better Bones is available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats.

I have a page dedicated to Yoga for Better Bones, if you want to learn more.

Yoga for Better Bones | Yoga and Osteoporosis Exercise

Five + Tips on Yoga and Osteoporosis

In this video, I cover five tips (plus a bonus one at the end) for you to consider if you practice yoga.

Get all the benefits of a Yoga practice without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Certain Poses Can Increase Your Fracture Risk

As bone density decreases the risk of fracture increases. This fracture risk is increased even further when you practice movements that cause you to go into forward flexion.

Be careful when you are doing your yoga poses and make sure your posture and alignment are kept in good form

Choose a Yoga Instructor Who Knows About Osteoporosis

I encourage you to find an instructor who is familiar with osteoporosis and knows how to monitor you and suggest modifications. Yoga for Better Bones will empower you to understand osteoporosis and filter for yoga teachers who know their stuff.

Engage Your Postural Muscles

Make your deep postural muscles part of your yoga program! I have a free, comprehensive guide to perfect posture.

Today's Yoga Routine

I created this 20-minute Hatha Yoga sampler for individuals with osteoporosis, osteopenia, and low bone density.

It is a short sample from my Hatha Yoga for Osteoporosis video series I, Active Level.

Suggested Readings

Here are two additional blog posts I have published on yoga and osteoporosis that you might find interesting:

Tomorrow’s Lesson

Tomorrow you will receive your final lesson in this course — lesson 7 will cover Core Strength and Osteoporosis.


July 26, 2018 at 3:17pm

Suzanne McGavin

Hi Margaret
Could you recommend a yoga instructor in West end Ottawa that has some knowledge of osteoporosis.

August 6, 2018 at 7:58pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Suzanne, Unfortunately I do not know of one. Ask them their knowledge of osteoporosis. Ask them to define osteoporosis and then ask them if they know what is contraindicated for individuals with osteoporosis. Better safe than sorry. An instructor who is knowledgable in the area will be more than happy to be asked these questions and will thank you for looking after yourself. If in doubt provide them with a copy of my book Yoga for Better Bones.
Keep well,

October 29, 2018 at 1:41pm

Doreen Child

I am wondering if hula hooping would be a safe and acceptable exercise for osteopenia/osteoporosis?

October 29, 2018 at 3:20pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Doreen, Hula hooping would be a fun warm up to balance or strength training. If it gets you moving it is a great start but do not rely on it for building your bones, balance or strength or flexibility.

September 5, 2019 at 2:37pm

marcia randall debard

Perhaps you might consider offering a yoga teacher certification program that focuses on yoga for healthy bones -- I've been searching online and there is NOTHING being offered in this area. No wonder yoga teachers are uninformed, and may risk putting their yogis in jeopardy. Books are great but nothing beats an actual in-person learning experience! Having your program certificated would not only give teachers continuing ed credits but more important, would give yoga students the confidence that their teacher is properly trained to guide them.

September 8, 2019 at 2:59pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Marcia, It is a great idea! I currently teach a 2 hour live course locally. Despite the studio owner strongly encouraging attendance, it is even hard to get all the Yoga teachers from the studio to attend. If you know how to get a Yoga program certified please feel free to guide me. We have lots of projects on the burner right now but it is one I would be happy to add to the list. Thank you for the great suggestion.

August 3, 2020 at 8:07am


Hi Margaret, I love your online videos. Can you recommend a teacher I can work with in London? I have been recently diagnosed with borderline osteoporosis ( am postmenopausal)

August 3, 2020 at 10:59am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Anne. Thanks for your kind comments. We do not have a list of yoga instructors that we can recommend. Sorry.

August 18, 2020 at 7:15pm

Ann Jaeckel

I have been doing TaiChi for about 18 years but recently, after a bone density scan, I was told I had osteoporosis in my right hip. There are several forward bends in the set of TaiChi and I was wondering how I would modify these. I bought your book and some weights etc., and I am doing the exercises you recommend. I am trying to avoid taking biosulphonites by doing as much weight bearing exercise I can and by eating foods containing calcium and Vit.K.

August 18, 2020 at 8:09pm

Richard Martin replies

Hi Ann. Thanks for contacting us. You should take a look at Margaret's Tai Chi routine. She takes into account bone health and avoids flexion positions.

December 7, 2020 at 3:28pm

Bonnie Wiley

I read the question and answer about hula hooping for osteoporosis. I have a Golds Gym weighted hula hoop. Won’t that make a difference? It has weights in the hoop.

December 12, 2020 at 6:13am

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Bonnie, A client of mine has been using her weighted hula hoop as a mode of exercise during Covid restrictions. When she came for a session recently I asked her to bring it along. She had done a lot of hula hooping as a young girl and was able to keep the hoop up for well over 5 minutes. I was impressed! I was also surprised at how little movement she was generating in her body to do it it so well.
I would certainly agree that it strengthens deep core musculature, provides a light cardiovascular workout, provides good mobility to the femoral/acetabular joints (hips) as the pelvis rotates over the femurs but I am doubtful that it would have a significant impact on your bones. Until we have a study that proves it is beneficial I like to stick with what has been proven - with brisk walking (jogging or running) and lifting moderate to heavy loads. You can certainly use it as a warm-up exercise and to impress your friends and family. Movement should bring joy and so if this gets you to the next step of strength training I encourage you to do it.
Wishing you all the best, Margaret

November 22, 2021 at 12:37pm


It sounds like toe touching should not be done? I have been doing 5 each morning as part of my routine when I first get out of bed, should I not do these? Thanks....

November 22, 2021 at 3:12pm

Richard Martin replies

Margaret recommends you pay close attention to your form. This is covered in details in her books, Yoga for Better Bones and Exercise for Better Bones.

March 8, 2022 at 7:17pm

Marie Reid

'''Should roll back's and 100's be avoided in pilates. Are there any other movements in pilates that should be avoided. I have been doing pilates for 30 years. Should I be shovelling snow? My bone density is around -3.8. My doctor recommends prolia but I am concerned about all the side effects. I was of Fosovane for 30 years without a break.but .came off of it last July because of jaw problems. Thanks so much for replying.

March 9, 2022 at 7:50am

Richard Martin replies

Margaret does not provide medical advice without a consultation. You can learn about her coaching service here: