271: Yoga and Bone Health with Barb Elias

About 10 million people above the age of 50 in the US have osteoporosis, and 43 million have low bone mass, putting them at risk for osteoporosis. What exactly is osteoporosis and how can we improve our bone health with yoga? Barb Elias (she/her) is an expert in Bone Health and Yoga, and she has some answers.

As someone who was diagnosed with low bone density herself, Barb has had to navigate her condition with her healthcare team and has learned much from the experience. Today, she teaches yoga to students with concerns about low bone density and pelvic health. In her classes, she weaves in all of the information she is learning to create a really unique yoga practice. 

In this interview, Barb shares more about low bone density, osteopenia and osteoporosis, who it can affect, and what she discovered in her own research. She explains some of the strength practices she has found to be effective for her and talks about the importance of rest in bone health. Find out how we can teach yoga in a way that is safe for these students and in a way that doesn’t promote fear around movement, but instead offers ways to strengthen.

Key Takeaways:

[3:22] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Barb Elias.

[6:42] How did Barb get into studying bone health and yoga?

“The way our bodies process and use calcium relates to the energy cycle, to our breath. Every single time we take a breath, we use calcium. Calcium is part of the whole breathing complex.” ~ Barb Elias

[8:51] What did it feel like for Barb when she was diagnosed with low bone density?

[11:48] What did Barb discover in her research about movement, bone density, and how yoga could support her in this.

“Parties that have strong muscles have strong bones because muscles or what reminds the bones to build and grow and remodel.” ~ Barb Elias

[17:17] What are some of the contributing factors for Barb’s condition with low bone density?

[19:57] What are some strength practices that Barb has found to be effective that do not involve going to the gym?

“The stronger I get in my body, The stronger I feel emotionally.” ~ Barb Elias

[26:22] Shannon pops in with a quick message about creating a membership and how OfferingTree can support you in that.

[29:23] Why is rest important to bone health?

[33:33] What kind of progress did Barb see in the work she was doing personally to improve bone health?

“Coming into menopause because of the changes in our hormones, for women especially, the degree of loss can really ramp up, up to 8% of our bones a year.” ~ Barb Elias

[36:52] Barb shares some surprising statistics about common bone health diagnoses and how that has changed how she leads her classes.

[43:53] What are some changes Barb makes when doing a forward fold?

[47:12] What is Barb’s advice to people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and think they shouldn’t move out of fear of causing a microfracture?


Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.

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