Is it Safe for Seniors with Undiagnosed Osteoporosis to do Forward Bends?

Is it Safe for Seniors with Undiagnosed Osteoporosis to do Forward Bends?


I just finished a module of my 500 hour YTT on Adaptations and we touched on seniors and osteoporosis.  My teachers said that we should assume that most seniors have some form of osteoporosis, and therefore avoid forward bending, focusing more on spinal extension in the upright position.  Taken from my manual: “There are a number of seniors with undiagnosed osteoporosis who should avoid forward bending at all.  Also, the most common area for spinal fracture in seniors is the front of the thoracic spine; rounding over in a forward bend can literally be the ‘straw that breaks their back’.”

Answer from Sherry

I so  love this question, because I have a very strong opinion about this topic.  Which is…. are we saying that our Seniors can no longer bend for fear of fracturing their spines?  How fear-mongering is that attitude?  What about if they dropped something on the floor, or have to feed their pet and bend down?  I find this “no-no-never” attitude about bending unrealistic and even counter-serving for our senior population. What we need to do is teach our Seniors how to bend safely.


Check out the videos below for ways to keep Seniors safe in forward bends.
I believe in education and empowerment of our Seniors. Yes, we must acknowledge that Osteoporosis is very common in this student community and be mindful of movements that can be precarious for this condition.  But, we have seen our share of students improve their bone density scores by practicing Yoga – so sprinkling in encouragement is just as important as offering caution.  It is a delicate balance each Teacher must learn and embrace. And I will end it with Justine’s wise words when asked “Should Seniors not bend?”…”It depends…!”

Breathing Pattern that Strengthens the Core – Teaching Moment

To keep our spines healthy, Yoga offers us forward bends and twists. But if the core is not engaged in these spinal movements, the lower back muscles can get overworked and strained causing Low Back Pain! Here are 3 breathing patterns that will encourage the core to strengthen while bending and twisting so that the low back is stabilized and protected.

Seniors: We Got your Back! Safe Yoga Bends and Twists for Senior Citizens with Justine and Paula

If you teach yoga to senior citizens, or are a senior citizen yourself, take it easy when you bend and twist. Learn how to modify specific forward bending and twisting movements to keep yoga safe and effective. Enjoy this educational conversation between two experienced yoga teachers as they discuss the pros and cons of yoga for senior citizens.

He Can’t Bend Down to Feed the Cat! How One Wife got her Husband to Try Yoga!

After watching in horror as her 72-yr old husband was trying to bend down to feed the cats, Karin knew that she had to intervene and help her husband get more limber. But, like most people who have never tried yoga… he dismissed it as “not for him”. With a little wifely encouragement and example-setting, things have changed for the better and the cats can now be fed!

Want to learn more about Teaching Yoga to Seniors?