Yoga for Bones
As per old Hindu saying, "Blessed is the Yogi who can breathe through his bones."
As per Taoist teacher Mantak Chia ,”Bones are extremely porous and are breathing”
Bone breathing is a very simple yet a very powerful yogic technique which if done properly and regularly will help strengthen the bones. This exercise is recommended for everybody especially women, as women suffer mostly with calcium loss and low bone density problems. Please note that this exercise like any other exercise is not alternative for medicine, recommended by doctor for any bone ailment you are suffering. They are just supplement to your physical health.
Its mostly based on rhythmic breathing, visualization and observation. Knowing about bones and skeleton structure of our body, at a very high level, will help us during the visualization.
About Human Skeleton and Bones-
The human skeleton consists of set of bones supported and supplemented by ligaments and muscles. The biggest bone in the body is the bone in the thigh. An average an adult human has near about 206 bones. Below is the skeleton diagram. Do not confuse yourself with all bone names. The important thing is that when you start bone breathing you should be able to kind of picturize the energy flowing through various parts of your skeleton system. Also it will benefit if you can look for two terms I will be using from below diagram, sacrum (part of vertebral column near genitals) and Ulna(base bone in hands between elbow and wrist)
The spinal cord is surrounded for most of its length by the bones (vertebrae) that form the spine. The terms we will be using from above diagrams is the sacrum (at the end of spine just above coccyx) and c7 ( at end of neck).
The center of the bone is filled with bone marrow, and this is surrounded by the hardened bone tissue itself.
There are two types of bone marrow: red marrow and yellow marrow fat cells. Red blood cell and most White blood cell rise in red marrow. Both types of bone marrow contain numerous blood vessels and capillaries. At birth, all bone marrow is red. With age, more and more of it is converted to the yellow type; only around half of adult bone marrow is red.
A matrix is a mold or structure. As per medical dictionary a bone matrix is flexible protein matrix in which minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are deposited and form bones. Bone mineral is formed from globular and plate structures. If seen through a powerful microscope it looks like this.
Advantages of Bone breathing-
Below are few advantages of bone breathing technique-
1) We draw in the prana to cleanse the marrow as a result prana is permitted to flow freely in the bone as result blood circulation becomes unblocked and flows freely
2) The blood carrying necessary nutrients and oxygen circulates freely throughout body revitalizing it.
3) Tension in muscles surrounding bones is reduced.
4) The helps remove fat from marrow. The marrow of bones such as spine, arms and legs produce red blood cells
5) It strengthens bone matrix. In bone matrix section above, I have incorporated a microscopic diagram of the cells in bone matrix. They are similar to cells in iron bar in sense that just like to convert Iron bar to magnet, we stroke the magnet from top to bottom of iron bar repeatedly, till iron bar becomes magnet. Similarly with continuous practice of bone breathing over years , it is believed that the cells in bones are directed in particular alignment which strengthens bones
Steps for bone breathing-
1) Do rhythmic pranic breathing or pranayama for at least 5 times.
2) Lie down in perfect relaxed position
3) Imagine yourself surrounded from all sides as if you are in ocean of positive energy and light. Inhale deeply and assume that the positive energy is going deep inside you through your skin pores, finger tips and toes. Hold the breath for some time.
4) During the period of retention of breath, look inside yourself and assume the body is filled with positive energy which is relaxing all your muscles and going inside your bones and strengthening them. Here visualization of human body structure (using human skeleton diagram given above) helps more. During the period of breath retention you can also assume or even actually squeeze a little your muscles and bones, wherever possible example muscles near your spine and visualize that during squeezing negative energy, muscle tension, pain and bone weakness are all going out and the bone as if a sponge is getting filled up with prana , strength and positive energy.
5) Release the breath assuming that all negative energy and pain are going out through your toes.
Procedure of breathing through your fingertips and toes, can also be understood from the diagram below which I have taken from book “The Inner Structure of Tai Chi: Mastering the Classic Forms of Tai Chi Chi Kung” by Mantak Chia and Juan Li.
After doing bone breathing please do not lift any heavy object till half an hour. Also in case you start getting any problems please discontinue.
If you have any further queries or need any kind of clarification or assistance for doing above exercise , please fill free to contact me. It will be my pleasure to help you