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June 19, 2010



Thanks for this post! I'm going to send a link to my [osteopenic] mom. I also just picked up an old copy of a book called Yoga Builds Bones by Jan Maddern. I notice that it is out of print, but there's another book called Yoga for Healthy Bones by Linda Sparrowe that might make a good substitute.

I think may make copies of Maddern's book so that I can send it to my mom. If I end up doing that then I'd be happy to send you a copy, too. I'm also on the lookout for a good basic yoga DVD for my mom (and for me, since I won't have time to attend yoga class during my internship!).


Oh, thank you, HHL! This is such exciting news! (must have missed your March post but just read that one too.) I have osteopenia and have just started back into yoga after a 30-some-year hiatus. It's so discouraging to see how much flexibility and strength I've lost. Of course I seem to now have scoliosis and an asymmetric pelvis, which makes things even more of a challenge, but I've read some reports that yoga can help with these issues too. I'm going to look into joining the study.


P.S. So glad you're back from vacation and in good blogging form again.

raye lankford

Hi, thanks for the mention. And I just wanted to let you know that I received my full DEXA print out via snail mail, and it turns out my BMD gains in my spine were even greater than I originally thought. In L2 I gained .90 points! In L1, +.60. Needless to say, I am thrilled. My overall spine score appears lower because I did lose some density in L4 -- which I think has to do with the fact that I stopped doing long distance running once I was diagnosed with osteo. You can see the full scores here:

To MG, I have the Linda Sparrowe book. It's quite good, but the poses for someone with osteoporosis pretty much amount to reclining poses on the floor. I didn't find it challenging enough for me, but I'm fairly athletic. Depending on your mom's age and fitness level, it might be appropriate. It's certainly an approachable format. But I think I prefer Dr. Fishman's book. It doesn't have that feeling of "everyone else gets to do the fun stuff, and I'm over here with my sack of rocks." The poses are the same for everyone, it's just they have appropriate modifications.

The Healthy Librarian

MG: Good luck with your internship and congrats on your graduation!! You're right--I'm sure you'll be practicing yoga at home. I'll ask one of my yoga instructors who is trained as a yoga therapist, and studies with a physical therapist yoga teacher (great combo) if she has a basic DVD she'd recommend for your mom.

Betsy: Thanks for writing. Go easy on yourself since you've had such a long hiatus. Take easier classes at first. I noticed huge improvements in my flexibility & ability to do poses when I went from practicing once/week or every other week to 2 or 3 times a week.

Raye: Thanks for the update and for sharing your DEXA scores. Excellent blog. So glad that I heard from you soon after discovering Dr. Fishman's study. Do you know if Phase 2 is still open to participants?

raye lankford

Hey, Healthy Librarian: Why don't you contact Dr. Fishman and ask? [email protected] He's a very approachable guy. Or you could just do the poses from the website without necessarily getting in the program. Although, if you're in the program, there is the benefit of the little 12 minute DVD they send you with someone talking you through all the poses.

One thing I'd recommend: take a print out of the poses with their modifications to a certified yoga instructor so they can help you with your form. We just had a yoga session in Dr. Fishman's office (just two participants and a teacher), and I learned I was doing so many things incorrectly. Having gotten those corrections has made the yoga practice so much more challenging this week.

If someone doesn't have the money for a private session with an instructor, it's not like they wouldn't see results. I've been doing it on my own since October, and as mentioned my DEXA results were fantastic. But working with the instructor made me realize how "off" my form is on my left side. Could this be the reason for my sluggish scores on that hip?

@Betsy: I hear you on the loss of flexibility. I was a dancer in my youth (hey, lemme just put my leg behind my head, okay?), and it has been a very humbling experience doing yoga again. I just do what I can do and try not to compare and despair.


I just heard back from Dr. Fishman. They are still accepting participants, and I'm going to be one!

@Raye, thanks for the encouragement! Another reason I'm so excited by this post is the link to your blog, which I didn't know about before. Thank you so much for all your work on this topic and all the info you've gathered there. I'm going to follow your recommendation to get help with my form from a yoga instructor. I think I know just the one: a scientist/researcher/yoga instructor at WVU who published a study about yoga for back problems, and as I recall she was doing Iyengar yoga. I started doing yoga with Jess Stearn's Yoga, Youth & Reincarnation, when I was a teenager in the late 60s/early 70s, so for sure my form leaves a lot to be desired. For example, I don't think I ever realized I was supposed to be using muscles in my legs during poses like The Triangle until I read your blog and checked out the 12 poses study. Thanks!

raye lankford

Yay, Betsy! I so thrilled for you! Just keep going, and if you ever need encouragement just drop me a line.


It was such a coincidence that you were writing about osteop because I had just that week discovered the NOF site and lucked upon Raye Lankford's success story with Fishman's yoga. And then the next day, you wrote about it. It was a wonderful post and Raye is a hoot! I love her website too.

I was also thinking about the same question you posed about if practicing in regular yoga classes might have the same benefits as Fishman's 12. I got his book last night at Dartmouth Bookstore, so I'll check it out. I signed up for the study. I have to get 3 of the tests done, but all else is current.


And I just heard back from Dr. Fishman too, and I am going to be a willing participant; The study is still open as of October 2011. Very interested in the comments about ensuring that the poses are being done properly, and suspect I "take the path of least resistance".

Sarah in Chicago

Are you able to share the proportions you used for this recipe: My green smoothie made with kale or chard, apple, grapefruit, berries, and carrots? Thank you!

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