Eve Grzybowski

Yoga Suits Her

I’ve been teaching yoga since 1980.  A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher.  What does that mean?  What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.

Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar

Current Post

Osteoporosis: Is Yoga Helpful?

A woman in Downward Facing Dog Pose.

Oh no! Osteoporosis!

It’s taken me more than a year to write about being diagnosed with osteoporosis. I don’t know why it’s taken so long. Perhaps there’s a touch of denial? But the truth is, I have been on medication for it for the last six months.

In the past I’ve written several articles regarding my journey with osteoarthritis and my subsequent hip replacements. Besides these articles, I’ve written about the hysterectomy I underwent in 2006. Interestingly, these two topics have been among my most popular posts.

So, here’s the deal, as President Biden says…. On Easter Sunday 2020, I was riding my bicycle over some slippery gravel, slid and fell on my wrist and arm. The next morning my hand and wrist was one and a half times bigger than when I went to bed. After many tests and images–one of them a bone density test–it was determined that I had ‘only a very bad sprain’.

That was the positive side of my diagnosis. I was told that in six or eight weeks, I would be good as new, which turned out to be mostly true. However, the bone density test revealed that I had osteoporosis.

What is it?

Osteoporosis, as distinct from osteoarthritis, is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. They can become so porous that they are sometimes described as honey-combed.
Normally the body is constantly absorbing and replacing bone tissue, but with osteoporosis new bone creation doesn’t keep up with old bone removal.
Risk factors that contribute to the condition are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, familial tendency, low vitamin D levels, inadequate intake of calcium, low body weight, physical inactivity and a history of falls.
The danger with osteoporosis is that many people have no symptoms until they have a bone fracture.
Treatment includes medication, a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise to help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.
A calcium-rich diet is vital, plus a sensible amount of sunshine to get Vitamin D, as well as regular weight-bearing and movement exercise.
It’s a good idea for women when they enter menopause to undergo a bone density test because their oestrogen levels are dropping. Oestrogen is the hormone that promotes osteoblasts, the cells that promote bone. When oestrogen is lacking, the osteoblasts can’t produces bone. If you have the test, you will have a baseline to compare with any future losses of bone.

Is yoga helpful?

Yoga teacher, Maria Kirsten, has said in advising about how much exercise and weight-bearing is needed, ‘do a little a lot’. Say, 20 minutes a day of yoga…doing strong standing poses to strengthen the legs and weight-bearing on hands, wrists and arms, if possible. Downward-facing dog pose as pictured in the image above is a winner. It can be done with hands on a chair if wrists are weak or even on forearms. Several repetitions rather than long holding, or done by moving with the breath from cat pose to dog pose.
There are so many ways that we can take the body through movement in yoga, which is so good for bones, especially if you add resistance. Working with resistance challenges you and can help maintain the bone you have and possibly even build it up.
Practicing yoga balancing poses will foster strength and, just as importantly, will foster confidence.  This will help reduce the danger of falling.
Osteoporosis can be helped by yoga, but as just one of many possible strings for the bow. Judicious use of weights, barre work, bush and beach walks, tennis, and gardening have become the mainstay of my bone health regime. While it wasn’t easy to hear the diagnosis of a serious condition, it’s been a tap on the shoulder for me. It’s another one of those opportunities we seem to be afforded more and more as we age to recommit to as healthy a lifestyle as is possible.

It’s been out of print for 15 or more years but now it’s back.  It’s available as a paperback as well as a range of digital formats for different devices.  The design of this edition is modelled as closely as possible on the original release from 1997.

Electronic versions:

Paperback version:

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga.  Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.

Please send me feedback about the book.  I’d love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices.  And please review the book wherever you get it.  Reviews will help more people discover the book.

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Women, Much More Than Friends

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One of the things we do well as a group of women is act as committed listeners to each other’s life stories. There’s nothing like ‘being gotten’ or ‘being seen’ by those who love you wholeheartedly.

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Maria Kirsten: A Yoga Star Gone Out

Maria Kirsten: A Yoga Star Gone Out

Maria Kirsten’s credentials included the whole breadth of yoga taught these days: classical, corporate, gentle, hatha, intellectually-challenged, mental health, viniyoga, yogalates, dynamic, postnatal, general, teacher training, therapy and meditation.

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Classes and Workshops

I’m currently teaching two weekly classes on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales where I live. I also lead workshops here and in other parts of Australia.

Visit the Vault!

I’ve been regularly contributing to this blog since 2009.  There are now over 1250 posts about a very wide range of topics. Click here to explore.

Yoga Resources

Books, videos, teachers, websites, places to buy really hot yoga clothes (kidding), and generally anything I find that I think others might find useful.

A Bit About Eve

I’ve been teaching since I was 35. I’m now 73. In that time there have been a few changes. Click here if you want to find out a bit about my life.

Media

I know, I know.  Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely.  I’ve been no exception.  Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.

Shop

No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing.  I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet.  But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want.  Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.