Fitness Magazine

Friday Q&A: Peel Method in Bridge and Other Poses

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge

Q: Is the Peel Method (flexion) for Bridge pose also contraindicated for students with spinal osteoporosis?
A: If the peel method you are referring to is the technique Baxter's described in his post To Peel or Not To Peel of slowly rounding the spine into flexion, then the short answer is yes, this version of the pose is contraindicated for students with spinal osteoporosis. Students with spinal osteoporosis should not generally move their spines into a flexed (rounded) position one vertebrae at a time. But I have to qualify this statement. If you are flexing vertebra by vertebra while standing as if you are going into Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) this would definitely be contraindicated, because the force generated through the vertebral bodies will be very high. However, if you are talking about the movement of going into Bridge pose as Baxter described, then the answer might be “maybe.” In Bridge pose, gravitational forces through the vertebral bodies are less because the load is not vertical loading. However, if the muscular contractions to round the vertebra are very strong and maybe propulsive then this would potentially cause load forces greater than the vertebral bodies can sustain (see info on Wolfe's law in the post What is Osteopenia?). So how do you know how much force is transmitted through the vertebral body? Unfortunately, you can’t really tell. So my general recommendation for all people with osteoporosis is to stay on the safe side and avoid all flexed asana positions, including the flexed position of the spine created by Peel Method of entering and exiting Bridge pose. I hope this helps!
—Shari

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