Ground Reaction Forces in 28 Yoga Poses

What’s This Research About?

This study measures ground reaction forces (GRFs) of common yoga poses. They hypothesized that yoga would result in less than two times body weight (BW) GRFs and that GRF results would be consistent across all subjects.

The authors reference several articles suggesting that high impact sports (running and jumping, e.g.) and lower impact resistance training (weight lifting, e.g) both have positive effects on bone mineral density (BMD). Yoga would fall into the lower impact category.

Newton’s third law states that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. A GRF is the force the ground gives back to you as you make impact. GRFs are measured with a device called a force plate. If you stand still on a force plate, the GRF won’t differ much than your body weight. But if you walk, run, or jump in place on the force plate, you might see GRFs increase by 1.5 to maybe 3 times your BW.

Higher impact sports have higher GRFs. Even though yoga is considered low impact, during the process of transitioning between poses, GRFs may creep slightly above BW.

Consumer media implies that yoga is good for bone health, but at the time of this publication there was insufficient research to support this claim. The article references a popular book that asserts such and there are certainly others. We can assume that if yoga postures have higher than BW GRFs, then these claims can be somewhat substantiated.

About The Author

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Jules Mitchell

TITLE: Ground Reaction Forces Generated by Twenty-eight Hatha Yoga Postures

ORIGINAL LINK

PUBLICATION: International Journal of Exercise Science

DATE: 2012

AUTHORS : Wilcox, S.J., Hager, R., Lockhart, B., Seeley, M.K.

Ground Reaction Force (GRF): In physics, and in particular in biomechanics, the ground reaction force is the force exerted by the ground on a body in contact with it.

Bone mineral density (BMD): a measure of bone density, reflecting the strength of bones as represented by calcium content. The BMD test detects osteopenia (mild bone loss, usually without symptoms) and osteoporosis (more severe bone loss, which may cause symptoms).

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By |2017-11-27T21:02:10-04:00May 22nd, 2017|Yoga Poses|2 Comments

About the Author:

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Jules Mitchell MS, CMT, ERYT500 is a Los Angeles based yoga teacher, educator and massage therapist. Her unique approach blends the tradition of yoga with her extensive study in biomechanics to help teachers develop their craft and empower them with education. Jules’s methods intend to achieve ease in movement through deliberate effort, thus her teachings integrate numerous modalities, balancing the somatic aspects of yoga with the most current exercise science. Jules is currently writing her book, Yoga Biomechanics: Redefining Stretching, which is expected to become available in 2018 through Handspring Publishing. Learn more about Jules Mitchell.

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