Yoga and arthritis are increasingly being discussed together because of the many benefits from yoga for you, the arthritis patient.
If you suffer from the chronic pain of arthritis, you may be discouraged with the amount of medications that are suggested for pain relief. But yoga is a natural alternative that is safe and effective.
You already know that arthritis is the inflammation and swelling of the body’s joints, and it is painful and typically chronic.
Affecting almost half of Americans over the age of 45, the most common forms of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, and Fibromyalgia.
With any of these arthritic conditions, you are always in need of methods for pain relief – both on a daily basis as well as long term solutions. This is where yoga and arthritis meet – healing you.
Yoga uses a combination of poses (or asanas) and breathing practices (or pranyama) together to provide gentle exercise and stretching as well as decreasing stress (both mental and physical) and increasing well-being.
This kind of yoga, also know as “Hatha Yoga” is a way to ground yourself in calming positions and moderate stretches. It improves your muscle awareness, strengthens your mind-body connection, and develops and improves your balance.
Practiced gently and with proper technique, you will find that yoga and arthritis cannot peacefully coexist with one another!
The best suggestion for any new exercise routine (and yoga is a gentle form of exercise) is for you to start slowly and carefully.
Yoga is a very mindful exercise and should be treated as such. Yoga and arthritis are so well matched in treatment and disease because of the exceedingly soft tempo and impact of yoga.
Always remember too, if it hurts – any pose at all – stop! Yoga should not hurt, and especially not yoga and arthritis patients. Pain defeats the purpose of using yoga as a natural treatment alternative for arthritis patients.
There are many yoga poses out there, but there are some that will benefit arthritis patients more than others. For yoga and arthritis, the best poses are:
1. Single Leg Raise: You lay on the floor and raise one leg while the other remains on the floor. A warm up pose for other yoga exercises or for gentle movement exercise.
2. Relaxation Pose: You lay on the floor – still and in a comfortable position. Focuses you on the essential mind-body connection and calming of the body.
3. Hand Clenching: Exactly as it sounds – but a gentle clenching – not an intense gripping. Keeps hands, a common chronic pain area, in stronger “working” form.
4. Wrist Bending: Also exactly as it sounds – again in a gentle motion. Wrists are commonly affected by arthritis as well; this can improve the range of motion.
5. Ankle Rotation: Again exactly as it sounds – also in a gentle motion. Improves flexibility, decreases stiffness, and can even improve balance.
6. Standing Side Stretch Pose: Stand up straight and bend gently to each side. A great stretch for you – this increases your flexibility and decreases your muscle stiffness and pain.
Clearly, yoga and arthritis can be found together as a natural
treatment option for patients. However, with patience, practice and
gentleness, yoga can work for you to significantly decrease the chronic
pain of your arthritis.