Arthritis is of various types, mainly causing swelling and tenderness of one or more joints, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness. While it is known that yoga asanas offer multiple health benefits, regularly practising yoga for arthritis relief is also recommended. Read on for more.
If you’re a beginner, turn to easy poses of yoga for arthritis pain relief and you’re sure to see a positive difference. Remember to go slow and not overexert yourself!
1. Benefits Of Yoga For Arthritis
2. Types Of Yoga For Arthritis
3. Veerbhadrasana Or Warrior Pose
4. Vrikshasana Or Tree Pose
5. Setubandhasana Or Bridge Pose
6. Shavasana Or Corpse Pose
7. Key To Dealing With Arthritis
Yoga offers the following health benefits for patients with arthritis:
- Reduces joint pain
- Enhances flexibility
- Improves joint function
- Helps you stay active
- Lowers stress and relieves tension
- Promotes better sleep
Tip: Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen, and turn to a qualified trainer if you’re not sure about starting yoga by yourself.
Types Of Yoga For Arthritis
There are several types or styles of yoga that can benefit your health. Here are three of them that can help provide relief from arthritis symptoms:
Iyengar yoga for arthritis in the hips and the whole body focuses on the structural alignment of the body through the practice of yoga asanas. This style of yoga differs from others in precision, sequence, and use of props.
This type of yoga emphasizes holding poses for longer periods of time. Hatha yoga comprises body postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.
Restorative yoga is practised at a slow pace. It encourages physical, mental, and emotional relaxation by focusing on stillness, long holds, and deep breathing.
The below infographic shows the different types of yoga apart from the three already explained.
Tip: Whether you’re looking for yoga for seniors with arthritis or easy yoga for knee arthritis, there are plenty of poses you can start with.
Veerbhadrasana Or Warrior Pose
Veerabhadrasana (Virabhadrasana) is a graceful yoga for osteoarthritis posture that strengthens and tones the arms, lower back, and legs. It is extremely beneficial for those with deskbound jobs or leading a sedentary life. It increases stamina and improves balance.
- Start by standing straight with your legs at least 3-4 feet apart.
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in about 15 degrees. Keep the right heel aligned to the center of the other foot.
- Lift arms sideways to shoulder height and parallel to the ground; keep palms facing upwards.
- Breathing out, slowly bend your right knee, forming a straight line with the ankle. Make sure the knee doesn’t overshoot the ankle.
- Turn your head to look towards your right.
- Settle into the posture and stretch your arms further. Push your pelvis down gently.
- Hold the pose with determination; keep breathing as you go down.
- Breathe in, come up; breathe out, and lower your hands.
- Repeat the sequence for the other side.
Tip: Avoid this pose if you have heart problems or severe body pain.
Vrikshasana Or Tree Pose
Vrikshasana is a basic standing posture in yoga practice. It increases blood circulation, improves balance, strengthens the lower body, builds concentration, and develops focus.
- Begin by standing with your feet together. Keep back straight and chin slightly lifted.
- Keep arms by the sides of your body.
- Breathe gently as you feel your body weight equally distributed on both feet.
- Slowly, shift your weight onto the right foot. Bend the left knee, holding it by the ankle for support. Place the sole of the left foot on the inner side of the right thigh.
- Keep your back straight and focus your gaze on a spot directly in front of you.
- Maintain balance by putting gentle pressure on the right thigh with your left foot. Simultaneously, keep pushing your left knee towards the outer side and point your hips forwards.
- Engage your core muscles and join your palms with each other. Take 5-10 deep breaths and stay still.
- Exhale, and release the left leg, going back to starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Tip: Exercise caution while practising this pose if you have vertigo or feel dizzy. This yogasana is safe to practise during pregnancy.
Setubandhasana Or Bridge Pose
This yoga pose improves blood circulation, stretches the neck, spine, chest and hips, and strengthens the back. It’s good as yoga for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Start by lying on your back.
- Now bend your legs at the knees, keeping your feet on the floor at hip-width from each other. Ensure knees and ankles are in a straight line.
- Place arms on the sides with palms facing downwards.
- Inhale as you slowly lift your back off the floor. Push your chest into your chin; support your body weight with your arms, shoulders, and feet.
- Remember to keep thighs parallel to the floor and to each other.
- Continue to breathe slowly; exhale as you come back to starting position.
Tip: Keep It Simple! You don’t need fancy or complex yoga poses to treat your arthritis.
Shavasana Or Corpse Pose
Shavasana conditions your body to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing.
- Rest on the floor lying on your back.
- Keep your knees bent or extended flat.
- Keep your head centered and arms to the sides.
- Relax all your muscles and continue breathing deeply.
- Hold the pose for 5-15 minutes.
Tip: While practising Shavasana, your body might feel some discomfort, but rise above the same to avoid distractions.
Key To Dealing With Arthritis
Managing your weight and getting enough exercise are key ways to deal with arthritis. Physical exercise such as yoga, when done regularly, will not only help you maintain your weight but also keep your joints and entire body physically fit.
Other tips to manage arthritis symptoms include:
- Hot and cold therapy
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regular massage therapy
- All-natural supplements or medication for pain management
Tip: Change in temperature or weather, overdoing exercise, and eating trigger foods can flare up arthritis, so avoid what you can.
Q. Have scientific studies of yoga been done in arthritis patients?
A. Yes, and the results of such studies show that those with arthritis saw improvement in overall physical health, balance, and flexibility with the help of yoga.
Q. Can yoga worsen arthritis?
A. Arthritis can flare up with excessive use of joints, so make sure you take it slow and steady when practising yoga. Perform the yoga asanas correctly, as trauma to any joint can also aggravate arthritis symptoms.
Q. Is yoga or Pilates better for arthritis?
A. Both forms of exercise can help alleviate arthritis symptoms. While yoga boosts the flexibility of the muscles around the joints, Pilates helps strengthen bones and joints.
Q. How often should you do yoga?
A. As a beginner, start with 2-3 classes a week and build up from there to daily practice.