Yoga for Arthritis
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. However, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes, and races can and do have arthritis. It is more common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.
How do you know you have arthritis?
In some people, the initial breakdown of cartilage causes no pain whatsoever, while in others, it causes a deep aching and a soreness or stiffness that is particularly noticeable when they move. Tenderness after a long period of immobility, such as first thing in the morning or after sitting through a long movie, could also be a symptom of arthritis.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Inability to move a joint normally
- Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Redness or warmth in a joint
If you believe you recognize or experience any of these signs in yourself, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help limit the damage and control the symptoms.
Yoga Benefits for Arthritis
Yoga, a practice of exercises, breathing techniques, and meditation that started in ancient India, has been touted as a way to boost physical and mental health for 5,000 years. But does yoga really work to improve physical arthritis symptoms like pain and stiffness, or psychological issues like stress and anxiety? YES.
In fact, yoga is proven to help people with arthritis improve many physical and psychological symptoms. Recent scientific studies of people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep. Yoga comes in many different forms but generally involves positioning the body in various poses along with coordinated breathing and meditation exercises.
Yoga to the rescue
No matter what kind of arthritis you’re suffering from, practicing yoga can work wonders for you. Studies show that yoga reduces the pain stemming from the disease. It strengthens the joint muscles and makes the body more flexible. In addition, practicing yoga reduces stress levels.
These yoga postures will help you manage the symptoms of arthritis:
- Veerbhadrasana or Warrior Pose
- Vrikshasana or Tree Pose
- Marjariasana or Cat Stretch
- Setubandhasana or Bridge Pose
- Trikonasana or Triangle pose
- Shavasana or corpse pose
The key to dealing with arthritis is to get moving. Yoga offers an excellent exercise option. For people with arthritis who are in constant pain, yoga is gentle and enjoyable enough to practice regularly. Yoga builds muscle strength, joint flexibility, and balance. The range of motion improves. Stress and tension reduce, inducing a good night’s sleep.
Yoga is a natural and time-tested science of beneficial postures. Coupled with pranayamas and meditation its impact on physical, mental and emotional well-being is such that it is now being considered a mainstream option. Still, it would be advisable to seek your doctor’s advice before taking up yoga or any other form of physical exercise.
Yoga helps develop the body and mind, bringing a lot of health benefits. Even so, it is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor, and a Yoga teacher.