Yoga Poses for Arthritis


Relieve Arthritis With Yoga

Over 75 scientific trials have studied the effects of yoga on people who suffer from arthritis, and the results are conclusive: yoga is safe, gentle, and, most importantly, an effective way to get exercise and relieve pain when you have arthritis. The gentle poses of yoga increase muscle strength and flexibility, promote a sense of calm and balance, and heighten physical endurance, while the light stretches carefully work joints without straining them.

“Gentle” is the keyword when you look for a yoga class. Iyengar, Anusara, and Phoenix Rising yoga are good choices for people with arthritis; avoid Astanga, Bikram or “power yoga” as these are more strenuous. It is vital that the instructor is sensitive to your needs, knows which poses will benefit you the most, and understands how to help you stretch so that your joints are worked but not strained. However, it is not necessary to join a studio or club in order to enjoy the pain relief benefits of yoga. There are simple poses one can perform at home with no training. You can easily find instructions and demonstration videos online, or even smartphone apps, to help you do them correctly.

Sun salutations, the Child’s Pose, Cow Pose and Angry Cat are all easy and excellent ways to stretch and work the spine. The Child’s Pose also helps strengthen the hip flexors. If you have a desk job, these stretches and poses feel especially wonderful after a day of sitting. For knee pain relief, try the Supported Warrior, Triangle Pose, Tadasana or Reclining Knee Bent Twist. For arthritis in the hands, gentle wrist rotations, back-of-the-hand stretches, and finger flexes, when performed daily, are proven effective in reducing arthritic hand pain.

One of the wonderful things about yoga is that anyone can do it, regardless of age or physical fitness. When, on average, 50% of sedentary individuals stop exercising after six months because they find it painful or unenjoyable, it is important to find exercise that you enjoy, that energizes you and offers pain relief instead of soreness and frustration. Yoga can be as gentle or as challenging as you want it to be, and people who participate in yoga regularly report that they feel better physically, they have more energy, less stress and a more positive outlook.