You have probably heard of yoga by this point. If you have arthritis, you may experience a lack of mobility and extreme pain in the affected area. Did you know that yoga has been found to drastically reduce arthritis symptoms? This ancient practice includes breathing techniques, stretching, and meditation. It was designed over 5,000 years ago to improve health. This includes the pain and stiffness arthritis comes with, along with the psychological effects like stress.
Studies have found that yoga can improve the many different types of arthritis too. When you practice yoga regularly, you will improve the flexibility in your joints which alleviates joint pain. You also have less stress building up so you’ll sleep better. A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania consisted of an 8-week program with 90 minutes of modified Iyengar yoga classes done once a week. The result was a significant reduction in pain and an increase in physical function. Joint stiffness decreased also. This particular study was for people with knee osteoarthritis which meant the poses needed to be modified. This is another benefit of yoga. No matter what condition you have and where you’re affected, yoga poses can be changed to meet your specific physical needs.
Yoga is a great way to keep the joints flexible, keep your muscle tone and manage weight. It is gentle and much less stressful on sore joints than any other type of movement. Studies are finding that yoga can reduce the pain related to arthritis. It promotes relaxation, it’s low impact, and yet it still builds your strength. Yoga consists of a variety of poses that can be easy or challenging. You set the pace to your own abilities. Any yoga instructor that you meet will tell you not to push yourself into yoga poses you’re not ready for.
You might be concerned that yoga is all about bending and twisting which would cause you pain in the areas of your arthritis. There are many styles of yoga though. Iyengar yoga is a gentle style with flowing movement. You can use a chair or props for balance. This makes it safe for someone with arthritis to get the benefits of yoga in a safe way.
It might seem like yoga is an effortless series of stretches that takes no physical effort but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even in the easiest poses, the body is both stretching, sometimes balancing, and gaining strength. Studies have found that yoga definitely offers you physical and psychological benefits. You improve your muscles strength and makes joints more flexible. There are some forms of yoga that will even make you sweat. As you quickly move from one pose to the next, you’ll be doing strength training but also using the cardiovascular system. If you do yoga regularly, you build your practice. You get stronger so you can move through poses more quickly and even try weight-bearing moves.
Yoga offers varying poses for anyone. That means you don’t have to be ultra fit to attend a class. Yoga welcomes any age, fitness level, and medical condition. It is unlimited and you are invited. If there are poses you don’t feel comfortable with, you can sit out. That’s kind of the rules in yoga. Don’t push yourself towards injury. Do what feels good. You can do chair yoga or do beginner yoga classes that are easy and gentle. The hundreds of poses can be modified, making it easy to get into them.
There may have been previous concern about doing yoga for the fact that you might hurt yourself. Yes, of course, it’s possible to become injured in a yoga class. If you have arthritis, you shouldn’t do poses that ask you to balance on one foot. You shouldn’t do Warrior series where you have to bend your knees more than 90 degrees. Some yoga types like Kundalini will have long breathing sessions or meditations where you’re sitting cross-legged. This isn’t ideal either. While you can attend any yoga class you want, listen to your body and sit out on things that don’t feel right.
Whatever your type of arthritis is, you can find a yoga that will help your mind and body cope with the symptoms. Yoga has been shown to dramatically help people with all types of arthritis.