By Kimberly King
Yoga is a terrific option for managing joint pain associated with arthritis.
Science backs this, too: A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that osteoarthritic women who practiced yoga reported a 46% decline in pain and a 39% reduction in stiffness–and this was just after eight weeks of yoga.
3 Yoga Asanas to Manage Arthritis
- Slowly roll down the spine to hang forward, with weight in the middle of the feet, not the toes or heels, rock back and forth a bit.
- Don’t lock the knees.
- Upper body should just hang without tension, relaxed head, loose neck. You can take hold of opposite elbows or interlace fingers behind your back or just dangle.
- Lay face down with tops of the feet resting on the floor.
- Palms are flat on the floor alongside the chest, elbows in close to the body.
- Head, neck, and chest are lifted off the floor, gaze forward, keeping the feet and legs down while buttocks are relaxed.
- Lift your palms to hover off the floor.
Seated Spinal Twist
- Start sitting with legs extended forward. You can sit up on a cushion, block, or folded blanket if you feel any rounding in the lower back.
- Pull your knee in, lift the foot, and cross it over to the outside of the extended leg. Like you are making a numeral 4
- Try to pull foot in close to the opposite hip if accessible. Wrap the opposite arm around the bent knee and hug it in. You can do this by wrapping the elbow around the knee, the hand, or use a strap. It’s particularly important to sit up straight with an engaged core as you elongate the spine.
These poses help overall flexibility, lubricate joints, and relieve tension.
- It is important to start slow and steady with any new activity. I highly recommended using props like blocks and blankets to start. As with any new physical activity, make sure to check with your doctor.
- Avoid yoga on zoom! Go to a yoga studio with a real person as your teacher. You may need minor physical adjustments while in a pose or helping to get in and out of poses of your arthritis is very advanced.
- Also avoid advanced positions or inverted positions. This can be too much stress in your bones in the beginning.
- In this case, chair yoga and water yoga are the best places to start and will take pressure off your joints while you gain flexibility.
- In a hot yoga class, our joints are lubricated even more than normal. We can get a little more flexible with the heat and over time overall pain levels can go down.
- A combination of hot yoga and yin yoga is the combination that works wonders for many people who suffer from chronic pain.
Most importantly, remember to leave your ego in the car. When we are new to yoga, we tend to look around at others and compare ourselves with them. Comparison is the thief of Joy! Only be concerned with your body, your breathing, and your mat.
About the Author:
Kimberly King, “The Safety Mom,” is the author of the best-selling, most highly recommended book for children on prevention called I Said No! A kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private. Her other Moms Choice Gold Winners are Finding Your Fit, and When Your Parents Divorce.
Kimberly is a mom of three children, kindergarten teacher, yoga teacher, survivor, Sexual Abuse Prevention Facilitator with D2L.org , and a crisis counselor.