Living your best life with arthritis.

Yoga and Arthritis

Yoga is one type of low-impact exercise that will benefit people living with arthritis. Regardless of their age, those living with long-term arthritis and its associated pain can participate in low-impact exercises. A bonus is that low-impact exercise decreases stress levels and helps to improve the way you feel.

Photo credit: By Marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo credit: By Marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Below is an excerpt from Yoga for Arthritis in the Times Oman. The writer, Prema Nagesh, is a yoga instructor based in Muscat.

1. Greeva sanchalan (Neck movements)
•   While inhaling gently, take your neck back, and while exhaling, let your neck come to the initial position. Don’t move your chin down. Then turn towards right, then left; this makes one round. Hold each posture for not more than 5 seconds. Repeat three times.
  
2. Skanda sanchalan (Shoulder movements)
•   Place your fingers on your shoulders and rotate your arms slowly. Inhale while raising your arms up, and with arms touching your ears and exhale while getting it down. Repeat it three times on each side.

3. Parvatasana (mountain)
•   Legs near to each other, while inhaling, and raise your arms above your head. Exhale and interlock your fingers, palms facing in the upward direction, and then inhale and raise your feet up on your toes, exhale and practice normal breathing.

4. Trikonasana (triangle)
•    Stand with your legs near to each other. While inhaling, raise your left arm and keep it straight besides your ear and exhale and then bend the right side. Repeat the same with the other side.

5. Uthita Trikonasana (extended triangle)
• Keep your legs two feet away from each other. While inhaling, raise your arms up in line with the shoulder, while exhaling your breathe. Touch your right ankle with your right hand, don’t bend your knees. Place your left hand around your waist so as to relax your neck and shoulders. Repeat the same with the other side.

6. Santula asana (balance)
•   Stand with your legs near to each other. Inhale and while exhaling, bend your left leg in such a way that your left heel is near your buttocks. Exhale and hold the left ankle with your left hand and inhale, and then raise your right arm up. Do normal breathing. 

Exercise is important if you live with the joint pain and stiffness of arthritis. It may seem daunting at first, but in the long run exercise will help manage your symptoms and you will feel better. The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada says that regular, moderate physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, decreases fatigue, and increases stamina and muscle flexibility. The kinds of exercises you can perform may vary depending on the severity and types of conditions you have.

The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, results from wear and tear on joints that accumulate over a lifetime. With osteoarthritis, injuries to the joints – whether through trauma or repetitive strain – lead to pain, stiffness, and eventually to inflammation. Any kind of movement that puts your joints through their full range of motion eases stiffness and helps reduce arthritis symptoms. Exercise is important for all joints and controlling your weight particularly benefits weight-bearing joints like knees, hips, and the back.

There are many yoga studios in Canada. For more on yoga in your community, please visit yogadirectorycanada.com.