Exercise is most often a central component for the management of arthritis pain. Integrative medicine practitioners often tell arthritis patients to consider yoga or tai chi for managing symptoms.
Studies suggest that individuals with various types of arthritis can help improve their physical symptoms and mood by regularly practicing yoga. All yoga practices try to use stretching, movement, relaxation and breathing to improve flexibility, strength, and peace of mind.
Yoga poses can look intimidating to some people, particularly those who are coping with arthritis pain. A well-qualified yoga instructor can show these participants alternative or modified poses to protect against further injury and accommodate stiff joints. These accommodations allow most arthritis sufferers to fully participate in yoga classes and optimize its benefits.
3 Yoga Poses for Arthritis Relief:
1. Bridge Pose
1. Lie in a supine position on the floor, then bend your knees, and set your feet on the floor.
2. Exhale and press the insides of your arms and feet into the floor.
3. Push your tailbone up, firm your buttocks, then lift them off the floor, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
4. Keep your knees directly over your heels.
5. Lift the upper part of your hips toward your belly button.
2. Cow Pose
1. Get on all fours with your hands and shoulder width apart.
2. Place your wrists right under your shoulders, and fingers spread wide. While your knees should be hips’ width and right under your hips.
3. Bring your chest forward, up toward the ceiling, while your shoulder blades press down toward your waist, and then tip your pelvis up and back, so that your sitting bones are reaching up.
3. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
Vriksha – Tree; Asana – Posture or Pose. The asana is pronounced as VRIK-shAH-sana
Tree Pose replicates the graceful, but steady stance of a tree. Unlike most yoga poses, the Tree Pose requires that you keep our eyes open to maintain body balance.
1. Stand tall and straight with arms by the side of your body.
2. Bend your right knee, then place the right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole of your foot should be placed firmly near the root of the thigh.
3. Find your balance. Make sure that your left leg is straight.
4. Once well balanced, take a deep breath in, then gracefully raise your arms over your head from the side, and bring your palms together in ‘Namaste’ mudra or hands-folded position.
5. Look straight ahead in front of you. A steady gaze can help in maintain a steady balance.
6. Make sure that your spine is straight. Your entire body should be taut, like a stretched elastic band.
7. Keep taking long deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Just be with your body and your breath, with a gentle smile on your face.
8. With slow exhalation, bring down your hands from the sides gently. Also, you may gently release your right leg.
9. Stand straight and tall as you did at the beginning of the posture.
10. Repeat this pose using the left leg off the ground, on the right thigh.
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