Great Therapy for Joint Health
As anyone with arthritis will tell you, it often hurts to move at all. However, a completely sedentary lifestyle is not the answer to this painful condition. Nowadays most arthritis sufferers are being encouraged by their doctors to perform low-impact exercises, such as yoga asanas, to improve movement. Low impact is particularly important as high impact activities can cause further damage and pain. For this reason yoga is becoming increasingly popular with both doctors and patients.
Yoga Therapy and Joint Health
Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in people over 55. However, people as young as 20 can also be affected. There are also rare cases of children having some form of arthritis. Scientific studies on yoga for joint health and arthritis, have been sparse in the past, although plenty of real life evidence of the benefits is prevalent anywhere you look.
Johns Hopkins and Arthritis
Studies at the Johns Hopkins Center for Arthritis now show how important it is to exercise affected arthritic joints. Doing this has significant long-term effects on pain relief and will increase mobility. Exercising joints also has overall health benefits for the entire body.
Moving the body is necessary to provide essential nutrients to joints and circulation to muscles. Yoga is the best activity there is to strengthen, nourish and heal a body with arthritis.
Exercise and Arthritis
Before you begin there are few important points to remember.
- Be patient and take your time.
- Never force a pose or try and push past the point of pain.
- Gently push yourself to your limits.
- Never force an arthritic joint as this could cause damage.
- Check specific limitations with your doctor.
- Begin with what you feel comfortable with.
- If you have limited flexibility or are unable to kneel remember that yoga is about overcoming difficulties while accepting your own capabilities.
- Yoga is not about competition.
Single leg raises, shoulder stretches and neck exercises, are a good way to get ready for more challenging poses. Hand clenching and wrist bending will help anyone with arthritis in the hands and arms. Ankle bending and rotation increase circulation and flexibility in the lower legs. These very basic movements, along with full body poses, such as the corpse pose, are a good place to start. Be careful with the number of repetitions and the length of time you hold a position.
Asanas for Arthritis
Poses recommended for osteoarthritis include Trikoasana (triangle pose), Urdvha Mukha Svanasana (upward facing dog), and Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog). Also recommended are one and two-legged forward bends, Navasana (the boat), twists, and resting in Savasana (corpse pose).
Rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis so can require different poses. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis try and focus on breathing pranayama and smoother, wavelike, movements.