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Yoga for Arthritis: Hips

woman in white crop shirt with tattoo on her belly

Exercises for Osteoarthritis in the Pelvic Area and Hips

Yoga can be used to help manage mild arthritis, or in addition to therapy a doctor recommends. Recent studies have shown yoga to be beneficial for osteoarthritis.

This article includes beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Any level of practice will bring desirable benefits. Pictures of some of the following Iyengar yoga poses can be seen here.

These poses allow the use of props, such as a wall, to keep the back straight, pillows or blankets for leg support, or a strap, to assist in reaching. The exercises should bring a feeling of wellness, and should never feel painful or uncomfortable. The poses should help to bring relief from hip pain.

Beginning Poses:

Persons doing yoga for the first time can do these poses.

  • Sukhasana, Easy Pose. This gives a gentle stretch to the back and thigh muscles.
  • Parighasana, Gate Pose. This pose stretches and strengthens the pelvic area. It also helps for back pain.
  • Baddha KonasanaCobbler Pose. This pose gives an intense stretch to the hips. Begin by sitting against a wall with two blankets or pillows under the knees.
  • UtkatasanaPowerful Pose. This pose is similar to Horse Stance in martial arts. By the action of sitting in an imaginary chair, the muscles of the hips and legs are strengthened.

Intermediate Poses:

These poses may be done once the person has mastered the beginning poses.

  • Sukhasana, Easy Pose. Reach the arms overhead and clasp the hands to give a greater stretch.
  • Parighasana, Gate Pose. Continue to use this pose, stretching to the toes on each side.
  • Baddha KonasanaCobbler Pose. Practice the pose without the pillows under the knees, trying to touch the knees to the floor.
  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Seated Forward Pigeon Pose. This is a classic yoga hip opener. Use a blanket or pillow to support the hip of the straight leg.

Advanced Poses:

These poses should be done only after the intermediate poses can be performed with strength and confidence. These build on the intermediate poses and go further into the stretch.

  • Sukhasana, Easy Pose With a Forward Bend. Stretch the arms forward and bend over the legs, eventually placing the head on the floor.
  • Parighasana, Gate Pose. Continue practicing this pose.
  • Baddha KonasanaCobbler Pose. Bend forward in the pose and touch the forehead to the floor.
  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Seated Forward Pigeon Pose. Lean forward and down over the bent front leg.

These poses are a starting point. A certified yoga teacher, or a book such as Light on Yoga, by B. K. S. Iyengar, are guides to more poses for arthritis. Done on a regular basis, these yoga sequences should help the arthritis sufferer.