Arthritis affects more than 54 million individuals in the United States, with some cases being more severe than others. Exercise might be difficult or even paradoxical for people who suffer from arthritis-related joint discomfort. Yoga’s twisting and turning may appear to aggravate rather than alleviate arthritic joint discomfort. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the CDC, persons who suffer from arthritis can improve their arthritis pain, function, mood, and quality of life by engaging in joint-friendly physical activity.
In other words, low-impact physical activities are better for your joints since they put less strain on them. Walking, cycling, and swimming are examples of low-impact aerobic activities, whereas weightlifting, resistance band training, and yoga are examples of muscle-strengthening exercises.
Incorporating yoga into your practice can frequently lessen inflammation, which has been related to joint discomfort caused by arthritis. Yoga is also an excellent way to increase strength and improve balance, and it is moderate enough to be included and enjoyed as part of a daily workout program. There are many different styles of yoga to explore, as well as various mild postures and flowing sequences to aid with joint discomfort. You can also use supports, such as a chair or a yoga block, to assist you. Of course, before performing yoga or any activity, consult with your doctor about your joint discomfort. Here are our favorite yoga postures for joint discomfort once you’ve received the all-clear.
Lower back stiffness can be caused by ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Child’s pose is a gentle approach to stretch out the lower back and relieve stiffness. Place your knees on a yoga mat and your feet’s tops on the floor. Set your hips back onto your heels or feet and kneel your chest down over your legs. As you lie in the posture, reach your arms out in front of you on the ground and feel those muscles stretch out.
The sphinx stance is also beneficial to your lower back. “This posture can help you achieve extension via the muscles in your lower back,” explains Samantha Leonetti, a yoga practitioner and physical therapy student in Philadelphia. Lie on your stomach with your legs side by side behind you. Place your elbows gently beneath your shoulders, forearms on the floor. Inhale and raise your torso and head off the floor. This will result in a little bend in your back, which is what you want.
Pose of the Cobra
You can extend from the sphinx posture into the cobra pose for an even deeper lower back stretch. Press up from your hands in the sphinx posture, placing your palms on the ground in front of your shoulders. Your arms will now be extended, and your back will be in a deeper bend for more stretch.
The Book Is Open
The open book stretch is useful for stretching the muscles in the shoulders and chest. Lie on your side with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Maintain your hands together and your arms outstretched in front of you. This is the stretch’s “closed book” section. While maintaining your legs together, proceed to open your hands apart and rotate your upper arm back as far as you can comfortably. Hold for a few seconds before bringing your hands back together to re-close your book position. Rep a few times before moving on to the opposite side.
Pose with a Supported Fish
This position is recommended by Leonetti for extending the front of the chest. On your mat, place a junior yoga bolster lengthwise. Lean back onto the bolster while sitting in front of it. Make sure your chin is level with or lower than your forehead, as leaning your head back too far might be unpleasant. If you like, you can lay a folded blanket in front of your bolster to rest your head on. Allow your arms to rest at your sides at a 45-degree angle, palms towards the sky, with your back resting over the bolster. Take a few deep breaths and stay in this posture as long as you can. This posture is ideal for desk workers who spend their days hunched over a computer.
Pose of Anjali Mudra
Anjali Mudra, often known as the prayer posture, is a pose recommended by Leonetti for wrist discomfort. Place your hands together at the middle of your heart, palms open. Hold the posture for as long as you like.
Wrist Stretch on a Tabletop
Place yourself in a tabletop posture, with your knees and palms on the floor, for further wrist stretching. Rotate your fingers as far back towards your knees as they will go. Leonetti recommends retaining the majority of your weight in your legs and gradually shifting some weight towards your hands. Hold for a few deep breaths, then relax your wrists and repeat.
Exercises in Breathing
Stress, according to Leonetti, can cause or aggravate plaque psoriasis and other types of arthritis. She suggests practicing some yoga breathing techniques to decrease stress and maybe lessen some arthritic pain caused by stress. “Breathing out lengthier exhales than inhales activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps relax the body when done for a few minutes daily,” she explains. Experiment with three-second inhales and four- to five-second exhales. Alternate nostril breathing, or nadi shodhana pranayama, is another option. “This helps balance the right and left sides of the brain, harmonizing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems,” Leonetti adds.