Arthritis is a common but highly misunderstood condition that affects the joints. An individual diagnosed with arthritis suffers from chronic pain in the joints. The condition formally thought to occur due to old age, affects people of all ages, sexes, as well as races. With over a hundred types of arthritis, more than 51 million adults, and 350, 000 children are currently suffering from arthritis in the USA alone. It is, however, more prevalent in women and it gets worse as they age.
The following are the common types of symptoms exhibited by an arthritis patient.
• Chronic pain
• Decreased range of motion
The symptoms manifest in various ways including knobby joints of fingers, knees, as well as other joints. Some types of arthritis, however, affect the eyes, lungs, the heart, kidneys, skin, et al. In the modern world, doctors and scientists have come up with treatments in conjunction with exercise regimens to bring relief to an arthritis patient.
Yoga and Arthritis
Many people throughout the world practice yoga as a way of improving flexibility as well as reduce the tension in the joints. Physicians recommend yoga to arthritis patients to build muscle strength and improve overall body balance, through yoga poses that are enjoyable to for practice on a regular basis.
Other benefits of yoga to an arthritis patient include
• Increase physical activity.
• Improve mental strength and energy given yoga’s meditative properties. This leads to a reduction in anxiety, aggressiveness, stress, and excitability levels.
• Enhance respiratory endurance through chest expansion.
• Promote overall balance.
• Increased energy.
• Fewer pains and aches in the body.
• Increased feelings of positivity.
For individuals diagnosed with any arthritis, yoga does not heighten the pain levels nor worsen the disease, but rather promotes healthy joints. The following are the basic yoga poses that expert arthritis physicians propose an arthritis patient should practice in regular intervals. Consult with your doctor to advise on any restrictions before trying out any of the poses below.
1. Side Angle Pose
Start by standing to place your feet at least four feet apart and turn the left foot out to 90 degrees at the same time angling the right foot to 45 degrees. Bend the left knee and bring your knee directly above your toes. Place the left elbow on the left bent knee and extend your right arm along the right ear.
The aim of this pose is to have your body in one diagonal line from the tip of the fingers in your right hand to the tip of the toes of the right foot. Ensure to keep the right arm straight to the tips of your fingers.
Fix your gaze past the extended finger of your right arm and focus on keeping it relaxed. Tensing the extended arm in the lower shoulder will counteract the benefits of this pose and so to ensure the arm remains straight, lift from the elbow, not the shoulder. Also, the hips as well as the shoulders ought to be in the same plane.
Hold the pose for 5 – 10 deep breaths or for as long as is comfortable and repeat on the other side.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
For the seated spinal twist, start by sitting on the floor and extending out your legs. If you have trouble with getting your back straight, sit on a yoga bolster, or a folded blanket. Pull in your left foot, lift it, and cross it over to the outer part of your still extended right leg. Pull it in as close as possible to the hip of the right leg.
Wrap the right arm around the now bend the left knee and hug the leg into the body as close as possible. Hold the pose for 5 – 10 deep breaths or for as long as it is comfortable. Repeat with the right leg.
3. Cobra Pose
Start by prostrating on the ground with your face down and the inner heel resting comfortably on the floor. Position your palms on the floor alongside the chest and place the elbows close to the body. Slowly lift the chest, neck, and the head from the floor while keeping both feet, legs on the ground, and concentrate your gaze forward.
Do not use your arms to come into the pose but engage your back muscles to do the lifting. To test which muscles are involved in the lift, lift your palms from the floor.
4. Hero Pose
This pose is efficient in encouraging better circulation of blood in the joints of the knees, elbows as well as the ankles. Start by sitting on your yoga mat and extend the legs outward while keeping your spine straight. Bend your right knee and position the toes under the right buttock cheek.
Bend the left leg and position it on your right thigh. Next, lift your arms above your head and bend them at the elbow to a Namaste position then place your wrists on your head. Hold the pose for 5 – 10 deep breaths or as long as it is comfortable and repeat with the left leg.
5. Cow Face Pose
Otherwise known as the Gomukhasana, this pose is great for blood circulation around the fingers, neck, shoulders, hip joint, as well as the spine. It tones the muscles as well as the nerves.
Start by hunkering on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Take your right leg, bend it at the knee and using your hands place it on the outer thighs as close to the torso as possible. Then take the left leg and bend it toward the outer side of the right hip.
Take your left hand, bend it at the elbow, and place it behind your back. Ensure to place your fingers as close to your spine as possible with the fingers pointing upwards. With your right hand, lift it above your head and bend at the elbow placing it behind your back as well. Try to grasp the two hands together.
Hold the pose for 5 – 10 breaths or as long as is possible and then change the position of the arms.
6. Tree Pose
This is one of the greatest yoga poses for arthritis since it tones the muscles at the toes, knees, ankles, hip joints, elbows, shoulder joint, fingers, as well as the hands.
Stand with your legs close together and transfer your body weight on the left leg. Raise your right leg and tuck it as high as possible into your inner thigh by the use of your arms for easy positioning. Slowly and gently, lift your arms above your head and press your arms firmly together. Make sure to keep the elbows straight.
Focus your mind and strive to maintain balance. For a more challenging version, try closing your eyes. This pose will greatly help in the concentration and balance. Hold the pose for 5 – 10 deep breaths or as long as possible then change to the right side.
There is much more yoga poses for arthritis patients to try out and to enroll in a yoga class will greatly help in mastering the correct way to do the poses. With time, the poses will bring relief to the arthritis symptoms and will assist in making you flexible, and full of life.