What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis can be defined as the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints within the body. It is an umbrella term that describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Yoga can help with arthritis in many ways.
The main symptoms of arthritis are usually characterized by joint pain and stiffness, swelling, inflammation, redness, and decreased range of motion.
Although the common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, other types include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis, and thumb arthritis.
While osteoarthritis usually happens due to wear and tear of the cartilage (the hard, slippery tissue that encapsulates the ends of the bones where they form a joint).
It is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory condition wherein the body’s immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of the joint capsule causing a painful swelling that can ultimately result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
The theme for World Arthritis Day for the year 2020 is a continuation of the 2019 theme i.e. “Time to Work” which chiefly focuses to deliver a message to all the companies or employers to be more sensitive to the needs of employees living with arthritis.
Sitting at the desk for a good portion of the day might seem appealing for someone with arthritis.
But, regular movement is extremely necessary for keeping the joints agile and movable. So, employers should help out the employees diagnosed with arthritis by allowing them to take breaks, move around, provide them with ergonomic devices like an ergonomic chair, keyboard rest, a pillow to support the back, etc.
This article highlights alternative practices that can help one prevent or manage arthritis.
In Ayurveda, arthritis is defined as a condition that stems from the vitiation of the Vata Dosha within the joints.
With more and more people resorting to alternative treatments and therapies, people often prefer to go the natural way before taking any medications or go for surgical procedures. One such ageless practice is Yogasana which is literally the answer to most health anomalies.
Being an ancient and spiritual form of exercise, Yoga not only slowly mitigates stiffness and inflammation from the various parts of the body but also releases tension from the muscles and joints, improving overall posture and equilibrium.
So, break free from the lethargic lifestyle and practice these simple, easy to do yoga asanas to get relief from Arthritis:
How to help the Tree Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Vrikshasana)
- Stand tall and straight with arms by the side of your body.
- Bend your right knee and place the right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole should be placed flat and firmly near the root of the thigh.
- Make sure that your left leg is straight. Find your balance.
- Once you are well balanced, take a deep breath in, gracefully raise your arms over your head from the side, and bring your palms together in ‘Namaste’ mudra (hands-folded position).
- Look straight ahead in front of you, at a distant object. A steady gaze helps maintain a steady balance.
- Ensure that your spine is straight. Your entire body should be taut, like a stretched elastic band. Keep taking long deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Just be with the body and the breath with a gentle smile on your face.
- With slow exhalation, gently bring down your hands from the sides. You may gently release the right leg.
- Stand tall and straight as you did at the beginning of the posture. Repeat this pose with the left leg off the ground on the right thigh.
Benefits of the Tree Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Vrikshasana)
- This pose leaves you in a state of rejuvenation, It stretches the legs, back, and arms, and invigorates you.
- It brings balance and equilibrium to your mind.
- And can also help improve concentration.
- This posture has been found to relieve some cases of sciatica.
- It makes the legs strong, improves balance, and opens the hips.
- Helps those who are suffering from sciatica.
How to Help the Warrior Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Virabhadrasana)
- Stand straight with your legs wide apart by a distance of at least 3-4 feet.
- Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by about 15 degrees.
- Checkpoint: Is the heel of the right foot aligned to the center of the left foot?
- Lift both arms sideways to shoulder height with your palms facing upwards.
- Checkpoint: Are your arms parallel to the ground?
- Breathing out, bend your right knee.
- Checkpoint: Are your right knee and right ankle forming a straight line? Ensure that your knee does not overshoot the ankle.
- Turn your head and look to your right.
- As you settle down in the yoga posture stretch your arms further.
- Make a gentle effort to push your pelvis down. Hold the yoga posture with the determination of a warrior. Smile like a happy smiling warrior. Keep breathing as you go down.
- Breathing in, come up.
- Breathing out, bring your hands down from the sides.
- Repeat the yoga posture for the left side (turns your left foot out by 90 degrees and turns the right foot in by about 15 degrees).
Benefits of the Warrior Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Virabhadrasana)
- Strengthens and tones the arms, legs, and lower back.
- Improves balance in the body, helps increase stamina.
- Beneficial for those with sedentary or deskbound jobs.
- Extremely beneficial in the case of frozen shoulders.
- Releases stress in the shoulders very effectively in a short span of time.
- Brings auspiciousness, courage, grace, and peace.
How to Help the Bridge Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Setu Bandhasana)
- To begin, lie on your back.
- Fold your knees and keep your feet hip-distance apart on the floor, 10-12 inches from your pelvis, with knees and ankles in a straight line.
- Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing down.
- Inhaling, slowly lift your lower back, middle back, and upper back off the floor; gently roll in the shoulders; touch the chest to the chin without bringing the chin down, supporting your weight with your shoulders, arms, and feet. Feel your bottom firm up in this pose. Both the thighs are parallel to each other and to the floor.
- If you wish, you could interlace the fingers and push the hands on the floor to lift the torso a little more up, or you could support your back with your palms.
- Keep breathing easily.
- Hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release the pose.
Benefits of the Bridge Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Setu Bandhasana)
- Strengthens the back muscles
- Relieves the tired back instantaneously
- Gives a good stretch to the chest, neck, and spine
- Calms the brain, reducing anxiety, stress, and depression
- Opens up the lungs and reduces thyroid problems
- Helps improve digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual pain
- Helpful in asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
How To Do Cat Stretch Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Marjariasana)
- Come onto your fours. Form a table such that your back forms the tabletop and your hands and feet from the legs of the table.
- Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor, with the hands directly under the shoulders and flat on the ground; your knees are hip-width apart.
- Look straight ahead.
- As you inhale, raise your chin and tilt your head back, push your navel downwards and raise your tailbone. Compress your buttocks. Do you feel a slight tingle here?
- Hold the Cat pose and take long, deep breaths.
- Follow this by a countermovement: As you exhale, drop your chin to your chest and arch your back up as much as you can; relax the buttocks.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds before you return to the initial table-like stage.
- Continue five or six rounds before you come out of this yoga posture.
- When you do the movement slowly and gracefully, its effect is more powerful and meditative.
Benefits of Cat Stretch Yoga in Arthritis (Marjariasana)
- Brings flexibility to the spine
- Strengthens wrists and shoulders
- Massages the digestive organs and improves digestion
- Tones the abdomen
- Improves digestion
- Relaxes the mind
- Improves blood circulation
How to help the Triangle Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Trikonasana)
- Stand straight. Separate your feet comfortably wide apart (about 31/2 to 4 feet).
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees.
- Now align the center of your right heel with the center of your arch of the left foot.
- Ensure that your feet are pressing the ground and the weight of your body is equally balanced on both feet.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bend your body to the right, downward from the hips, keeping the waist straight, allowing your left hand to come up in the air while your right hand comes down towards the floor. Keep both arms in a straight line.
- Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the waist. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left palm.
- Ascertain that your body is bent sideways and not backward or forward. The pelvis and chest are wide open.
- Stretch maximum and be steady. Keep taking long deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Just be with the body and the breath.
- As you inhale, come up, bring your arms down to your sides, and straighten your feet.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
- Make sure you have done a good warm-up exercise of the whole body before you do the asana.
- While bending forward do it slowly and gently so as not to lose balance.
Benefits of the Triangle Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Trikonasana)
- Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest
- Stretches and opens the hips, groins, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine
- Increases mental and physical equilibrium
- Helps improve digestion
- Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain, and sciatica
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