Can Yoga Help Arthritis?
There are a lot of individuals out there that due to age and other contributing factors suffer from arthritis. With this type of health issue, you may find yourself dealing with immense pain all from the joints and muscles you use every day all day. In the end, arthritis can leave you with a reduced range of motion and the inability to move easily. That's why a lot of doctors suggest utilizing low-impact exercises to help reduce the symptoms of this chronic disease.
You may be thinking to yourself low impact, that sounds like yoga! Well, you're right, yoga due to its focus on the improvement of flexibility and motion as well as strengthening of your muscles is a perfect form of exercise and can easily be done by those suffering from arthritis.
Yoga can definitely help arthritis symptoms, as well as help in a whole slew of other health concerns, including spiritual and mental health. But today we're going to take a look at how yoga can help with arthritis and give you a few other important pieces of information so that you can make an educated decision about utilizing yoga for this health concern.
Challenges of Exercising with Arthritis
Because of the inflammation and pain that comes with arthritis, exercise can be challenging for some. That's why many practitioners and healers look to find lower impact options. You can't just simply hit the gym when you have arthritis because certain movements are going to exacerbate your symptoms more.
Along with this when it comes to the challenges of exercising while suffering from arthritis is the fact that oftentimes there is a reduced level of mobility and range of motion. That means that some exercises will be incredibly difficult and painful from the very beginning.
You have to find exercises that are low impact but still offer you the strengthening of muscles and the improvement of your flexibility, like yoga. By doing this you'll be able to alleviate a lot of the symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, and pain.
Yoga & Arthritis: Tips For Getting Started
Though yoga can help with arthritis because of its low impact nature, there are still some tips that we have that should be able to help you start your yoga practice on the right foot. Here are a few of those:
When looking to find a yoga class, you're going to want to pay attention to not only the style (which we'll discuss later) but also the person teaching it. There will be some instructors that understand your condition more and that way be able to help you customize the movements to your needs.
Some poses are perfect for individuals that are suffering from arthritis. But sometimes there are poses within yoga practice that aren't necessarily tailored for them. So when in this position, you'll want to make sure that you can customize those poses to your body's capabilities.
You have to understand that there will be a variety of things that affect whether you can execute oppose or not from week to week when dealing with arthritis. If you have a flare-up, a position that you did last week could be very challenging for you this week. If this is the case, then you have to understand that and move forward in a way that you can keep your practice consistent.
Listen to Your Body
The best warning system on whether a yoga pose, or movement is right for your body, is your body itself. You need to pay attention to the feelings of your body. If something is painful, you need to stop and either adjust it or find another pose that can give you the same benefits without agitating your joints.
Consult A Physician
Lastly, the biggest tip that most experts will say is before you begin to think about yoga helping you with your arthritis, you need to consult a physician. They may be able to guide you to practitioners and styles that can be beneficial. Or give you alternative suggestions if they feel that it could potentially cause issues down the road.
Can Yoga Help Arthritis? Benefits of Yoga & Arthritis
Most physicians and healers will suggest, as we said, low impact exercises when it comes to dealing with arthritic joints. Yoga can help with arthritis because it meets these criteria. The practice of yoga deals with measured movements of your body, as well as helping you become more aware of that body.
The measured movements allow for increased mobility and flexibility. This can also help strengthen your joints and muscles so that there is less chance of inflammation. On a mental note, it helps the individuals create a mental calm and build skills that help them cope with challenges in their life.
Yoga also focuses on breathwork which is a key component in dealing with pain management. All of this combined is what allows people to take advantage of the wealth of benefits that yoga can bring when dealing with arthritis.
What Type of Yoga Would Be Good?
Now that you understand that yoga can help with arthritis, you may be wondering what type of yoga would be best for you. Though all yoga is going to mix physical postures and breathing with meditative practices, there may be some that will assist in the decreasing of arthritic symptoms more than others.
Here are a few of the types of yoga that we think are excellent for those suffering from arthritis:
Hatha is more of an overarching category of yoga classes. There are multiple different styles, but if you're looking at a beginner class, you're going to notice that they utilize measure movements and hold those positions for longer than other options. This can help strengthen muscles and reduce the stress on certain joints.
This may be the most commonly recommended option when it comes to yoga for arthritis. This is because the style has been customized to deal with people that suffer from limited mobility and utilizes props to help them achieve harder poses. Iyengar yoga focuses on body alignment and movements executed to perfect precision.
Bikram yoga is often also called hot yoga. This means that the yoga practice is executed in a very warm room, which will allow for more flexibility in the softer tissues of your body. This is perfect for those suffering from arthritic joints because this will allow them to feel more comfortable in bending and flexing.
This type of yoga focuses a lot more on stretching and breathing than other styles of yoga. For those suffering from arthritic joints, the holding of the poses for longer (up to two minutes) can actually make the muscles around the joints and the joints themselves feel better without putting them through too much stress. This is a perfect option if you're looking to not only help with your chronic arthritis symptoms, but anxiety and stress as well.
Breathwork is a key component in pain management. So the fact that this yoga focuses on movements that are coincided precisely with certain types of breath is a great thing for those dealing with arthritis. Not only that but because of the poses utilized in it, you will be able to build muscle which is always good for helping with the support of those arthritic joints.
Yoga can help with arthritis, as long as you do your research and choose the right instructor and yoga style. We hope that by taking an in-depth look at this topic, we have helped you on the path to being able to manage your arthritis symptoms so that you can live a happier, healthier life.