Yoga for Arthritis

Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation of the joints, which can manifest as variable amounts of pain, stiffness, and swelling. Practising yoga regularly can reduce pain, increase flexibility, improve function and lower stress caused by arthritic problems. Yoga can really work to improve physical arthritis symptoms like pain and stiffness.

Recent scientific studies of people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep. Yoga comes in many different forms, but generally involves positioning the body in various poses along with coordinated breathing and meditation exercises.

Following few asanas are good for people suffering from arthritis:

  1. Trikona-asana (Triangle posture)

This posture is also known as the utthita trikona-asana.

Sthiti: Stand erect with feet close together, hands along the thighs, fingers stretched out.

Instructions:

  1. Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tada-asana).
  2. Raise both the hands slowly till they reach the horizontal position as the right foot is moved to about a metre away from the left foot. Inhale.
  3. Slowly bend to the right side in the same plane. The fingers of the right hand should touch the right foot. The left arm is raised straight up, in line with the right hand with palms facing forward. Stretch up the left arm and see along the fingers.

*After returning to the vertical potion, first with hands horizontal and then downwards

*Repeat on the left side.

  1. ParivarthaTrikonasana (Triangle Posture)

Sthiti: Stand erect with feet close together, hands along the thighs, fingers stretched out.

Instructions:

  1. Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides
  2. Separate the feet slightly further than shoulder distance apart.
  3. Inhale and raise both arms straight out from the shoulders parallel to the floor with the palms facing down.
  4. Exhale slowly while turning the torso to the left, bend at the waist and bring the right hand down to the left ankle. The palm of the right hand is placed along the outside of the left ankle. The left arm should be extended upward. Both legs and arms are kept straight without bending the knees and elbows.
  5. Turn the head upward to the left and gaze up at the fingertips of the left hand. Inhale and return to a standing position with the arms outstretched.
  6. Hold this position for the duration of the exhaled breath. Exhale and repeat steps 4 – 6 steps on the opposite side.

Benefits:- This Parivrutta trikona-asana is an excellent posture to do early in your routine. The forward bending and lifting stimulates blood flow and helps to stretch and relax the back, shoulders, legs and arms as well as increases the flow of blood to the head. The muscles of the thighs and calves as well as the hamstrings are stretched. The slight twist of the spine creates suppleness in the spinal discs and relieves discomforts due to arthritics.

  1. Pada Hasthasana

Come to Thadasana.

Instructions:

  1. Stand erect with legs together, raise the arms parallel to the ground.
  2. Raise the hands. Inhale while going up. Stretch the body from the coccyx.
  3. Making the back concave, bend forward till the body comes to horizontal position. Attempt to push the bottom of the spine forward while bending. Breathe out while going down. Then inhale.
  4. While exhaling go down, till the palms can rest on the ground and forehead can touch the knees. Retain the position for about 2 minutes without allowing the knee to bend and then return to Sthiti.

Benefits :  Makes the spine flexible, helps t remove back pain and the stretching of the legs and joints promotes circulation to the lower side of the body whereby relieves pain due to arthritics.

  1. Vriksha-asana (The Tree Pose)

Instructions:

  1. Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see thadasana).
  2. Bend the right leg at the knee, raise the right thigh and bring the sole of the right foot as high up the inside of the left thigh as possible.
  3. While balancing the left foot, raise both the arms over the head while keeping the elbows unbent and joining the palms together.
  4. Hold the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils for about 10 complete breaths.
  5. Lower the arms and right leg and return to the tadasana, standing position with feet together and arms at the sides. Pause for a few moments and repeat on the opposite leg.
  6. The challenge of the vriksha-asana is maintaining balance on one leg. Poor balance is often the result of a restless mind or distracted attention. Regular practice of this posture will help focus the mind and cultivate concentration (dharana).
  7. Aim to achieve the “rootedness” and firmness of a tree. Regular practice of the vriksha-asana improves concentration, balance and coordination. Because the weight of the entire body is balanced on one foot, the muscles of that leg are strengthened and toned as well.

Helps in curing arthritic problems.

  1. Garudasana: Eagle Pose

Instructions:

  1. Stand in Sthiti bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right. Point your left toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf. Balance on the right foot.
  2. Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor, and spread your scapula wide across the back of your torso. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows. Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left, and raise the forearms perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should be facing each other.
  3. Press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left, so that the palms are now facing each other. The thumb of the right hand should pass in front of the little finger of the left. Now press the palms together (as much as is possible for you), lift your elbows up, and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling.
  4. Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms and stand in Tadasana again. Repeat for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed.
  5. Press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left, so that the palms are now facing each other.
  6. The thumb of the right hand should pass in front of the little finger of the left.
  7. Now press the palms together (as much as is possible for you), lift your elbows up, and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling.
  8. Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms and stand in Tadasana again. Repeat for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed.
  1. VEERABHADRASAN

Instructions:

  1. Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
  2. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle.
  3. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.
  4. Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don’t lean the torso over the left thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.

Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

– Geetha Balakrishnan

geeths95@yahoo.in

Art

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