As you may already know, yoga can act as an excellent tool for healing both mental and physical illnesses. In fact, staying physically active in any form has been shown to be good for your overall well being.
But staying physically active is easier for some than it is for others. For example, one of our programs is geared toward yoga for seniors, many of whom are affected by arthritis. Last year, an estimated 52.5 million adults in the Untied States alone reported having been diagnosed with some form of arthritis during their lifetime.
When it comes to treatment, physical activity can help; in fact, it’s a critical aspect of treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to Susan J. Bartlett, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, "It's important to keep muscles strong to support the joints, and movement is important to reduce stiffness.”
While not all forms of physical activity are viable options for individuals with arthritis, yoga is safe and effective. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, the practice of yoga can “increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, enhance respiratory endurance, and promote balance.” Because you can modify your yoga practice for your range of motion, it’s an excellent option for arthritis patients of all abilities and needs.
Beyond its physical benefits, yoga also reduces stress, which can worsen symptoms of RA in many cases. By helping individuals to relax and focus, yoga minimizes stressful thought processes and reduces blood pressure. You can learn more about how practicing yoga can alleviate arthritis pain here.
If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis or just feel as though joint pain is holding you back from physical activity in general, consider trying yoga. It may be just what you need to stay physically active (and reduce stress!) without putting additional strain on your body. To get you started, here are nine yoga poses that are great for arthritis relief.
Have you used yoga to treat physical pain? If you’re interested in sharing your story with other members of the Kula community who may benefit from your experience, get in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email with your comments.