YOGA AS AN ALTERNATE TREATMENT FOR ARTHRITIS
The conditions which causes joint pain or joint disease which leads to inflammation, loss of mobility and stiffness is normally known as "Arthritis". Arthritis generates pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. This in turn decreases the range of motion of the body and can have a serious limitationthe daily activities. Yoga can be definitely helpful in relieving the symptoms of arthritis. Regular practice of yoga helps in reducing many symptoms of arthritis, such as reducing pain, improving the joint mobility and helping with the managing of stress and anxiety. But it is always advisable to consult your doctor before starting as with any new practice.
Choosing a Correct Yoga Style
It may not be very beneficial for people with arthritis to just go for Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga classes. But it is always better to choose first the asanas which should be calmer in nature and which may allow for a little modification and use of props. The gradual pace of yin yoga can bring the stretch into the connective joints and tissues which may result in great relief. In Iyengar yoga various props are used which may be modified easily to match the special needs. Or a gentle Hatha yoga class or a restorative yoga class can be tried. A help from teacher is always advisable in case of feeling any difficulty.
The main aim of yoga poses for arthritis is to bring flexibility and fluidity into the joints, to stretch and relieve the joints and to strengthen the muscles around the joints and provide more stability. Yoga teaches us to move slow and in controlled motion and to try to continue moving the body such that further stiffness from inactivity can be avoided.
Some of the poses which can be beneficial to the arthritis patients has been described below:
Cat and Cow pose
The sequence of cat and cow pose is actually beneficial for the spine, but it also gives a little pressure to the wrist. The pose is like this. You get down to your hands and knees and your spine should be moved from cat to cow pose slowly. You can finish with some wrist circles in order to release and move the wrist joint. if you find that you are unable to put any pressure on your wrist, it would be better if you take two blocks and place your elbows on the blocks to free your hands.
to get relief from back pain and to put peace to the mind, some time should be spent in Child�s pose. You can keep your hands folded under your forehead or you can keep your hands on the mat straight. For more comfort on knees and legs, a pillow or a bolster may be used between the calves and the buttocks. This will get the body to more rest in this position.
When the full weight of the body to rest on one only one leg at a time, this strengthens and tones the joints and the muscles in the standing leg. This also strengthens the hip joint and the knees and improves the body balance. For this you have to stand on one leg keeping the foot of the other leg on the shin of the standing leg. Your arms should be kept in Anjali mudra and kept close to your chest.
Cow Face Pose
In this pose one arm should be placed behind the back keeping the forearm horizontal in a crossed legs sitting position while the other arm should be brought behind over the shoulder. The legs should be crossed such that one knee may be placed just over the other knee. This pose is very good for stretching of the upper body. The shoulders and the arms are stretched as well as the hip joints and the spine are also stretched. The blood circulation in the ankles and knees improves. It also helps in improving the lubrication of your joints which relieves from swellings and pain.
To get to this pose you should lie on the floor with the feet flat keeping the knees pointing up arms keeping the arms parallel to the body on the floor. If you feel comfortable you can keep your hands under your body interlacing your fingers. This pose is great for helping the opening the spine and hips and relieves any stiffness in this area. But this pose should be avoided if you have pain in the neck or any injury.
In case you feel a pain in your joints then completely avoid the stretching until a time when the pain subsides or modify the pose to suit your requirement. Yoga provides you with a whole lot of flexibility. Its aim is to reduce pain and not add to it. Hence, yoga is started in a very slow and careful manner and the yoga poses can always be tailored to suit your abilities.