7 Yoga Poses for Arthritis Pain - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 15, 2016

7 Yoga Poses for Arthritis Pain

Yoga’s benefits extend to arthritis sufferers too.

Studies have found that regular yoga
practice can help reduce joint pain.

Yoga has long been credited with a range of benefits to both physical and mental health. Its poses, breathing techniques and meditation have been shown to help people manage their weight, improve flexibility, cope with stress, and more.

Yoga’s benefits extend to arthritis sufferers too. Studies have found that regular yoga practice can help improve joint flexibility and function, reduce joint pain, lower stress and tension, and promote better sleep. It can also make a difference in joint tenderness and swelling.

Another aspect of yoga that makes it great for individuals with arthritis is that it can be modified to help protect your joints and adapted to meet your specific needs – if you have issues with your wrists, you can make adjustments to protect them.

Yoga has also been shown to build positive feelings, boost energy, and ease anxiety. For people with an ongoing illness, especially one that’s painful and unpredictable like arthritis, yoga’s ability to boost your mood can help you feel better inside and out. Practicing yoga helps you learn how to relax and let go of muscle tension, which is ideal for arthritis sufferers since stress can worsen symptoms.

Here are some poses great for arthritis pain.

1. Cobra Pose

Lay face down with your palms flat on the floor beside your chest, elbows close to your body, and the top of your feet on the floor. If you can’t put your palms on the floor, you can use your fists or elbows instead. Lift your head, neck and chest off of the floor and look forward while keeping your legs and feet down on the floor. You shouldn’t use your arms to get into this position, but rather your upper back muscles. Too see if you’re doing it right, try lifting your hands off of the floor and maintain the pose.

2. Seated Spinal Twist

Start sitting on the floor or in a chair with your legs extended. Pull up one knee in toward your chest and cross it over your other leg, which is still extended. Try planting your bent leg’s foot on the floor and pull your leg in as close to your opposite hip as possible. Wrap your opposite arm or hand around your bent knee and hug it into your body. Make sure to sit up tall and lengthen your spine.

3. Forward Fold

Starting in a standing position, bend your hips and slowly roll down your spine to hang forward. Keep your weight in the middle of your feet, not in your toes or heels. Don’t lock your knees or roll your feet in or out. Your relaxed upper body and head should hang without any tension.

4. Cow Pose

Get on all fours and place your hands shoulder width apart with your wrists directly under your shoulders with your fingers spread out wide. Your knees should be in line with and underneath your hips. Bring your chest forward and up toward the ceiling as your shoulder blades press down toward your waist. Tip your pelvis up and back so your sitting bones reach up.

5. Cat Pose

Reverse the cow pose into the cat pose. On all fours, pull your navel in and up to round out your spine, arching away from the floor. Reach your hips back to your ankles to increase the space between each of your vertebra.

6. Bridge Pose

Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Press your feet and arms into the floor and push your tailbone up, tighten your buttocks, and lift them off the floor until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Your knees should stay directly over your heels.

7. Downward-facing Dog

Start on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your hands and turn your toes under before pushing your knees away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it toward the upper part of your hips. Lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling and draw your inner legs into your groin area from your ankles.

You should discuss yoga with your doctor or rheumatologist before you try it for the first time. And once you get started, it’s important to listen to your body – a stretching feeling is good, but pain, especially if it’s sharp, should signal you that a certain pose may not be right for you.

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