People practice yoga for many reasons. Some want to improve their flexibility. Others use it as a meditative practice to improve their mental health. While there’s no denying the multiple benefits of yoga, it’s important to shine a light on it as a way to deal with arthritis.
When done consistently and correctly, yoga is a fantastic way to manage the effects of chronic pain, including the often debilitating discomfort brought on by arthritis.
You don’t have to be in great shape to start practicing yoga right away. By being mindful of it and incorporating it into your daily routine, you can alleviate some of your pain, reduce the stress often associated with that pain, and feel rejuvenated each day, instead of trapped by the effects of your condition.
Let’s take a closer look at how yoga helps with arthritis, as well as some of the best ways to incorporate yogic movement into your everyday life.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga for Arthritis?
Before you start a yoga routine, you might be wondering exactly how it can help with your arthritis and the pain associated with it.
Yoga helps with chronic pain by changing your perception. Even before you start to experience the physical benefits, it can change your outlook on life. Yoga helps you to be more mindful and focused while you’re doing it. As a result, you’ll be less focused on your pain and its negative influence. It serves as a temporary distraction, but the mental benefits can stick with you long after each session.
Physically, yoga can boost your health in a variety of ways. Some of the benefits of yoga for arthritis include:
● Reduced inflammation
● Improved mobility
● Greater flexibility
● Increased muscle strength
These physical benefits can all cause your pain to feel less severe while boosting your overall strength and well-being. If your arthritis has been holding you back from living a full life, practicing yoga each day is a wonderful way to regain some of that independence.
Incorporating Yoga Into Your Routine
Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise across the globe. It’s also one of the oldest, which should speak volumes about the benefits.
If you want to incorporate yoga into your life, there’s no shortage of ways to make it happen. Start by looking at your local gym. Many fitness centers have yoga classes regularly. You’ll be guided by an instructor and involved in a class with other people. Alternatively, there are independent instructors who host their own classes – often in a studio, or even outdoors. With a little bit of local research, it shouldn’t take long to find an organized class near you.
However, if you want to take things slow and incorporate yoga into your daily routine on your own, it’s easier than ever to do. There are countless videos online that will make it easy for you to follow a professional and learn new poses. Before long, you can incorporate yoga into your daily self-care routine. People who exercise regularly tend to experience less chronic pain. Incorporating yoga each day can also boost your mental health, reducing the risk of anxiety and depression, which aren’t uncommon for people dealing with consistent pain.
This type of exercise is especially important for seniors. Arthritis is common in older individuals and tends to get worse with age. Light exercises like yoga can help to make your pain more manageable and decrease its effects as you get older.
The Best Yoga Poses to Get Started
Again, there are more resources available than ever when it comes to getting started with yoga. Don’t assume you have to twist yourself into any crazy positions as a beginner. Instead, do some research on beginner poses and find an in-person instructor or online trainer that fits your needs.
If you’re ready to start incorporating yoga into your life right away, try some of the following poses that can specifically help with arthritis in your knees and hips:
● Side plank on forearm
● Warrior I
● Bridge pose
● Gate pose
● Tree pose
Out of these, the tree pose is likely the easiest one to start with. Simply stand up straight with both feet on the ground. Shift all of your weight to one leg for balance, and slowly bend your other knee toward your chest, pressing the bottom of your foot into the leg you’re using for balance. This pose helps with everything from core stability to knee extension mobility.
As you’re getting started, either in a class or on your own, take extra precautions to keep yourself safe and free from injuries. Don’t push yourself to the point of discomfort. Yoga is meant to reduce pain and help you experience mindfulness over your arthritis. Over time, you’ll become more in tune with your body and learn where your “edge” is. Your poses won’t be exactly the same as someone next to you. They might not even be the same as your instructor. Do what you can without discomfort, and you’ll get the most out of the experience.