According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 4 adults in the United States suffer from this condition. Arthritis can affect children as well. While there are over 100 types of arthritis, common forms include Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, and Fibromyalgia. The joints most affected with Osteoarthritis, in which the cartilage between the bones decays over time, tend to be present in the hands, knees, and hips.
The term arthritis comes from the Greek words arthon meaning “joint” and itis meaning “inflammation”. While the cause of arthritis is unknown, generally weight, age, and genetics can play a role. Engaging in joint-friendly physical activity is one of several ways to treat and manage arthritis. With low impact activity like walking, biking, swimming, or yoga, you can improve your body's function, mood, and quality of life. Furthermore, physical activity can delay the onset of arthritis-related disability.
“While there is no cure for arthritis, it is manageable,” notes Yoga Anytime teacher Patricia Sullivan. “There are many ways to manage it.”
One way to treat your arthritis, she notes, is to make simple changes to how you move. “Any activity that you are doing that hurts a joint that's affected by arthritis is making it worse. So that kind of pain, no matter how small or large the movement is that you're making, needs to be changed.” How can I sit differently to bring less pain to my knees? How can I lift up a heavy object without pain in my hands? Pushing through an activity and ignoring the pain can actually make arthritic symptoms worse.
“Pain, it’s trying to give us a message,” Ms. Sullivan adds. “This is true with any kind of resistance that we may have to mental, emotional feelings as well. It's so easy to get involved in mental and emotional resistance and that, I have noticed, makes my pain worse.”
By practicing yoga, you not only develop physical discipline, but also a greater sense of awareness mentally. You will learn to stay in the present moment, whether it be through a seated meditation or a vinyasa practice.
Being aware of how your body moves in the present moment will ultimately help you stay centered and maintain alignment, notes Ms. Sullivan. The key is to be gentle, acknowledge pain points, and make the appropriate adjustments to how you move. Remember, yoga is an individual practice that should support your personal journey. As you begin to move more confidently in your body, you will feel more joyful and motivated to maintain good movement habits.
Yoga is a great, joint-friendly activity to manage and treat arthritis. Yoga not only strengthens your body’s function and mobility, but also can reduce stress and improve mood. We recommend the following shows for you to practice:
Short, focused, fun routines you can do every day to maintain and improve joint health.
These practices will help you improve your posture, prevent injuries, and feel stronger and more confident in how you move.
Practices to center the mind, increase mobility and strength, and rediscover your enduring essence.
Relieve common ailments with these simple and effective yoga practices.
Has yoga helped you manage and treat your arthritis? Leave us a comment below!
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