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Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to unite’. Yoga practice is a 3000-year-old practice meant for healing. It is a process for uniting the body with the mind and breath and Yoga asanas or poses is the mode of exercise to achieve that unity.
Yoga asanas or poses help to strengthen and relax the body. The practice of yoga has been thought to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions around 3000 BCE.
Yoga practice due to its efficacy has now been adopted by different countries and with each passing time, the practice is becoming more and more popular owing to its healing abilities.
According to Yoga Journal, the practice of yoga not only can heal your body but will enrich your mind too. Since ancient times yoga asanas were recommended to treat chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Let us discuss now the cause of arthritis and later about particular asanas to ease arthritis pain-
The inflammation in the joint causes Arthritis. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which intensifies with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Knee pain, wrist pain, hand pain, joint pain are common with arthritis. There are some yoga asanas or poses that help to ease the arthritis pain. In fact, Yoga is one f the epitome pillar of Ayurveda.
In ayurvedic science,’yoga’ finds a special mention in healing ailing joints. Ayurvedic medicine along with the practice of yoga has proven its efficacies in treating joint pain related to arthritis.
Numerous research has been conducted on the efficacies of Ayurvedic treatments and now institutes like‘ WHO’ have given their nod for the kind of ayurvedic treatments and consider it as a major alternate medicine. We will discuss the yoga asanas that can relieve arthritis in the next section but before that let’s understand the benefits of yoga asanas for arthritis:
Yoga nowadays has gained worldwide momentum as an alternate form of exercise. The whole world now celebrates ‘Yoga Day’. According to global statistics, the number of Yoga practitioners is predicted to rise to a staggering 55 million people, by 2020 in the USA alone says- Sarvesh Shashi, CEO & CO-founder, Sarva- Yoga, Mindfulness and Beyond
The article published in the Yoga Journal states that yoga practice can is immensely helpful for overall healthy well-being and is also effective in reducing lower back pain associated with arthritis.
Studies show that the breathing exercise involved in yoga practice has immense benefits. The yoga postures help to release the tension in the muscles that can provide relief to patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Related Read: What does Ayurveda says about arthritis?
Another article published in the Yoga Journal states that the concept of yoga is not to achieve perfection in the yoga pose but to observe the process and be mindful about it.
People tend to push themselves harder in trying to attempt the correct postures and in the process often hurt their own body which is not the motive of Yoga- says Dr. Chaitra, a certified yoga teacher.
Here are 8 yoga asanas that can be beneficial for your arthritis pain:
Surya Namaskar is known as ‘The Ultimate Asana’ and is good for arthritis. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses. Surya Namaskar is also known to have an immensely positive impact on the body and mind.
Surya Namaskar is recommended to do early in the morning on an empty stomach for effective results as the morning atmosphere will help you to focus more on the process.
Lauren Harris, a New York City-based yoga instructor has very well described the process of Surya Namaskar in a recently published article on Eveready Health – “Stand with both feet touching, and then bring your hands together, palm-to-palm, and place them at your heart. Exhale and raise your arms upward. Slowly bend backward and stretch your arms above the head. “Relax your neck and inhale
The benefits of Surya Namaskar are as follows:
2. Setubandhasana (Bridge pose)
The Setu Bandha Sarvangasana stretches your chest, neck, and spine areas. It is good for your arthritis pain. It also massages your internal organs and expands your chest muscles.
This asana helps to release the tension in the muscles, thus providing relief to the muscle strains and sprains. Joint pain is often caused by muscle sprains and the tension between joints. Setubandasana help to reduce muscle pain.
Also Read: 5 Natural Ways To Relieve Muscle Strains
To perform the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge pose, lie down on your back, with your arms next to your body, palms facing down. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Now, taking the support of your shoulders, arms, and feet, lift your back off the floor.
During the process, focus on your breathing and let it be a natural process. Do not force your breath. Some major benefits of this asana are as follows:
3. Marjariasana (Cat stretch)
The Marjariasana is an asana that includes the forward bends. The asana helps to release the tension in the spine by giving it a nice stretch. Marjariasana is called the cat pose because Marjari means Cat, hence Marjari asana i.e., Cat Pose.
According to yoga experts, the back and forth movements involved in the process help in the circulation of the spinal fluids that also help strengthen the spine. This particular yoga pose is good for back pain and for osteoarthritis patients.
To perform this asana- Place both your hands on the floor bending your body towards the floor. Stretch out your spine forming a curve upwards. Inhale gently and create support for your spine by placing your feet on the floor. Let your shoulders stretch as much as it can but without pressurizing on it. Stay awhile in this posture and exhale as you come out of the pose.
The major benefits of Marjariasana are as follows:
4. Balasana ( Child’s Pose)
Yoga asanas were practiced in ancient times not only to rejuvenate the mind but to balance out the energy of the body. Balasana or a child’s pose is such asana that not only calms the mind but balances out the ‘Vata’ energy in the body.
According to the Ayurvedic principle, the disbalance of Vata energy in the body is responsible for arthritis problems. Balasana help to ease the arthritis pain by improving the joint flexibility and relieving muscle strains.
To perform this pose, kneel on all fours, and relax your hips on your heels. Spread your arms out. Rest your head down on the floor. Inhale deeply and hold the position for a few seconds.
The major benefits of Balasana are as follows:
5. Bitilasana ( Cow pose)
Bitilasana or Cow pose helps to relieve your joint pain if practice regularly. The asana also helps to increase the mobility of the spine. According to Ayurveda, this particular asana helps to activate the ‘second chakra’ in the body which boosts creativity and stimulates the spiritual enhancement of a being.
To perform the pose, rest your hand on the floor just like in the cat pose. Pull your tummy inwards. Place your feet on the floor. Inhale deeply. Raise your hips slightly. Look upward and stay in this pose for a while. Relax and come out of the pose.
The major benefits of Bitilasana are as follows:
6. Tadasna ( Mountain Pose)
Tadasana comes from the Sanskrit words “tada” means “mountain”. It is good for knee pain and ankle pain. Tadasana if practiced regularly can also be helpful for aging people to reduce joint pain.
However, elderly people should not stress their body while practicing yoga asanas. It is advised to practice yoga under a certified teacher for better guidance and for better results.
To perform the pose- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and interlock your fingers. Now raise your heel. Inhale gently and stretch your arms upwards. Stay for a while in this pose. Relax and come out of the pose.
The major benefits of Tadasana are as follows:
Yoga asanas are good for overall health and the practice of yoga is an ancient practice meant for healing and uniting the body with the mind. Yoga asanas boost circulation and increase joint mobility and flexibility that help to reduce arthritis pain.