People with arthritis need regular physical activity to keep joints flexible, maintain muscle tone and manage weight. They all find yoga a perfect way to exercise. The gentle, flowing poses of a well-structured remedial yoga class is less stressful on sore joints than other types of movement.
In fact, yoga is proven to help people with arthritis improve many physical and psychological symptoms. Recent scientific studies of people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga
- can help reduce joint pain
- improve joint flexibility and function
- and lower stress and tension
- promote better sleep.
Yoga comes in many different forms, some of which are quite strong and challenging to the joints. It is very important to find a teacher who understands arthritis and its symptoms to choose the most appropriate postures, along with coordinated breathing and meditation exercises.
Yoga has many other benefits for people with stiff joints due to arthritis. Stretching exercises in general help improve range of motion, which aids flexibility and mobilty – effectively creating more movement in the stiff and restricted joints.
On days when you’re experiencing a painful arthritis flare, doing some type of physical activity like yoga, if possible, can help you maintain joint flexibility. However, it’s very important not to overtax flaring joints, which is why having an experienced and understanding teacher is critical.
Some yoga poses need to be modified for people with arthritis, depending on which joints are compromised or painful. A good remedial class will have chairs, bolsters, blocks and other props like straps or blankets to help maintain stability and support the body during practice.
Before starting a yoga regimen, speak to your rheumatologist or GP to ensure that you are ready for it. Discuss what type of modifications might be appropriate for your unique condition and inform your prospective teacher of this. If the teacher doesn’t immediately show enough knowledge and understanding of your condition, asking relevant questions, then find someone who is experienced and educated enough to take care of your precious joints.
Yoga’s emphasis on introspective thought – pinpointing the sources of pain or anxiety and learning to relax them – is also very useful for people with arthritis. At Diversity Yoga, we use elements of cognitive behavioural psychology to explore the difference between pain and discomfort during practice, this helps to reframe negative responses and literally to “make peace” with the painful body.
Can Yoga Fight Inflammation?
Many forms of arthritis, especially autoimmune ones like rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, involve inflammation. This is a bodily reaction that causes joint swelling, redness, and pain and eventually destroys the joint components. Yoga is a gentle, soothing form of physical activity for someone with these symptoms. But can regular yoga practice actually help reduce inflammation?
In 2010, a study at Ohio State University in Columbus, measured key blood markers for inflammation in a study of 50 healthy women practicing basic Hatha yoga postures and found promising results.
Other recent studies do show that yoga can help people with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) improve symptoms. A 2009 study conducted at the Dubai Bone and Joint Centre in Dubai, looked at the effects of a biweekly yoga program for people with RA. Twenty-six out of 47 study subjects participated in 12 yoga sessions. It reported significant improvements in measurements of disease activity.
An older study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 showed that yoga could provide relief for people with hand osteoarthritis, a common condition that can impair daily activities like dressing, driving a car or cooking. An eight-week yoga regimen improved hand pain, tenderness and finger range of motion in the participants.
How can Diversity Yoga help with arthritis?
We offer a remedial yoga class on Thursday evenings in Farnborough at 6pm aimed specifically at those with less mobility, and arthritis.
Cathy Richardson is a senior yoga teacher and yoga therapist, and her clients have experienced excellent results in becoming pain free and more mobile. Founder of Diversity Yoga, Cathy’s aim is to help those in pain and discomfort live with more ease in their bodies.
Our classes are well-equipped with lots of props to aid practice, and class number for remedial yoga are limited to 10 to ensure individual attention. Cathy’s aim is to get to know each person’s needs, and often in our classes the same posture is practiced in a range of different ways to give each person optimal benefit with maximum risk-prevention.
To find out more, please email us here.
Or sign up to a 3-week class pass for Easy Yoga in Farnborough using this link.
We look forward to helping you smile, move, breathe and live with comfort in your own body!
Positive reviews for Cathy Richardson’s work for people with arthritis:
Chris Andrews: “I have osteoarthritis in both hips and over the past few months have experienced both reduction in pain and improved mobility. Diversity Yoga is a great place for mind and body – highly recommended” – July 2019
Jane Redhead: “I have attended Cathy’s yoga sessions for nearly a year and I just love them. I cannot recommend Cathy’s instruction, her advice and support highly enough. My arthritic knee is so much better, and I am more mobile and flexible” – June 2019
Sarah Williams: “Cathy’s yoga course specifically for back pain was absolutely amazing! I love Cathy’s teaching style which is so helpful and has given me the confidence to start practicing at home. After 6 weeks my hip pain has almost completely gone, and I know what to do to ensure that it doesn’t come back” – May 2018
Pam Williams: “Cathy is THE most incredible yoga teacher. Each person receives individual attention in her classes” – June 2018
Judith Oak: “I loved my one to one sessions with Cathy. She knew exactly what I needed to help with my postural challenges and has given me lots of really useful postures to work with at home, which are really helping me to help myself.” – May 2019