Ease Arthritis Pain With This Gentle Yoga Practice
They say that age is a very high price to pay for maturity, and that may well be the case for some people who suffer with arthritis – but it doesn’t have to be true for you!
I have seen so many people turn back the clock when they take up a Gentle Yoga Practice! They experience great improvement in dealing with symptoms, as their flexibility, range of motion, and ease of movement are enhanced, regardless of their type of diagnosed arthritis.
This has a ripple effect into every area of their lives and as an added benefit they also experience great enhancement in their psychological well-being. Experiencing this myself first hand, and being a witness to many others who are improving their overall quality of life through Gentle Yoga is very inspiring.
How yoga helps
When we experience any pain, and especially pain caused by arthritis, we have a natural tendency to want to eliminate or reduce our activity level. This creates a multitude of other health challenges because our bodies are designed for movement. By moving our muscles we are strengthening and toning them, as well as keeping our connective tissues vital. We are also moving blood and lymphatic fluid, which purifies our body and keeps us feeling great. Moving stimulates our joints to release synovial fluid, which eases the movement of our bones inside the joints, so the more we move, the easier it gets, and the better it feels!
So while we may be reluctant to move, surrendering to this feeling will actually exacerbate the problem, and there is a very real danger of creating a downward spiral in all areas of our health, including our emotional well-being!
The key is to find and engage in movements as often as possible, but only the kind of movements that create a feeling of “ahhhh!” instead of “ouch!”.
When we practice Gentle Yoga, we are moving with awareness and attention, as we stay within the range of motion possible for us during that practice. If we are moving into the pain zone, we back off and do less, or do something different. When we slow things down by connecting the breath to the movement and feel the movement of prana (a Sanskrit word meaning energy or life-force and vitality), we can absolutely see results in one session.
In my practice, a very effective technique is using the power of visualization to breathe light and spaciousness into areas that are feeling uncomfortable or painful, and sensing the exhalation as releasing tension from these areas.
Participate In A Yoga Class In Your Community or Online
Seek out a Gentle practice with an experienced teacher who keeps you out of the pain zone.
I encourage you to explore classes in your area. Prior to attending a class at a studio or fitness facility, perform a due diligence exercise, by contacting the teacher before you go, to learn what style of yoga is taught, and to be sure they have experience with others dealing with Arthritis. Ask them about their experience with methods for modifying and adapting poses. Find out if they will provide you with testimonials or references from others who have been working with them successfully to manage, reduce, and reverse their arthritis symptoms.
Many studios offer Gentle and Restorative classes, and teachers from the Iyengar, Kripalu, Sivananda, Integral, and Viniyoga traditions typically have more to offer those who are dealing with arthritis.