Yoga, a spiritual discipline, is based on a very subtle science. It is over 5000 years old and focuses on balancing mind and body. As a result, it reduces the risk of many diseases. Moreover, it also helps in relieving pain and stress. One such disease is rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, swelling and stiffness in human joints.
It also causes degeneration of the synovial membrane of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is common in women of all ages, but women between the ages of 50 and 60 are more prone to it. Although there is no cure, yoga can benefit by slowing the progression of this disease.
How Yoga Benefits Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
To research suggests how people with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit physically and psychologically from regular yoga practice. Yoga helps RA patients improve their flexibility, making daily physical activities like walking easier. In addition, it allows you to regain muscle strength, increasing the flexibility and mobility of the joints.
Yoga incorporates deep breathing, which reduces stress levels in arthritis patients, which is usually a side effect that intensifies the disease. It can help reduce inflammation and pain. Moreover, it can also be adapted to meet the individual needs of most people.
Yoga poses for rheumatoid arthritis
1. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This pose relieves joint pain by making the knees strong and flexible. It helps relieve pain caused by sitting in one position for long hours. It also stretches the lungs, chest, and shoulders while strengthening the spine. In addition, it boosts energy, aids digestion and fights fatigue. This pose can also benefit older people with knee discomfort.
- The first thing to do is to lie on your stomach with your feet apart and your hands along your sides.
- Then, extend your toes backwards and press them down.
- Inhale and press your hands to the floor. Start lifting your head and chest.
- Now keep your arms straight. Stretch your neck and focus on raising your chest.
- Finally, exhale and release slightly towards the floor.
Avoid performing this operation if you:
- Have a serious spinal injury.
- Feel discomfort or pain in your lower back.
- Are pregnant.
- Having wrist pain or a related medical condition.
2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This backbend stretches the thighs and opens the chest, increasing blood flow to the trunk, hips, and thighs. It also helps strengthen finger joints, wrists and shoulders. Plus, it reduces back pain, stress, and anxiety. Finally, it brings a better alignment of body and mind.
- Step 1: Begin by lying on your back. Let your head and shoulders rest on the floor.
- Step 2: Bend your knees to place the soles of your feet flat on the floor. The feet should be parallel and about hip height apart.
- Step 3: Bring your feet inward, inhale, and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Press your forearms into the floor to further lift your hips.
- Step 4: Keep thighs apart and parallel to hip height. Move your chest toward your chin, extending your tailbone toward your feet. Relax your face and hold the pose for five deep breaths.
- Step 5: As you exhale, release your hands. Slowly lower your hips and lie back on the floor.
- Avoid performing the bridge pose if you have a shoulder injury.
- Do not tilt your head during practice.
- Do not perform if you have a fracture, severe osteoporosis or joint dysfunction.
3. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
This pose improves the strength of the legs and back muscles while improving the balance of the body. Its regular practice strengthens and increases the range of motion of the knee and spine. In addition, it helps relieve arthritis pain.
- Step 1: Stand with your legs together. Lift one leg slightly so that most of your weight is on the other leg.
- Step 2: Place the heel of your foot on the thigh of the other leg. Bring it as close to the pool as possible.
- Step 3: Slowly raise your hands above your head. Point your fingers up, palms facing each other.
- Step 4: Hold the position and breathe deeply. Slowly lower your legs to the floor.
- Do not practice it if your blood pressure is low.
- Avoid it if you have a serious leg or thigh injury or a headache.
4. Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)
This pose is amazing for improving blood circulation. It stretches the calf muscles and hamstrings. It helps strengthen the neck and shoulders. Moreover, it increases your vitality and cures impotence.
- Step 1: Sit straight on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Step 2: Stretch your arms upward while inhaling. Exhale and bend forward towards your toes while keeping your spine straight.
- Step 3: With your fingertips, hold the big toe. Take regular breaths.
- Step 4: Exhale and slowly lean forward, bringing your forehand to your knees while keeping your elbows on the ground.
- Step 5: Stay in this position for 10-15 seconds. Then, slowly return to a seated position.
- Do not perform if you have a slip disc, back injury or abdominal ulcer.
- Do not stretch completely if you are on your period or pregnant.
- Avoid doing this if you have been pregnant for more than two months.
5. Triangular Pose (Trikonasana)
This pose helps stretch the spine. It unlocks the hip and shoulder flexors, allowing for more flexibility. In addition, it reduces the risk of injury and stimulates your organs. Finally, it activates your heart, promotes digestion and reduces anxiety. Triangle pose can also be beneficial for relieving stress in the lower back.
- Step 1: Stand up straight with your legs apart. Turn one foot outward, toes pointing to the side.
- Step 2: Extend your arms to the side now. Bend at the hips and lower one arm toward the leg, turning outward. Raise the other arm to the sky.
- Step 3: Exhale as you bend down. Place your arm over your ankle or knee, whichever is more comfortable. Make sure your hips are aligned.
- Step 4: Hold this position for five deep breaths. Exhale and come to a standing position. Repeat the same on the opposite side.
- While performing this asana, avoid overstretching the body.
- Lower the neck slightly if it hurts upwards.
- Avoid doing this asana if you have:
- Severe pain in the neck, back or shoulder
- Any form of knee injury, spinal disorders, high blood pressure.
- Respiratory problems, migraine or heart disease.
6. Wind Release Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
It is very helpful in releasing unwanted gases from the digestive system. It helps improve the quality and efficiency of your digestive system. In addition, it relieves indigestion, bloating, acidity and constipation. Apart from that, it releases tension in the spine, lower back, hips and thighs.
- First, start by lying on your back with your knees and arms straight.
- Next, pull both of your knees towards your chest. Close your fist and wrap your hands around your knees.
- Release your left leg and extend it along the floor. Bring your left knee close to your chest and clasp your hands around both of your knees.
- Now release your right leg and extend it along the floor.
- Then, pull both knees towards your chest at the end. Hold it for a minute.
- Finally, release and straighten both legs as you exhale.
Do not practice this pose if you are:
- Recovering from abdominal surgery or hernia?
- Having a spinal injury or sciatica.
- are pregnant
7. Cat-Cow Stretch (Chakravakasana)
The cat-cow stretch helps increase flexibility in the spine. As a result, it helps relieve back pain, a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Plus, it works wonders for reducing joint pain and any musculoskeletal issues since it stimulates the lower back and thoracic spine.
- First, come on all fours, palms on the ground. Place your hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
- Next, inhale and look up, lift your chin and push your navel down. Simultaneously lift your tailbone.
- Now arch your back and bring your chin towards your chest as you exhale.
- Then relax and repeat 4-5 more times.
Do not practice this if you have:
- Any injury to the shoulder or upper body.
- Wrist pain. This puts significant pressure on these joints.
- Knee damage.
- Pregnant women should practice it under the guidance of a professional.
8. Wood Stretch (Supta Matsyendrasana)
This pose improves spinal mobility due to its twisting effect and can aid digestion. In this pose, stretches occur in the chest, glutes, and hamstring muscles. Also, it improves alignment and reduces stiffness in the hips. It further improves body posture. Practicing this regularly can relieve lower back pain and tightness in the shoulders.
- Lie on your back. Bring your arms out to the sides with palms down in a T position. Bend the right knee placing the right foot on the left knee.
- Now shift your hips to the left, moving the raised knees to the right elbow.
- Tilt your neck and stretch to the left to look towards the left fingertips.
- Then, hold the pose and breathe while twisting. Then release the feet to the floor and repeat on the other side.
- Avoid doing this if you suffer from back, hip or knee pain.
- Do not perform if you have degenerative disc disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not curable, being an autoimmune disease. Therefore, it becomes essential for the affected people to stay fit. You can do this by walking, practicing yoga, and eating foods rich in vitamins and calcium. In addition, to research on people with RA shows how yoga reduces depression and anxiety. Another one study suggests how yoga benefits sedentary adults with arthritis. Therefore, we recommend that you practice yoga with a rheumatologist or a professional. It will help you modify the poses to get arthritis relief results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. What is the best climate for rheumatoid arthritis?
A. People with arthritis may experience pain in places with high humidity, low temperature and low barometric pressure. According to research, the weather is a contributing factor to joint pain. Therefore, a warm, dry climate is ideal. People with these conditions report fewer flare-ups, better bone health, and reduced pain.
Q. How can I reverse rheumatoid arthritis?
A. RA cannot be reversed or cured. However, natural and medical treatments can help relieve your pain. This can help reduce and control some of the symptoms. Yoga and a healthy diet can gradually reduce its severity and improve symptoms.
Q. What are the 3 symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
A. The three common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include stiffness in the joints in which you may feel sore and have difficulty moving, inflammation in which the joints may be difficult to bend or straighten due to inflammation and fatigue. It is accompanied by mild nausea, lack of appetite and sensitivity to smells.
Q. Can you treat rheumatoid arthritis without medication?
A. Rheumatoid arthritis is not completely curable. However, deep breathing exercises and meditation are beneficial. For example yoga, it helps to reduce pain. Also, apply warming compresses to improve blood flow to the affected area and take hot showers. Also, exercise regularly to increase bone and muscle strength.
Q. What are the five signs of rheumatoid arthritis?
A. Some of the common signs of rheumatoid arthritis are morning stiffness, joint pain, increased eye tenderness and dryness, an unpredictable feeling of chronic fatigue that feels overwhelming, lack of appetite and sudden weight loss.
Q. What triggers rheumatoid arthritis?
A. Being an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissues. The cause of the outbreak is still unknown. However, obesity and genetics can also be a factor.
Q. Which exercise is harmful for rheumatoid arthritis?
A. Power yoga involves intense and advanced poses. It is difficult and therefore not suitable for people with RA. High intensity workouts (HIIT) can also cause pain because they are vigorous. Start with a basic level of fitness that improves strength, endurance and flexibility. Gradually adjust your training accordingly.
Q. How can I lower my rheumatoid factor naturally?
A. Follow a plant-based diet because it provides antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation. Get enough exercise and manage your weight. In addition, it relieves stiffness and weakness. Get a massage to get an overall feeling of well-being. It can also help manage joint pain and relieve stress. Use healthy cooking oils like olive and canola. Consume plenty of whole grains.
Q. What is the best exercise for arthritis?
A. Pilates manages pain and increases joint flexibility. Being a low impact activity, it is safe for affected joints and benefits people with rheumatoid arthritis. It focuses on strengthening muscles while improving posture. A study shows the benefits of clinical Pilates exercises in patients with RA.
Q. How can I get fit with rheumatoid arthritis?
A. To research suggests how regular exercise can improve strength and flexibility in RA patients. Muscle strength can help support your joints, while increased flexibility can help with joint function. Plus, exercise can help you feel less tired and increase your energy. Better overall physical fitness also reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes that frequently accompany rheumatoid arthritis. Plus, it will help you stay fit and active.