Recent research on arthritis confirmed that two-thirds of people affected with this debilitating disease are under the age of 65. While over 300,000 children in the US are already affected, over 180 million people in India have been diagnosed with this disease whose prevalence is higher than well-known ailments such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes.
So, is there any remedy for a disease that gradually weakens our joints and other body parts? – Yes! Apart from the suggested modern medicines, the ancient Indian practice of yoga has shown great results on the body’s ability to ward off arthritis. How? Let’s find out!
Derived from the root word ‘arth’ meaning joint, and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation; arthritis is a name given to a group of over 100 auto immune diseases that affect the joints and tissues surrounding it. Typically characterized by pain and stiffness, the disease can also affect internal organs leading to serious deformities.
For those suffering from this painful disease, lack of activity or exercise can further harm their joints, which is why yoga and other forms of exercise are always recommended to alleviate and manage all symptoms of the disease.
Is it Time to Meet the Doctor?
The symptoms of the disease are varied, and often misunderstood as normal stiffness or pain in the body. If you are facing any of the following signs mentioned below, it would be advisable to meet the doctor immediately.
- Severe joint pain that degenerates with movement and temporarily improves with rest.
- Joints feel warm.
- Rigidity and stiffness especially if the body is not into any activity.
- Winter and monsoon months bring along more stiffness.
- Joints have a crackling sound with movement.
- Unnatural bony knobs around the joints which are the first signs of deformity.
Yoga to the Rescue of Arthritis!
Since movement lubricates the joints and keeps them active, yoga or exercise is most essential for those affected with arthritis. When practiced regularly, the joints work in their natural motion, increasing flexibility in the body and helping the synovial fluid circulate into all the chinks and crevices inside your joints.
Here are some must-do yoga asanas to relieve joint pains:
This posture strengthens the arms legs and lower back and is extremely beneficial for frozen shoulders. You can use some support at the knee to hold this posture.
Trikonasana is very beneficial for back pain and sciatica, this posture stretches and strengthens the spine, arms, and chest and improves physical equilibrium. If your back pain is severe, avoid practicing this posture.
This pose is ideal to strengthen your legs and back and to improve balance. However this posture is not recommended for those with high blood pressure or migraine.
This asana will help you strengthen your back muscles and stretch the neck, chest and spine. This posture is an instant reliever of back pain and is very good for treating symptoms of osteoporosis.
The Marjariasana is a complete posture because it brings flexibility and strength to the entire body including the spine, wrists, shoulders and also improves blood circulation. If you have a problem with the neck or shoulder region, consult your doctor before practicing this posture.
This pose brings complete relaxation to the body while repairing tissues and cells, and releasing stress. Shavasana is an ideal way to get rid of vata (air element) that aggravates joint pain and also creates imbalance in the body.
Ayurveda – An Indispensible Companion
Ayuveda is an ancient Indian branch of healing that says that excess vata prakriti in the body is one of the main causes of joint pains. Adopting an ayurveda-aided lifestyle helps restore prakriti balance, improves functioning of all organs and revitalizes the body. When regularly practiced with yoga, ayurveda can help speed up the process of rejuvenation and restoring health.
Like any other physical practice, yoga takes time to manifest its results. It is a time-tested natural method whose effects are long-lasting and free of side-effects. However, you are strongly advised to seek your doctor’s advice before taking up yoga.
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Art of Living Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a Art of Living Yoga teacher. Find a Art of Living Yoga program at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on programs or share feedback? Write to us [email protected]a.org