Yoga for Rheumatoid Arthritis

What are the Yoga Poses( Asanas) to prevent/cure Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

When we hear the word, ‘Arthritis’, the picture of our old relatives with joint pain immediately comes up in our mind. But Arthritis is certainly not an ‘elderly’ condition. In fact, there are some types of arthritis, which appear in young and middle-aged people, and an example of this is rheumatoid arthritis. The Young and middle-aged people, are more prone to this form of arthritis because of their hectic and super-fast lifestyles. Studies have shown that practicing a few yoga poses on a daily basis, can help avoid all painful and stress-full symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, for people of all age groups.

These poses influence the different joints and organs of the body and ease rheumatic pain. Though they seem very simple they have subtle effects on the practitioner. Therefore, this group of exercise is sukshma Vyayama in Sanskrit, meaning the ‘subtle exercise’.


Yoga Poses for Rheumatoid Arthritis

This series of asanas should be performed at the beginning of the daily asana session to loosen the joints and make the muscles supple and relaxed. They are also intended for beginners and for those who are weak or sick, as well as for people with heart problems or high blood pressure or stiffness in the body. Before starting Yoga asanas for rheumatoid arthritis, practice shavasana to relax physically and mentally.What are the Yoga Poses( Asanas) to prevent/cure Rheumatoid Arthritis ?Lie flat on your back, legs separated with hands on your side, palms facing upwards. Try to loosen all your muscles and joints. Become free of every kind of tension. Feel your body; become aware of your breath. You are relaxing. Observe your breath for sometime. Ensure that it is natural and spontaneous, unforced. Count your breaths. During the practice of counting the breaths do not suppress any thoughts. Watch them as a witness, without being emotionally involved with any of them. Your main concern is to relax the whole mind and body. For the time being forget all your worries, anxieties and worldly problems. After a few minutes slowly move your arms and feet and sit up. Now you are mentally and physically prepared to start Yoga for rheumatoid arthritis.

Toe BendingWhat are the Yoga Poses( Asanas) to prevent/cure Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

  • Assume the base posture with legs stretched directly in front of the body.
  • Place the hands on the floor by the side of the trunk.
  • Lean backward taking support on the straight arms.
  • Become aware of the toes.
  • Move the toes of both feet slowly backward and forward, keeping the feet rigid.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Ankle Bending

  • Remain in the base position as in exercise 1
  • Move both feet backward and forward as much as possible, bending them from the ankle joints
  • Repeat 10 times

Ankle RotationWhat are the Yoga Poses( Asanas) to prevent/cure Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

  • Remain in the base position as in exercise 1
  • Separate the legs, keeping them straight
  • Keep the heels in contact with the floor
  • Rotate the right foot clockwise from the ankle 10 times
  • Rotate the right foot in the same way but anticlockwise 10 times
  • Repeat the same procedure with the left foot
  • Then rotate both feet together

Ankle Crankyoga for rheumatic pain

  • Assume the base position
  • Place the right ankle on the left thigh
  • With the assistance of the left hand, rotate the right foot clockwise 10 times, then anti-clockwise 10 times
  • Repeat the same procedure with the left foot

(i) Knee bending

yoga for rheumatic pain

  • Assume the base position
  • Bend the right leg at the knee and clasp the hands under the right thigh
  • Straighten the right leg without allowing the heel or toe to touch the ground
  • Keep the hands under the right thigh but allow the arms to straighten
  • Bend the right leg as much as possible at the knee, bringing the heel near the right buttock
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Now repeat the same procedure with the left leg.

(ii) Knee crank

  • Assume the base position
  • Instead of stretching the right leg, hold the thigh near the trunk and rotate the lower leg in a circular motion from the knee
  • Do this 10 times clockwise, then 10 times anti clockwise
  • Repeat the same procedure with the left leg

Dynamic Spinal Twistyoga for rheumatic pain

  • Assume the base position
  • Separate the legs as much as possible.
  • Keeping the arms straight, bring the right hand to the left big toe and stretch the left arm behind the back
  • Keep both arms in one straight line
  • Turn the head and look in the backward direction, directing your gaze towards the left hand
  • Turn the trunk in the opposite direction. Bring the left hand to the right big toe and stretch the right arm behind you
  • This is round one.
  • Repeat 10 or 20 times
  • At the beginning, do the exercise slowly, and then gradually increase the speed

Variation: If the practitioner wishes, he can try to separate the legs further without bending them, and then repeat the entire exercise.

Half butterflyyoga for rheumatic pain

  • Fold the right leg and place the right foot on the left thigh
  • Place the left hand on the right foot and the right hand on the top of the bent right knee
  • Gently move the bent leg up and down with the right hand allowing the muscles of the leg to relax as much as possible
  • Repeat the same process with the left knee
  • After some days or weeks of practice the knee should comfortably rest on the floor without effort

Knee Rotationyoga for rheumatic pain

  • Remain in the same position as in exercise 7(Half Butterfly) but hold the right foot with the left hand
  • Rotate the right knee in a circle, trying to gradually make the circle larger
  • Do this 10 times in the clockwise direction and 10 times in the anti-clock wise direction.
  • Repeat the same procedure with the left knee.

 (i) Full butterflyyoga for rheumatic painyoga for rheumatic pain

  • In the base position bring the soles of the feet together.
  • Try to bring the heels as close to the body as possible. Interlock the fingers and place them under the feet.
  • Gently push the knees towards the ground, utilizing the elbow, and bend the body forward.
  • Try to touch the ground with the head. This will be difficult at first, but with time it gets easier.

(ii) Full butterfly

  • Keeping the soles of the feet together, place the hands on the knees
  • Utilizing the arms, push the knees towards the ground, allowing them to bounce upward again
  • Repeat 20 or more times

(iii) Full butterfly

  • Maintain the same position but place the hands on the floor behind and to the side of the back, keeping the arms straight.
  • Move the knees up and down 20 or more times.

Crow walking

yoga for rheumatic pain

  • Squat on the floor
  • Place the palms of the hands on the knees and begin to walk in the squatting position
  • One can either walk on the toes or the feet. Choose whichever is most difficult
  • Do this exercise for a short time without strain
  • Crow walk touching the knee to the ground with each step

This is a very good exercise to prepare the legs for meditation poses. It is also recommended for people with poor blood circulation in the legs. Constipation sufferers will find this exercise useful. They should drink 2 glasses of water and then crow walk for one minute. Drink 2 more glasses of water and crow walk again. Repeat these 3 or 4 times. This should ease the constipation.

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