If you're one of the 37 million Americans suffering with some form of arthritis, you're probably already aware that managing the pain of this disability can be quite a burden. While keeping a healthy exercise routine can be a challenge, you might find some relief in the the gentle qualities of yoga. Through a series of careful breathing and stretching routines, you can reap the benefits that yoga can have on your arthritis.
Benefits for Arthritis Patients
Often, normal exercise and fitness routines are out of the question for people with arthritis. Fortunately, studies have shown that yoga has several benefits that may improve conditions for patients. According to a study conducted by the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, patients who participated in yoga showed reduced symptoms, pain and swollen joints. Self-efficacy and mental health also improved.
The warrior pose helps strengthen shoulder muscles, spine and legs and also helps to increase flexibility in the hips, legs and feet. To perform this pose, begin standing with your feet together in mountain pose. Next, place one foot in front of the other at least 4 feet apart from each other. Then, turn your left foot so that your heel faces the center of your right foot. With your left heel anchored firmly to the ground, breathe out, bend your right knee over your right ankle. Then, raise your arms to the ceiling and try to stretch your ribcage away from your arms. Try to hold this position for at least one minute and feel the stretch from your legs to your arms.
Begin this pose in mountain pose to stretch your entire body. Shift your weight onto your left foot and bend your right leg behind you. Rest the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left leg as high as you possibly can but not on the knee. Point your toes downward, close your palms together in a prayer position and inhale while raising your arms over your head. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and release back into mountain pose. Switch to the other leg and repeat.
The goal of this pose is to let go of everything in the body, release tension and raise your relaxation. Begin this exercise by lying down on your back and breathing deeply into your abdomen. Slowly allow each part of your body to relax by consciously giving autosuggestions to yourself, such as "now I am relaxing, my entire body is relaxing, my mind is relaxing, my heart is relaxing." Stay in this position for 15 to 30 minutes until you feel stress released from your entire body.
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