Yoga is both a physical and spiritual practice originating in India thousands of years ago. The benefits of yoga are through the roof including increased flexibility, improved cardio health, and decreased stress levels. For those with Rheumatoid Arthritis, yoga can seem like a twisty, bendy, painful mess, but when done properly, it can offer perks for those suffering from joint pain.
Certain yoga practices can be much more gentle on the joints and whole body than many other forms of exercise. Not only does yoga have physical benefits, it is also a meditative practice that allows for calm, quiet reflection.
Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, these are just some poses that work for me. Make sure you consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Utkatasana, Chair Pose, is great for the legs, especially the thighs. According to Yoga Journal, it also increases ankle mobility. In this pose, the knees are hips-width apart, knees are bent, the hips are back, the chest is forward, and the arms are above the head.
Bhujanga, Cobra Pose, may be my favorite stretch of all time. In this pose, palms are on the ground, pushing down until hips lift up just a bit. The backs of the feet stay on the ground with the legs fully extended and the head goes up toward the sky. This stretch is helpful for the abdomen and the shoulders. For those experiencing intense stiffness, Yoga Journal suggests a modification to get your body off the floor.
Viparita Virabhadrasana, Reverse Warrior, often follows Warrior II by bringing one hand down to rest on one leg and moving the other to the sky. This is a fantastic pose for the torso, hips, shoulders, thighs, and more. It also increases blood flow, according to Yoga Outlet.
Balsana, Child Pose, is a restful pose during your yoga practice. Once in a kneeling position, place your forehead on the floor, and put your arms beside your body with your palms upward. Yoga Outlet suggests some modifications that make this pose even more comfortable.