Gil Katz, E-RYT 500, WCS

Arthritis and Yoga

Yoga Therapy for Arthritis

Yoga Therapy for Arthritis - Upper West Side - Activities & Health - NYC

People suffering from arthritic joint pain usually avoid physical exercises altogether and often think mistakenly they need to rest their joints to heal. This is a misconception and avoiding moving the joints only increases the stiffness and pain. As the patient stretches in yoga positions, the muscles, tendons and ligaments become stronger, their elasticity improves and the pain is eased. The bones become stronger and resistant to injury. The pressure on the cartilage is alleviated, and the risk of degeneration is diminished. The range of movements in the joints is improved.

Arthritis refers to several distinctive types of diseases and infections whose common symptoms are the inflammation of the joints. The most prevalent ones are osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease associated with aging and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease effecting younger people. In some cases it can be the outcome of a trauma or the symptom of an infectious disease. Painful and disabling, arthritis effects one, or in some cases, several joints of the body. The most afflicted one are the big joints supporting the weight of the body like the hips, knees and ankles, and small joints like the fingers and toes. The many symptoms include pain, aches, stiffness, swelling and inability to move the joint. If not treated appropriately the disease will ultimately permanently destroy the joint as the bones and the cartilage will have fragmented.

Arthritis patients tend to be inflexible and stubborn. They have the greatest fear of letting go and not being in control. Sometimes we need to experience a physical and emotional letting go. Yoga therapy allows the release of unwanted energy and emotions perfectly safely and gently.

Many people suffering from arthritis have come to accept their condition as irreversible and yet with yoga therapy this crippling disease is remediable if undertaken with an open mind and heart. Yoga therapy and medicine can work efficiently together. However, only yoga therapy can truly restore health.

Yoga therapy focuses on the roots of illnesses instead of trying to fix the symptoms. When the circulation in a joint has been deficient for a long time, the supply of blood and lymphatic fluid is inadequate, causing the synovial fluid in the joint to stagnate. Wastes and toxins accumulate instead of being normally eliminated through the skin and kidneys consequently causing pain and stiffness. In time, the synovial fluid diminishes, the cartilage degenerates and breaks down. Eventually, the entire structure of the joint is damaged, moving the joint becomes difficult and the joint becomes deformed. In the worst case scenario, the bones may become fused, disabling the person for life. The person suffering from arthritis should seek yoga treatment before irreversible damage happens. If the arthritis patient is diligent with yoga practice, within one month he or she should notice a 10% improvement and total recovery is possible.

A regular yoga practice has positive outcomes on the mental realm of an arthritis patient as it eases conflicts existing in the body and mind, heals the disturbances and blockages and stabilizes the flow of prana. The patient learns how the asana combined with the breathing have an effect on the whole body but more importantly how the asana and breathing affects the flow of prana.

Arthritis patients should undertake yoga therapy under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher and after full examination by a medical professional.