Tracy Adshead is a yoga teacher specialising in yoga for seniors. She is passionate about bringing healing and healthy ageing to the community.
Yoga can help to ease arthritis by gently increasing range of motion and movement through exercising all the joints. Yoga is not only safe for the muscles and ligaments it also stimulates the production of feel-good hormones that can help to reduce pain.
One of the great benefits of reducing stress and pain is better sleep. If you are based in Brisbane, you might start with Aqua Yoga classes (taught in a swimming pool) where weightlessness is beneficial for arthritic joints - sounds great but skip the forward bends!
If you have arthritis, consider these guidelines before starting:
1. Delay your practice until later in the day – With some types of arthritis joints tend to be stiffer in the morning so give your muscles and joints time to loosen and wait until later in the day. Only you can tell when yoga will feel the best for you so listen to your body and practice yoga at the most comfortable time for you.
2. Go easy – Give those big full-on movements a miss as they might aggravate the joints.
3. Keep moving – A gentle flowing style of yoga class where postures are not held for longer periods of time is really best. Holding postures for those people with arthritis maybe painful. You may decide to gently move in and out of a posture as an alternative. Look for yoga teacher that understands your limitations.
4. Check with your doctor about flare-ups – When your joints are hurting you may be able to do some yoga but only for a shorter length of time.
If you are interested in trying yoga, please talk to your doctor before starting and when you get to class tell the teacher about your condition so that they can discuss modifications to the postures that will help you stay comfortable. Remember you can always practice meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques) instead to gain the mind and body benefits.
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