Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis and people of all ages, sexes and races can have arthritis. Common symptoms include joint stiffness, pain, swelling and aching around the joints. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can get worse over time. Severe arthritis can hinder a person’s ability to walk and exercise which can lead to secondary effects such as muscle weakness and loss of aerobic fitness and flexibility.
Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone and it is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis can be managed by regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and strengthening the muscles around the affected joint for more support.
Yoga has been established as a safe and effective way to increase physical activity and has numerous psychological benefits. Yoga can help increase strength and flexibility and improve respiratory endurance. Yoga also helps enhance energy levels and reduce bodily aches and pains. Some yoga postures for relieving arthritis are Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), which helps with posture, and Anjaneyasana (Crescent lunge pose), which improves flexibility of hip flexor muscles. Lastly, yoga helps reduce anxiety, aggressiveness and other negative feelings and results in overall mental wellbeing. To summarise, yoga has a plethora of physical and psychological benefits which can help alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life of people living with arthritis.