For some, being diagnosed with arthritis means they think they are unable to do exercise. On the contrary, arthritis sufferers are being urged to keep moving and to find relief in yoga. Sadly, when you have to stomach the pain of arthritis day after day it’s easy to get bogged down on the things that you can’t do. Fortunately with yoga the focus changes and turns to the things that you CAN DO. By focusing on the things that you ‘can do’ combined with an Ayurvedic diet, it is very much possible to reduce the symptoms of arthritis – notwithstanding the benefits yoga has for mental health too.
Vegetables from the nightshade family are known to aggravate arthritis. For this very reason it is advised that sufferers steer clear of foods that contain the chemical ‘solanine’, namely potatoes (and here we are living in Ireland, the irony) aubergines, tomatoes, cayenne pepper, and bell peppers. Foods that are known to help arthritis include cherries, blueberries, bananas, garlic, turmeric and vitamin C rich produce.
But like everything there is no one-size-fits-all diet for every arthritis sufferer. The diet that helps your arthritis may not necessarily suit the next person. It’s best to consult your Ayurvedic practitioner for a thorough examination and analysis of your own personal case.
Pawanmuktasana parts 1 and 2 are some of the gentlest yoga movements that arthritis sufferers can practice both at home and in class. These wind releasing poses and anti-rheumatic exercises loosen joints, break up calcium deposits, and eliminate blockages. They tone and relax muscles, remove acid from the body, and release synovial fluid, which in turn provides nourishment to cartilage and joints – all from an either seated or lying down position.
First thing in the morning as soon as you wake up start in base position from Pawanmuktasana part 1 (Prarambhik Sthiti) and in a sequence move from:
Toes | Feet | Ankles| Legs
Toe Bending>Ankle Bending>Ankle Rotation>Ankle Crank>Knee Bending>Knee Rotation>Dynamic Spinal Twist.
Hands | Wrists | Elbows | Shoulders | Neck
Hand Clenching>Wrist Bending>Wrist Rotation>Elbow Bending>Shoulder Rotations>Neck Movements.
Half Butterfly>Hip Rotation>Full Butterfly
If you have more time in your day then practicing postures from Pawanmuktasana Part 2 can also aid sore and stiff joints:
Hip Looseners>Raised Legs Poses>Leg Rotations>Cycling>Leg Lock Posture>Boat Pose>Rocking and Rolling Spinal Twists>Spinal Massage and Rolls.
Note that rocking back and forth on the spine must be balanced with counter poses such as back bends:
Snake Pose>Easy Locust>Simple Shoulder Pose Preparation>Simple Shoulder Pose.
It’s very important that when doing any of these poses that always you listen to your body. If you are in pain, slowly come out of the pose and relax. There will always be another posture that you can do instead.
Coming out of a pose that causes you pain doesn’t mean that you’re a bad yogi, it means that you’re a wise yogi.