202014Sep

Arthritis – How Yoga can help

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases in the world, it affects 40% of people aged 45 to 64 & 60% of people aged 65 years and older but it can affect all ages. 

Yoga poses can help strengthen your joints, which is crucial in preventing and dealing with arthritis.  It makes your joints function normally, thus reducing the risk of stiffness. 

Meditation & relaxation has also been proved to treat chronic illness such as pain caused by Arthritis.  Meditation trains the brain to be more present focused and therefore helps us to spend less time anticipating future negative events.

 1.     Ankle stretches – sitting with your legs stretched out in front, hands behind your back. A)Begin by pointing your toes out in front and then point them towards you. Repeating for a few breaths. B)Allow the feet to flop from side to side for a few breaths. C) Rotate your ankle inwards for a few breaths making circles with your ankles and then repeat in the opposite direction

Ankle Stretches

Ankle Stretches

 2.     Neck stretches – turn your head to the left holding for a breath and then back to center, repeat to the right and then up & down, repeat this a couple of times.

Neck Stretches

Neck Stretches

 3.     Shoulder stretches – placing the palms of your hands on your shoulders and make big circles with your arms in one direction for a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

Shoulder Stretches

Shoulder Stretches

 4.     All 4s – Wrist Release – come onto all 4s with wrists under your shoulders and knees hip width apart.  Begin turning your right hand as far to the right as it will go so if possible the heel of the hand is pointing straight ahead and fingers pointing in towards the body.  Press your palm into the mat, putting weight on your wrist and roll into the hands.  Hold here for 5 long deep breaths. Repeat on the other hand.

All 4s - Wrist Release

All 4s – Wrist Release

 5.     All 4s – Fist Release – stay on all 4s and make fists with both your hands, bend your elbows out to the sides, placing your hands on the ground, your knuckles should be facing each other.  Begin to straighten the elbows as much as you can while maintaining a tight fist.  You should feel the stretch on the tops of the wrists.

All 4s - Fist Release

All 4s – Fist Release

 6.     Downward Dog – come onto all 4s, curl the toes under and lift up into downward dog.  Hold for a few breaths.

Downward Dog

Downward Dog

 7.     Downward Dog lifting heels– as above but on your inhale lift your heels off the mat, on the exhale lower the heels back down.

Downward Dog Heels up

Downward Dog Heels up

 8.     Single Leg Raises – lying flat on your back, placing your belt on your belly, inhale bend the right knee hugging it into the chest and place the belt around the ball of the right foot, inhale lift the leg, straightening the leg, straightening the arms, hold for 5 breaths, release and switch to the other side.

Single Leg Raises

Single Leg Raises

 9.     Standing side stretch – standing straight with inner line of the legs together, inhale reach your arms up grabbing a hold of your right wrist with your left hand, exhale lean over to the right.  For a deeper stretch press into the sole of the right foot. Hold for a breath.  Inhale come back to center, releasing and repeat on the other side.  Repeat this stretch a couple of times on either side.

Standing Side Stretch

Standing Side Stretch

10.    Relaxation – You will find a 15 minute Yoga Nidra/deep relaxation recorded on my blog-  http://theyogatree.ie/uncategorized/yoga-nidra-the-power-of-yoga-sleep/

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra