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How to start yoga with arthritis

Arthritis is a condition causing joint disease or joint pain, leading to inflammation, stiffness, and loss of mobility in the joints.
If you are suffering from arthritis or have a student who is, you’ll know how much this can affect one’s life. So it’s useful to know what yoga could do, and how you could modify your yoga practice.

For people with arthritis, it may not be beneficial to jump into a Vinyasa or Ashtanga class, but choose an asana class which is more calm in nature, and which allows space for modification and the use of props.

The slow pace of Yin yoga brings the stretch into the connective tissues and the joints, which can bring great relief. Iyengar yoga uses various props which can be easily modified to match special needs. Otherwise, you can try a gentle Hatha yoga class or a restorative yoga class, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from the teacher.

The key in yoga poses for arthritis is to bring more fluidity and flexibility into the joints, to stretch and relieve the joints, and to strengthen the muscles around the joints to give more overall stability. Slow and controlled movements are the way to go, and try to keep on moving the body to avoid further stiffness from inactivity.