Yoga poses to ease arthritis

“It’s just regular knee pain which will go away with time,” you respond to the worries of your loved ones. While silently wondering if the pain could possibly mean something more serious.

Certainly there is reason to worry if your joints ache, look swollen or seem to have lost their usual flexibility. These could be early signs of arthritis - a condition that affects around 180 million Indians.

Arthritis comes from ‘arth’ meaning joints, and ‘ritis’ meaning inflammation. It is an umbrella term for over a hundred diseases which are linked with inflammation of the joints.

“But what could I have done to make the inflammation happen?”

Maybe nothing at all! Arthritis could be caused by a reduction in the cartilage that cushions your joints. Or the extra strain you’re putting on them every day. It could also be your immune system working against you. 


Yoga to the rescue

No matter what kind of arthritis you’re suffering from, practicing yoga can work wonders for you. Studies show that yoga reduces the pain stemming from the disease. It strengthens the joint muscles and makes the body more flexible. In addition, practicing yoga reduces stress levels.

These yoga postures will help you manage the symptoms of arthritis:



  • Strengthens the arms, legs and lower back. 
  • Is extremely beneficial for frozen shoulders.

You may use some support at the knee to hold this pose.



  • Strengthens the legs and back.
  • Improves balance. 

However this posture is not recommended for those with high blood pressure or migraine.



  • This is a complete posture. It brings flexibility and strength to the entire body including the spine, wrists and shoulders.
  • Improves blood circulation.

If you have a problem with the neck or shoulder region, consult your doctor before practicing this posture. 



  • Strengthens the back muscles.
  • Stretches the neck, chest and spine.

Setubandhasana relieves back pain instantly. Is very good for treating symptoms of osteoporosis.



  • Very effective for back pain and sciatica.
  • Stretches and strengthens the spine, arms, and chest.
  • Improves physical equilibrium.

If you have severe back pain, please avoid this posture.



  • Brings complete relaxation to the body.
  • Repairs tissues and cells.
  • Releases stress.
  • Ideal way to get rid of vata (air element) that aggravates joint pain and also creates imbalance in the body.

                        Ayurveda balances vata                       



The age old science of Ayurveda  offers relief for arthritis patients based on the understanding that excess vata (air element in the body) provokes joint pain. Adopting an ayurvedic diet can help strengthen the digestive system. Lubrication of joints improves and the degenerative nature of arthritis can be arrested. 


The key to dealing with arthritis is to get moving. Yoga offers an excellent exercise option. For people with arthritis who are in constant pain, yoga is gentle and enjoyable enough to practice regularly. Yoga builds muscle strength, joint flexibility and balance. Range of motion improves. Stress and tension reduces, inducing a good night’s sleep.

Yoga is a natural and time-tested science of beneficial postures. Coupled with pranayamas and meditation its impact on physical, mental and emotional well-being is such that it is now being considered a mainstream option. Still, it would be advisable to seek your doctor’s advice before taking up yoga or any other form of physical exercise.

Yoga helps develop the body and mind, bringing a lot of health benefits. Even so, it is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor, and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher.

Find a Sri Sri Yoga program at an Art of Living Center near you.

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