Best Yoga Types for Arthritis Relief

best yoga types for arthritis reliefSuffer with arthritis? Here’s help choosing the best yoga types for arthritis relief. A recent study of 75 people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis found that those who practiced yoga felt significantly better both mentally and physically. But where to start, for the yoga beginner?

Best Yoga Types for Arthritis Relief

The forms of yoga recommended most often for people with osteoarthritis include:

  • Hatha yoga. This slow and meditative basic yoga has both mental and physical benefits for people with osteoarthritis.
  • Iyengar. This is a form of hatha yoga that uses props such as belts, blocks, and blankets to help students practice poses correctly. The props may make it easier on people with osteoarthritis and joint pain.
  • Viniyoga. This yoga discipline emphasizes the intense coordination of breath and movement. Practiced individually, it is recommended for people with arthritis who want to work out on their own.

The more advanced forms of yoga, not generally recommended for people with osteoarthritis, include:

  • Ananda. Although this is a gentle yoga, its meditation periods are long and may be difficult for some people with arthritis, says Steffany Moonaz, PhD, of Baltimore, a certified movement analyst and registered yoga therapist.
  • Ashtanga. This yoga involves continuous movement and is strenuous. It is not recommended for people with arthritis because of its physical rigor.
  • Bikram. Sometimes called hot yoga, Bikram is not generally recommended for people with arthritis because it is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees. The extreme heat may be dangerous for people with other health conditions as well, Moonaz says. [Dr. Susan] Bartlett also notes that “it’s easier for things to go wrong in a Bikram yoga class if you’re a beginner.”
  • Kundalini. This yoga is a combination of poses, breathing, and meditation. Some people with arthritis may find the breathing challenging.

Bartlett notes that no matter what form of yoga you choose, you should always listen to your body. “What you do today may be different from what you did the other day,” she says. “One joint may be a little stiffer than another. If something hurts, stop doing it and talk to your instructor.” Mild discomfort when you first start yoga may be normal, but never put your joints at greater risk by trying to do something that is painful.

Read more tips on starting your yoga practice on Everyday Health.

Find an experienced instructor, let him or her know that you have arthritis, and try the best yoga types for arthritis relief! Then share your experience in the comments below.

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About LuLu

LuLu has been practicing yoga for three decades. She's done yoga at home, in yoga classes, and is currently a member at a yoga studio in the Los Angeles area. A freelance graphic designer by trade, she welcomes you to join her on this journey to learn more about the healthful practice of yoga. Namaste!
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