Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Yoga for arthritis – What’s good about it

It is a crippling degenerative process which can lead to an irreversible destruction of the joint. The condition is characterized by pain, swelling, redness and a feeling of excessive warmth and loss of function in one or more joints. The body areas most affected are knees, hips, and ankles, which are large weight bearing joints, besides smaller joints such as fingers, too.

In the science of yoga, arthritis is considered as a symptom of a panic malfunction which begins early in a person's life.
Yoga offers a way to arrest this process. In fact, in the later stages, yogic practices can reduce drug dependency, maximize mobility and make life more tolerable and acceptable. Even severely crippled patients, who followed a daily yoga program  with determination, succeeded not only in having functional mobility restored to a remarkable level, but also in gaining a vastly improved outlook about life.

Forms of arthritis

Acute Arthritis
It is a common symptom of many illnesses and infections, such as cold, flu, fever, diarrhea as viral or bacterial toxins liberated into the blood stream can readily accumulate in the joints during any illness. This symptom diminishes once the infection is gone.

It is an acute form of arthritis, possibly occurring due to dietary self poisoning. Diet plays a major role in this type of disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
This is a kind of joint degeneration that occurs in young and middle age people. It is frequently triggered by an emotional shock or a sudden introduction of foreign substances into blood circulation, possibly due to a powerful drug or an acute infection.

This is seen in middle and old age people, especially those who are overweight, take a heavy diet and avoid exercise. A number of factors including mental and emotional stress and a faulty lifestyle and diet are jointly responsible for upsetting the balance of the central controlling mechanisms in the brain and the endocrine system.

Asanas: Before commencing any Asana, the person should dip his leg in warm saline water to encourage circulation.
Since the person affected can't or shouldn't stand for long hours, he or she should not hold the posture for too long counts.

One can hold or maintain the posture for not more than 10 seconds each and repeat several times, and do it all again later. One thing that arthritic patients should remember is that they have to keep their joints active, so repeating the Asana exercise in the course of a day is important.

Karma yoga is as much a part of the sadhana of the arthritic individual as asana and pranayama. This will help the individual to keep moving all his joints and remain independent throughout their life.

1. Greeva sanchalan (Neck movements)
•   While inhaling gently, take your neck back, and while exhaling, let your neck come to the initial position. Don't move your chin down. Then turn towards right, then left; this makes one round. Hold each posture for not more than 5 seconds. Repeat three times.
2. Skanda sanchalan (Shoulder movements)
•   Place your fingers on your shoulders and rotate your arms slowly. Inhale while raising your arms up, and with arms touching your ears and exhale while getting it down. Repeat it three times on each side.

3. Parvatasana (mountain)
•   Legs near to each other, while inhaling, and raise your arms above your head. Exhale and interlock your fingers, palms facing in the upward direction, and then inhale and raise your feet up on your toes, exhale and practice normal breathing.

4. Trikonasana (triangle)
•    Stand with your legs near to each other. While inhaling, raise your left arm and keep it straight besides your ear and exhale and then bend the right side. Repeat the same with the other side.

5. Uthita Trikonasana (extended triangle)
• Keep your legs two feet away from each other. While inhaling, raise your arms up in line with the shoulder, while exhaling your breathe. Touch your right ankle with your right hand, don't bend your knees. Place your left hand around your waist so as to relax your neck and shoulders. Repeat the same with the other side.

6. Santula asana (balance)
•   Stand with your legs near to each other. Inhale and while exhaling, bend your left leg in such a way that your  left heel is near your buttocks. Exhale and hold the left ankle with your left hand and inhale, and then raise your right arm up. Do normal breathing.