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In 2007 we (Dr. Badsha, Rheumatologist and Dr. Vishwas Chhabra, Yoga Specialist) published findings of our study on the benefits of yoga for rheumatoid arthritis. Compared to a group of patients who did other forms of exercise we found that the group who did yoga improved significantly in just 12 weeks. Some were able to reduce or discontinue medications. Dr. Vishwas still holds regular classes for arthritis patients.

Following from the American College of Rheumatology website:

Science supports this mind-body activity as good medicine for arthritis. Among the most recent evidence: Yoga reduced disability and eased swollen joints and pain without causing adverse effects in thousands of study participants, according to a review of clinical trials conducted between 1980 and 2010. The study, funded in part by the Arthritis Foundation, was published in Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America.

“Most importantly, we found that yoga does not exacerbate disease symptoms for persons with arthritis. With proper instruction, it is a safe way for people to stay active and mindful, both of which are associated with a variety of health benefits,” says lead author Steffany Moonaz, PhD, a health behaviorist and yoga research consultant in Baltimore.

Here’s the scoop on a variety of types – and whether they’re safe for you.

VINIYOGA: Viniyoga is typically practiced in private, one-on-one sessions with a yoga instructor, who modifies various yoga poses to match your skill level, health status and fitness goals.

OK with arthritis: Yes, with a qualified instructor. Look for someone who has experience with arthritis and/or other joint conditions.

Keep in mind: “Because Viniyoga poses are highly adapted, they may appear quite different than they would in other yoga traditions,” says Steffany Moonaz, a yoga research consultant and therapist in Baltimore, Maryland and the founder of Yoga for Arthritis.

POWER YOGA: As its name suggests, Power Yoga is a vigorous and fast-paced practice that modifies poses from various practices, such as Ashtanga and Bikram, and provides a cardio workout in addition to strengthening and stretching.

OK with arthritis: Not typically.

Keep in mind: Says Moonaz, “Very fit individuals with mild arthritis might be okay with Power yoga, but most instructors will gear classes toward a very active population who is aiming to get an intense workout.”

VINYASA: A series of poses that are done in a row; each pose transitions into the next.

OK with arthritis? In some cases.

Keep in mind: “Many Vinyasa classes are complex and involve a lot of weight-bearing through the hands. Look for ‘Gentle Vinyasa,’ which tends to be slower and are less likely to require you to support your body weight through your hands,” advises Jane Foody, a New York City-based physical therapist and certified yoga instructor who works with individuals with arthritis. Adds Moonaz, “Unless you have very mild arthritis, I wouldn’t recommend Viyasa unless it’s a private lesson or a small class with a well qualified instructor who can take the time to offer proper individualized

RESTORATIVE: The goal of restorative yoga is to relax, rest and restore. Poses, which are held for between five and 15 minutes at a time, are done using lots of props (such as ropes and foam blocks), “so the body is completely supported and minimal or no muscular effort is necessary to maintain the posture,” says Moonaz.

 

Okay with arthritis? Yes.

Keep in mind: Unlike almost all other forms of yoga, Restorative yoga doesn’t build physical fitness—but it’s particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis who are seeking to relieve stress as a way to reduce disease activity, notes Moonaz.

ASHTANGA: Vigorous yoga that involves moving quickly between poses

OK with arthritis? No

Keep in mind: “Ashtanga probably moves too quickly to be safe for this population, unless it is taught at a very basic level and significantly modified for people with arthritis,” says Moonaz.

CHAIR YOGA: Gentle yoga poses primarily performed while seated

OK with arthritis? Yes

Keep in mind: Chair yoga is ideal for seniors and those with limited mobility, says Jane Foody, a New York City-based physical therapist and certified yoga instructor who works with individuals with arthritis. Listen to your body and communicate with your teacher if anything feels uncomfortable, adds Moonaz.

HATHA: A blanket term for poses commonly identified with yoga, this involves balancing and stretching in seated, standing and prone positions. Usually performed slowly, it concentrates on strengthening and reducing stress.

OK with arthritis? In some cases

Keep in mind: Because class intensity varies widely, “It’s always best to ask the instructor what the class involves,” says Foody.

IYENGAR: Props such as blocks and ropes are used to ease into poses without causing strain or injury.

OK with arthritis? Yes

Keep in mind: “Iyengar is well suited for people with arthritis because there is a lot of attention to individual alignment and limitations,” says Moonaz. “A beginner level class is recommended so that you have the time and attention to properly adapt poses to your needs.”

Key tip: Once you’ve found a class that’s right for you, start slow, do only what feels comfortable, and if you feel any joint pain during a pose, stop doing it.

instruction.”

 

About Arthritis Center

This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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