Stiff joints hinder people from exercising and staying fit, but yoga is a good way to reduce stiffness and help increase your desire to exercise. Stiffness is caused from from being in the wrong position for too long to having a form of arthritis. Arthritis is painful swelling and stiffness of the joints. It encompasses over 100 types of conditions and diseases, but it is mainly used in reference to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis.
Occasional stiffness and arthritis are alleviated with stretching so a lifestyle change that includes yoga poses can help reduce joint stiffness. Idea Health and Fitness Association recommends three poses for seniors with arthritis; however, these same poses are the best beginner yoga poses for anyone with stiff joints. Whether you’ve sat at your desk for too long, or you have arthritis, give the bound angle, moving cat or tree pose a try.
The bound angle pose – Baddha Konasana
Baddha konasana, or bound angle pose, is a seated yoga pose that helps increase space within the joints, and helps relieve a multitude of issues including menstrual discomfort and sciatica. The bound angle pose can be performed in your home, in a yoga class and even in your work place. If you are unfamiliar with this pose it is similar to a butterfly stretch, which was inspired by yoga.
Moving Cat Pose – Bidalasan Vinyasa
Is your lower back stiff? What about your hips? Try the moving cat pose to help stretch, and loosen your spine and hips by extending and flexing them while on your hands and knees. Begin this yoga pose on your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips; preferably on soft flooring or a yoga mat. When you’ve accustomed yourself to the moving cat pose try the series of moving cat poses.
Tree Pose also – Vrksasana
There are many benefits to the tree pose such creating awareness of the body’s midline, as well as strengthen surrounding ligaments and tissues. The tree pose is a standing pose, and although it helps reduce stiff joints, your initial focus starts with your feet since these are your “roots.” Until you build your balance you can do the tree pose against the wall, and later move to the center of a room.
Benefits of adding yoga poses to your activities
Yoga poses promote full range of motions in movements, as well as reduces stiffness. It also helps restore flexibility, which is often lost with stiff joints.
Stiff joints also perpetuate a stress-pain cycle, and beginner yoga poses such as the moving cat, tree and bound angle can reduce it. How is that? Chronic muscle tension creates stress, which creates pain. Pain creates more muscle tension which is common in arthritis sufferers.
Besides these positive health benefits, these beginner yoga poses improve circulation to the joints and eases stiffness.