Arthritis means inflammation of joints. It results in pain and swelling and can occur at any age. Generally, it affects any joint with variable intensity. Inflammation of joints causing pain, stiffness, swelling and restricted movements. There are several causes and symptoms of this disease. In most cases, there is a deterioration of soft tissues that cover and protect the joints. In some cases, excess uric acid is the cause. Also, too much body weight and unhealthy lifestyle may lead to a form of arthritis. Healthy diet (Arthritis Diet) is very important for arthritis. Yoga for Arthritis plays a very important role in managing this disease. It reduces joint pain and allows the sufferer to lead a normal life.
So far we are not aware of complete remedy through prescription medicines. There are medicines to give temporary relief during extreme conditions. Tests carried out at yoga therapy centers around the world show remarkable results in bringing under control and in some cases even curing. Though it is a gradual process, yoga-meditation, particularly the breathing exercises, if done regularly produce remarkable results.
More and more doctors and medical practitioners are coming to acknowledge the role of yoga meditation in curing or managing arthritis. It is an established fact that the mind plays an important role in any physical condition. It is obvious and a proven fact that by calming the mind half the battle is won in preventing and curing arthritis.
Yoga for arthritis or regular practice of yoga postures, pranayama or breathing exercises and meditation, calms down and gives strength to the body and mind. Most sufferers feel great relief and are able to manage their affliction, as their fear and anxieties virtually disappear.
Yoga has a stabilizing effect in the body’s immune system. Regular practice of yoga meditation increases tolerance to infection and improves the respiratory, digestive and blood circulatory system. After a certain period, the patient is able to manage his arthritis better and feels that he is on the way to complete recovery.
Yoga meditation, by reducing anxiety gives the patient access to their own internal experience. Thereby helping them to ascertain the exact cause of the ailment and what causes the condition to worsen, which comes more and more through self-awareness. Yoga for arthritis not only increases self-awareness, it regulates breathing patterns and improves lung function.
The quality and variety of food intake have a direct effect on the disease. Healthy yoga diet consisting of, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, unsaturated fat and bio yogurts should constitute a major part of the diet. Least quantity of carbohydrate and animal protein and very little sugar and salt should be consumed by arthritis sufferers.
Thus, to sum up, eat pure and simple food, do gentle yoga postures, meditation and breathing exercises for a minimum 20 minutes every day. In addition do positive thinking about gradual improvement of your health and give up worrying. There is no reason why your affliction should not become manageable and eventually be cured.
Spinal Twisting Deep Breathing
Practice Procedure: Lie on your back and stretch your hands. Bend the knees and place the soles of both feet flat on the floor, directly in front of the buttocks. Keep the knees and feet together throughout the practice. Breathe in and while breathing out, slowly lower the legs to the right, trying to bring the knees down to the floor. The feet should remain in contract with each other, although the left foot will move slightly off the floor. At the same time, gently turn the head and neck in the opposite direction to the legs. This will give a uniform twisting stretch to the entire spine. Hold the breath in the final position while mentally counting three seconds. While breathing in, raise both legs to the upright position. Keep the shoulders and elbows on the floor throughout.
2 sets (10 cycles per set). At starting position of spinal twisting deep breathing – with continuous breathe out up to 8 secs, when head will touch the ground on one side, both knees will touch the ground on another side. Here 2 secs will be paused. And with continuous breathe-in up to 4 secs – both knees and head will back at starting position. Here 2 secs will be paused. In this way – 1 cycle has been completed by 16 secs. Then after 10 cycles -1 set will be completed. After each set – 1 min rest at lying on your back.(440 secs).
Upabistha Pabanmuktasan (sitting Wind relieving pose)
Practice Procedure: Sit in the squatting position with the buttocks just on the floor. Hold elbow of opposite hands and place your chin on the junction of the both knees.
2 sets (30 secs per set). One should practice 30 secs with normal breathing at this position as described in the video. After 30 secs by doing this posture(asana), 30 secs rest at back on lying position. In this way another set have to be done.(120 secs).
Bhujangasana with stretched hand
Practice Procedure: 2 sets (30 secs per set) – First place your both palm on ground below your shoulder, then stretch your both hands by raising your upper body with looking up. Stay at this position with normal breathing. Then come back to the ground and stay at Jasthi Asana on chest by touching the forehead on the ground where both palms and feet will touch together by stretching the whole body as depicted in the video. This is one set. After each set, 30 secs rest at Savasana on chest. [120 secs]
Ardha Matsyendrasan (Half lord of the fishes pose)
Practice Procedure: Sit with the legs stretched out in front of the body. Bend the left leg and place the left foot flat on the floor on the outside of the right knee. The toes of the left foot should face forward. Bend the right leg and bring the foot around to the left buttock. The outside edge of the foot should be in contact with the floor. Pass the right arm through the space between the chest and the left knee and place it against the outside of the left leg. Hold the left foot or ankle with the right hand so that the left knee is close to the right armpit. Sit Up as straight as possible. Raise the left arm in front of the body and gaze at the fingertips. Slowly twist to the left, simultaneously moving the arm, trunk and head. Use the right arm as a lever against the left leg to twist the trunk as far as possible without using the back muscles. Follow the tips of the fingers of the left hand with the gaze and look over the left shoulder. Do not strain the back. Bend the left elbow and place the arm around the back of the waist. The back of the left hand should wrap around the right side of the waist.
2 sets(30 secs each way). At the time of ardha matsyendrasana, 30 secs will be spent by right twisting of the body by holding left knee by left hand where right palm will touch the left waist region and 30 secs will be spent by left twisting of the body by holding right knee by right hand where left palm will touch the right waist region with normal breathing as depicted in the video. This is one set. After each set – 1 min rest at lying on your back.(240 secs)
Bajrasana (Thunderbolt) Deep Breathing
Practice Procedure: Kneel on the floor with the knees close together. Bring the big toes together and separate the heels. Lower the buttocks onto the inside surface of the feet with the heels touching the sides of the hips. Place the hands on the knees, palms down. The back and head should be straight but not tense. Avoid excessive backward arching of the spine. Close the eyes, relax the arms and the whole body. Breathe normally and fix the attention on the flow of air passing in and out of the nostrils. 2 sets (10 cycles in each set). 4 secs breathe in by raised shoulders with backward movement, 1 sec pause with raised shoulder, 8 secs breathe out with “ha” sound by coming forward and 1 sec pause by touching the ground with finger tips after coming forward. So for one cycle, we have to spent [4+1+8+1] 14 secs. In this way we have to do 10 cycles for 1 set. After each set, 30 secs rest at Bajrasana with closed eyes. (340 secs)
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Practice Procedure: Sit in bajrasana. Stand on the knees with the arms at the sides. The knees and feet should be together, but may be separated if this is more comfortable. Lean backward, slowly reaching for the right heel with the right hand and then the left heel with the left hand. Do not strain. Push the hips forward, keeping the thighs vertical and bend the head and spine backward as far as comfortable. Relax the whole body, especially the back muscles, into the stretch. The weight of the body should be evenly supported by the legs and arms. The arms should anchor the shoulders to maintain the arch of the back. Return to the starting position by slowly releasing the hands from the heels one at a time.
2 sets (30 secs per set). At ustrasana by grabing the ankle joint with both hand as depicted in the video, you have to stay 30 secs with normal breathing. This is one set. After each set, 30 secs rest at bajrasana with closed eyes.(120 secs)
Practice Procedure: Lie flat on the stomach with the legs and feet together and the soles of the feet uppermost. The arms may be placed either under the body or by the sides, with the palms downward or the hands clenched. Stretch the chin slightly forward and rest it on the floor throughout the practice. Close the eyes and relax the body. This is the starting position. Slowly raise right leg, then left leg and finally both legs.
2 sets (90 secs per set). After each set 90 secs rest at lying on your chest. In each set – after raising right leg 30 secs have to stay with normal breathing, in this way- 30 secs for left leg and 30 secs for both legs. So total 90 secs has been spent for each set. Then 90 secs rest. In this way another set have to do.(360 secs)
Dhanurasan (Bow Pose)
Practice Procedure: Lie flat on the stomach with the legs and feet together, and the arms and hands beside the body. Bend the knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. Grasp the ankles with the hands. Keep the knees and thighs firmly on the floor and the arms straight throughout the practice. Place the the chin on the floor. This is starting position. Tense the legs and push the feet backward while raising the head and chest as high as possible from the floor without straining. Use the backward movement of the legs to assist the raising of the body, allowing the back muscles to remain passive. In the final position the head is tilted back. Hold the final position for as long as is comfortable. Slowly lower the chest and head to the ground by releasing the legs.
2 sets (30 secs per set). One should practice 30 secs with normal breathing at this position as described in the video. After 30 secs by doing this posture(asana), 30 secs rest on chest at lying position. In this way another set have to do.(120 secs).
Bhujangasan (Cobra Pose) with stretched Hand
Practice Procedure: Lie flat on the stomach with the legs straight, feet together and the soles of the feet uppermost. Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor, below and slightly to the side of the shoulders, with the fingers together and pointing forward. Position the arms so that the elbows point backward and are close to the sides of the body. Rest the forehead on the floor and close the eyes. Relax the whole body, especially the lower back. Slowly raise the head. Gently tilt the head backward, so that the chin points forward and the back of the neck is compressed, then raise the neck and then the shoulders. Straightens the elbows, using the back muscles first, then the arm muscles to raise the trunk further and arch the back. In the final position, the pubic bone remains in contact with the floor and the navel is raised a maximum of 3 cm. If the navel is raised too high, the bend tends to be in the knees and not in the back. The arm may or may not be straight, this will depend on the flexibility of the back. 2 sets (10 cycles per set). 4 secs continuous breathe-in by raising the upper body, 1 sec hold at this position, 8 secs continuous breathe-out by lowering the body and 1 sec hold at the starting position as depicted in the video. This is one cycle. In this way- you have to do 10 cycles at a stretch for 1 set. After each set 1 min rest at lying position on chest.(400 secs)
Bhujangasan (Cobra Pose) Rolling
Practice Procedure: 2 sets (15 times per set) – You have to spent 2 secs (Assuming 1 sec for breathe-in and 1 sec for breathe-out) for each rolling on abdomen as depicted in the video. In this way, you have to do 15 times at a stretch. This is one set. After each set, 30 secs rest at “Jasthi Asana” on chest by touching the forehead on the ground where both palms and feet will touch together by stretching the whole body as depicted in the video [120 secs].
Practice Procedure: Sit in bajrasana. Raise the buttocks and stand on the knees. Lean forward and place the hands flat on the floor beneath the shoulders with the fingers facing forward. The hands should be in line with the knees, the arms and thighs should be perpendicular to the floor. The knees may be slightly separated so that they are well aligned under the hips. This is starting position. Inhale while raising the head and depressing the spine so that the back becomes concave.
2 sets(10 cycles per set). It is hatha yoga as well as western pranayama. The starting position of this pranayama is bajrasana with stretched hands touching the ground. Here is three parts for doing this procedure. First part – the chest will touch the ground, second part – the both hands will be straight by raising the upper body with looking up, third part- the body will come back at the starting position.
Hasta Mudra (Hand Gesture) in Front
Practice Procedure: Sit in bajrasana. Stretch both hands in front of your body, parallel to the ground. Move your open palm from your wrist as shown in the video. 10 cycles. At the starting position – both hands will stay with parallel to the ground and parallel to each other with open palm facing downward. Then raise your both palms by continuous 4 secs breathe-in, 1 sec pause after raising both palms, then down your both palms with continuous 8 secs breathe-out and 1 sec pause at this position as depicted in the video. Thus one cycle completed.
After 10 cycle Do POSITIVE THINKING 1 min at sitting crossed legged position(i.e. Sitting Sukhasana). (200 secs)
Hasta Mudra (Hand Gesture) at Side
Sit in bajrasana. Stretch both hands with open palm in both sides of your body parallel to the ground. Move your palms as shown in the video.
10 cycles. At the starting position – both hands will stay with parallel to the ground at the side of our body with open palm facing downward. Then raise your both palms by continuous 4 secs breathe-in, 1 sec pause after raising both palms, then down your both palms with continuous 8 secs breathe-out and 1 sec pause at this position as depicted in the video. Thus one cycle completed.After 10 cycle Do POSITIVE THINKING 1 min at sitting crossed legged position(i.e. Sitting Sukhasana). (200 secs)
Tuladandasana (Balance Posture)
Practice Procedure: Stand relaxed with the feet together. Raise the arms directly above the head and touch both palms. Bend forward slowly from the hips, keeping the trunk, head and arms in a straight line and transferring the weight onto the right leg. Simultaneously raise the left leg straight back, keeping it in line with the trunk. The body should pivot from the right hip joint. In the final position the left leg, trunk, head and arms are all in one straight, horizontal line. The right leg is straight and vertical. Focus the gaze on the hands.
2 sets (30 secs each way) – By raising one leg with forward bending and staying at the balancing position as depicted in the video, you have to stay 30 secs with normal breathing at this position. In this way another time have to do by raising other leg up to 30 secs. This is one set by doing both sides. After each set, 1 minute rest at standing attention position with closed eyes. [240 secs]
Contra-indication: People with lower back problems, heart problems or high blood pressure should not do this asana.
Utkatasan (Awkward Pose/Powerful pose)
Practice Procedure: Stand erect with the feet and the legs touching one another closely and stretched both of your arms forward. Keeping the spinal column straight, gradually lower yourself as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep in mind that the chest does not lean forward but remains erect as that of your spinal column.
2 sets(30 secs per set). At the position of UTKATASANA, 30 secs have to spent with normal breathing and 30 secs needed for rest at standing Attention position. In this way another set have to do. (120 secs)
Contra-indication: Person having DVT syndrome(deep vein thrombosis), pedal oedema, gross genu varum deformity. Degenerative meniscus syndrome, laxity of ligaments, osteoporotic skeletal structure should avoid this asana.
Janusirasana (Head to Knee Pose)
Practice Procedure: Sit with your legs outstretched. Now fold your left leg from the knee and touch the groins of the right leg in such a way that the soles of the left feet remains touching the side of the right thigh. Now catch the thumb of the outstretched right leg and lower your head in such a way that the forehead touches the knee of the outstretched leg. Repeat the same posture with the left leg outstretched. The respiration will remain normal.
2 sets (60 secs each set i.e. Alternately do this posture(asana) by bending each leg up to 30 secs with normal breathing). After each set, 1 min rest at lying on your back with closed eyes.(240 secs).
Practice Procedure: 2 sets (15 times per set) – You have to spent 2 secs (Assuming 1 sec for breathe-in and 1 sec for breathe-out) for each rolling on abdomen as depicted in the video. In this way, you have to do 15 times at a stretch. This is one set. After each set, 30 secs rest at Jasthi Asana on chest by touching the forehead on the ground where both palm and feet will touch together by stretching the whole body as depicted in the video. [120 secs]
Nadi Sodhan Pranayama
Practice Procedure: Sit in any meditative posture. Keep the spine in erect position with relax body and mind. Now slowly inhale the external air deeply(with respiratory efficiency) through right nostril with pressing the left nostril with ring finger and hold the breath after closing the right nostril with thumb, after holding the breath after closing the right nostril with thumb, then exhale the air through the left nostril slowly.
2 cycles alternately starting from each nostril (Total 44*4=176 secs)
After holding left nostril, 4 secs breathe-in by right nostril, 1 sec pause , 8 secs breathe-out by right nostril, 1 sec pause, then again 4 secs breathe-in by right nostril holding both nostrils by 2 secs, 8 secs breathe-out by left nostril, 1 sec pause, then again 4 secs breathe-in by left nostril; holding both nostrils by 2 secs, then 8 secs breathe-out by right nostril, then 1 sec pause. This is one cycle starting from right nostril. (44 secs)
After holding right nostril, 4 secs breathe-in by left nostril, 1 sec pause , 8 secs breathe-out by left nostril, 1 sec pause, then again 4 secs breathe-in by left nostril; holding both nostril by 2 secs, 8 secs breathe-out by right nostril, 1 sec pause, then again 4 secs breathe-in by right nostril; holding both nostrils by 2 secs, then 8 secs breathe-out by left nostril, then 1 sec pause. This is one cycle starting from left nostril. (44 secs)
Meditation at Muladhara (Root) Chakra
Muladhara chakra is the base chakra or root chakra. Muladhara means foundation. This chakra has four petals around a yellow square. The yellow square represents the element of Earth and the petals represents the four directions- north, south, east and west. The animal form representing the base chakra is a seven trunked elephant, associated with solidity and assuredness. The elephant’s trunks represent the sacred sevens, the chakras, planets, colours, note and behavior which we work in the world.
Practice Procedure: Sit in sukhasana with ganya mudra. Full concentration at coxic region tale bone of vertebral column i.e. full concentration at muladhara chakra. Hold your left nostril with ring finger of your right hand, breathe-in with right nostril and breathe-out with right nostril. Again breathe– in through right nostril. Then breath-hold by closing both nostrils. Then breathe-out through left nostril, breathe-in through left nostril and breath hold by closing both nostrils and breathe-out by right nostril. Then get relaxed. Now do mulabadha mudra i.e. contraction of rectum by sankhini nari or anal nerve. Breathe-in and contract the rectum. Hold breath and contraction. Then breathe-out and relax the contraction. Breathe hold. Breathe-in and contract the rectum. Hold breath and the contraction. Breathe-out and relax the contraction.Follow the meditation procedure as per the direction in the video at the same time and for single time only.
Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Sit in any meditative posture. Keep the spine in erect position with relaxed body and mind. Now slowly inhale the external air deeply through left nostril, pressing the right nostril with thumb. Hold your breath after closing the left nostril as well with ring finger. Release right nostril and breathe out. Breath hold and breathe in through right nostril. Breath hold by closing both nostrils. Then release left nostril and breathe out.
Practice Procedure: 10 cycles. First – continuous 6 secs breathe-in by left nostril, 2 secs pause by holding both nostrils, continuous 12 secs breathe-out by right nostril, 2 secs pause by holding breath, then – continuous 6 secs breathe-in by right nostril, 2 secs pause by holding both nostrils, continuous 12 secs breathe-out by left nostril, 2 secs pause by holding breath. In this way 1 cycle has been completed. After 10 cycles Do POSITIVE THINKING* for 1 min. (total 500 secs)
1. Continue this course once a day, 5 days a week and up to 6 months. After 6 months, this course should be changed for advanced course for getting better result.
2. Ii is advised to practice on a reasonably empty stomach or at least 2-3 hours after your meal.
3. Positive thinking – to get the best result at shortest time, at every rest period do positive thinking such as –
Positive thinking is capable of stimulating various glands throughout our body, such as hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. These glands secrete beneficial hormones which keep the body immune from diseases. Further, through positive thinking the autonomous nervous system can be regulated.
4. If you feel a particular asana or breathing procedure or movement or meditation procedure is difficult for you or is hurting you – just skip that and move onto the next one. This way you can minimize the chance of getting hurt and maximize the opportunity to learn.
To get full benefit from yoga meditation, you have to maintain your health in an optimum state. For this purpose eating the right food, particularly if you have a health condition then avoiding certain food that are detrimental and would cause aggravation. A healthy diet is essential for long life and the avoidance of many life threatening health conditions and diseases. When you eat healthy food you feel energized . This energy extends to the old age, keeping you vibrant and healthy even as you age.
A healthy diet plan is also essential to keep fit. A good balance between exercise and food intake is important, as this helps to maintain muscle strength and a healthy body weight. A balanced diet can help you maintain your proper body weight and decrease your risk of many diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. A wide variety of foods is important for good health. Different minerals are important nutrients in our diets.
Foods you can eat:
Grains : Whole grains are healthier. So brown rice, whole wheat toast, oats or walnut-flax seed oatmeal etc can be consumed.
Fruits: Fruits are rich in fiber and vitamins and free of fats and cholesterol. Eat varieties of fruits such as apple, banana, strawberries, lemons, papaya, Dates, Ripened mango, Pears, Cucumber,cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, chard, collard greens, raspberries, peppermint leaves, asparagus, funnel bulb, pineapple etc.
Vegetables: Contain fiber and many nutrients . As vegetables are very low in calorie, can be eaten in large amount . Varieties of vegetables should be eaten such as- Broccoli, Artichoke, Baby corn, Beans (green, wax, Italian), Cabbage (green, bokchoy, Chinese), Cauliflower , Mushroom, tomato, bell peppers, lady’s finger, bottle gourd etc.
Leaves: Leaves are source of minerals and dietary fiber. Leaves are very low in calorie. Spinach, celery leaves, curry leaves, lettuce etc can be eaten in large amount.
Meat: Meat is one of the main source of animal protein which contains essential amino acids (not easily available in non animal protein). Some meat contain higher amounts of fat, saturated fat and some cholesterol. So to avoid these fats eat skinless chicken or turkey, Cornish hen, special cuts of beef or pork which contains fat in lesser amount.
Fish: Fish is another source of animal protein. Cold water fishes are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. You should eat fish preferably fatty fish like salmon, halibut and cod etc.
Egg: Eggs are one of the most nutritious food . The yolk is the most nutritious and healthiest part but it contains cholesterol also. If you want to avoid it then you can eat egg white.
For Vegetarians: Soybeans, Tofu, Pinto beans, Red/White beans, Navy beans, Lima beans etc are source of protein.
Dairy: Skim milk, Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, Soy cheese.
Nuts: Almonds, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds etc.
Spices: Turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds and cardamom etc.
Oils: Oils rich in omega 3 are good for health like canola oil, grape seed oil, virgin coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, walnut/peanut oil, vegetable oil etc.
Water: Always keep in mind, your body needs plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration. So, drink purified water at least an interval of 1 hour throughout the day.
Foods You should avoid:
Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium. Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup. Fried meats, fish, tofu etc.
Avoid any food containing sugar like cookies, cakes, ice cream etc.
You should avoid alcohol, any type of hard and soft drinks containing sugar, soda, carbon dioxide.
Avoid fast food and processed beef and bacon etc.