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Yoga for rheumatoid arthritis

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Poses* and Tips for Pain Relief

*(downloadable sequence)

By Melissa Lopez, E-RYT200, RYT500



Living with rheumatoid arthritis(RA) can be a debilitating disease that affects quality of life. According to the Arthritis Foundation research, yoga can help people with various types of arthritis reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function, and lower stress and tension for better sleep. Yoga is a practice that comes in many different forms, and includes poses, breathing techniques and meditation. It started in ancient India and has been touted as a way to boost physical and mental health for 5,000 years. In fact, yoga is proven to help people with arthritis improve many physical symptoms like pain and stiffness, and psychological issues like stress and anxiety.

Yoga offers people with arthritis a form of exercise that is enjoyable enough to do regularly

Medical research shows evidence that yoga is gentle enough for most people to do every day. However, finding the right instructor is key. A good instructor not only understands that you have arthritis and shows you how to modify the moves, but should help create an overall program that fits with your goals. If you are less interested in the mind-body connection or meditation aspects of yoga than the physical poses and flexibility benefits, find an instructor or class that focuses on what you need.


Some yoga poses may need to be modified for people with arthritis.Downward facing dog, for example, involves kneeling on the floor and raising your body with your arms. People with arthritis may also need to use a chair, a block, a strap or other aids to help maintain balance during some poses.


MostAmericans do not get enough physical activity, a factor that contributes to higher rates of obesity and health problems like arthritis. Set a goal to get moving. Before starting a yoga regimen, speak to your rheumatologist or primary-care physician to ensure that yoga is right for you. In addition, discuss what type of modifications might be appropriate for your unique condition with your doctor. Just be careful not to overdo it, and be mindful if you experience any pain or discomfort. Don’t overtax a joint that’s flaring.



Yoga’s emphasis on introspective thought – pinpointing the sources of pain or anxiety and learning to relax them – is useful for people with arthritis. In yoga, you develop a communication with your own body.

Physical activities for the week
  • Morning yoga & go for a short walk

  • Journal Enjoy stillness and/or meditate mid afternoon or evening

  • Practice meditation (justsit orlie down and close your eyes are breath)

  • Eat healthy fresh food and snacks

  • Listen to favorite music

  • Spend time in nature

Emotional activities for the week
  • Journal

  • Listen to favorite music

  • Spend time with family/friends/pets

  • Practice meditation (justsit orlie down and close your eyes are breath)

  • Do something fun


GentleYoga forRA- building strength and flexibility in legs, hips and spine Following the below link to download a 60-minutes yoga sequence.

Melissa Lopez founder and owner Giving Tree Yoga + Wellness
Melissa Lopez, E-RYT200, RYT500

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