If you suffer with the pain and limiting impact of arthritis, exercise might seem like something that isn’t for you. But it’s the opposite that’s true. Exercise can be a great way of maintaining or increasing your range of motion and the strength of your bones.
Here’s what the NHS says about yoga and arthritis.
It’s not just the NHS. Arthritis Research UK undertook a study to see if yoga could deliver real benefits to people suffering from arthritis. Their study showed that practising yoga can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis and improve overall ‘back function’. The positive effects were felt within the first 3 months of starting yoga. Regular practice can help to maintain those benefits.
Of course, yoga is not the only form of exercise that can help and it might not be for you. The benefits of regular exercise for arthritis suffers include but aren’t restricted to improved range of motion, better balance and reduced stress. If in doubt, speak to your doctor about how exercise might be able to help and what form of exercise might be suitable for you.
From Wednesday 22nd March there will be a class at Avonmouth Community Centre. The class will take place at lunchtime, 12.30pm – 1.30pm, and costs £5. All equipment is provided.
I know, it can be daunting taking up anything new, especially something physical like yoga. You might be worried that it will hurt (I’ll get to that later). You might be put off by all the images of slim bodies in lycra. You might think you can’t do yoga for a number of reasons. But you really should think again.
I came across this podcast on the BBC – yoga after paralysis. It’s an interview with an American woman who used to be a yoga teacher, who then suffered a bad back injury and is now “80% paralysed”. She has no control over her feet, which makes walking pretty difficult, nevermind standing yoga poses. Yet, she practices yoga. If she falls over she just gets back up.
There’s a very yogic life lesson right there about endurance and perseverance. Just keep going, keep trying. It can be frustrating and embarrassing but it will make you stronger, and yoga should make you stronger. Not just physically.
Yoga is an holistic form of exercise. To get the most out of it you need to put everything into it. When you can practice, practice to the best of your ability. If you find one pose too difficult, do another. If you’re tired, practice some restorative poses. There’s more to practice than just developing flexibility – in fact that’s just an outcome of practice.
At some point during a class or your own practice something might hurt. Maybe your hamstrings are tight. Maybe today isn’t the day you’ll master headstand. But by practicing you’ll build up the mental and physical strength you need to overcome these obstacles. Or you’ll learn to accept that there’s always going to be an obstacle, but it doesn’t have to get in the way all the time.
Each week I write up the week’s yoga classes in my teaching diary. This includes the poses we did, the order we did them and some instruction about the practice. You can read the teaching diaries for the last two weeks by clicking in the links below:
Friday 3rd March
Friday 10th March
If you have any questions about yoga, fill out and submit the form below.
As classes at the Seamills Community Centre have been going well I decided to start a class in another local venue, the Cotswold Community Centre. I taught my first class there this morning, it seemed to go well. Everyone survived at least!
Tonight sees me teach my first evening class in Seamills. This class will only be 1 hour long, the aim is to give people more of a workout!