Suffering from joint pain and disorders can make life miserable and uncomfortable for many people. Not to mention the constant taking of pain relievers and using hot and cold pads. Some areas that are most affected by joint pain include the knees, wrists, elbows, back, hips, shoulders and neck. According to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Americans are nearly 100% likely to have an episode of knee pain at least once in their lifetime.
However, people who include yoga in their fitness program may improve joint discomfort and their general health as well as lose weight.
The goal of yoga is unity of the body, mind and spirit with the focus on body posture, breathing and meditation. Several forms of yoga exist to meet the needs of varying lifestyles and personalities. Each yoga style emphasizes different positions and specific theories or beliefs. Some popular types are:
- Hatha Yoga – the basis of all styles that focuses on asanas or postures,
- Power Yoga – combines strength exercises, stretching and meditative breathing,
- Ananda Yoga – includes silent affirmations and controlled breathing while doing different poses,
- Bikram Yoga – a comprehensive style that embodies all forms of physical fitness in a heated environment,
- Integrative yoga therapy – uses asanas, meditation and visualizations to treat specific disorders and illnesses.
Doing yoga offers many benefits for the body, mind and spirit and overall wellbeing, including:
- Increased strength and muscle tone,
- Enhanced coordination, flexibility and posture,
- Increased mood and concentration,
- Improved injury recovery time and reducing risks of re-injury,
- Relieving joint and muscle pain and symptoms for other medical conditions such as asthma and arthritis,
- Managing stress and improving deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
Yoga and Weight Loss
Studies have shown that weight loss and control is possible with yoga although the calorie-burning power is lower than other types of aerobic exercises. Someone who weighs 150 pounds may burn about 200 calories doing yoga for an hour. However, 60 minutes of aerobic exercise or walking at 3 mph may burn more than twice the number of calories. Although there is no scientific association between yoga and weight loss, it is believed that the benefits of awareness and self-discipline may play an important role in lifestyle changes such as healthier food choices and increased physical activities. Doing yoga three times weekly along with other types of aerobic exercise and eating a healthy diet is a good weight loss strategy. This should involve consuming fewer calories than what is used up during physical activity.
Yoga and Joint Health
Yoga is also a popular and effective exercise method to help relieve joint disorders. The many postures or asanas used may help to remove blockages, improve movement and circulation as well as strengthen and stretch the joints, bones and connecting muscles. Some yoga poses that may be successful in treating joint discomfort and pains include the triangle position (Trikonasana), hip-to-hand position (Januhastasana) and wind relieving position (Pavanmuktasana).
As a safe and effective form of exercise, yoga offers hope for people with joint pain and osteoarthritis. It also encourages lifestyle changes such as improved mental discipline, physical fitness, balanced diets, weight control and general wellness.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!