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4 Simple Yoga Poses for Arthritis Pain

Regular physical activity has proven psychological and physical benefits, from improved mood and longevity to weight loss and reduced risk of chronic disease. But for those living with arthritis exercise can seem problematic; your joints hurt, so why would you want to stress them any further by exercising? However, regular exercise may promote joint health, decreasing pain and discomfort associated with these conditions. It can also help build strength in areas prone to arthritis, such as the spine, knees and hips.

Recent studies have shown that a regular yoga practice can benefit those with arthritis in a number of ways. Although not all study participants reported changes in the amount of daily pain they experienced, yoga did help them change their attitude and relationship with the pain. The following poses are extremely gentle and will help you relieve pain, improve mobility, and live a happier, longer life.

cat pose and cow pose
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Cat & Cow Pose

Both of these poses are great for spinal health as it increases blood circulation—even if your spine mobility is very minimal. Cat Pose will lengthen the spine by increasing the space between vertebrae, while Cow Pose will stretch the spine. Together they may improve back flexibility and posture.

mountain pose
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Mountain Pose

This very simple, low-impact pose often begins yoga sequences. Although Mountain Pose may not seem to do much, the prayer position used in this pose stretches the hands, fingers and wrists to improve circulation and create space between joints.

bridge pose
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Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose is yet another way to improve circulation to the spine, stretch and strengthen the back muscles and reduce headaches.

crescent lunge yoga
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Crescent Lunge

Improve flexibility and reduce tightness in your hip flexors with this deep stretch. While Crescent Lunge is a more advanced stretch, modifications can be made for those with knee, shoulder, neck or back pain.

If you think your range of motion is too limited to benefit from yoga, think again: Iyengar poses are easily modified to accommodate limited mobility. So don’t count yourself out if your arthritis prevents fully bending. Plus, the soothing nature of yoga will leave you feeling relaxed and reinvigorated!