Arthritis is a disease of joints. People suffering from this disease have a burning feeling, terrible pain and aching in their affected joints. Swelling and stiffness persist in the joints.
The most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoidarthritis, Osteoarthritis and Gouty Arthritis. It is common practice all over the world to give medicines and recommend physical exercises to the patients for curing this disease. Though yoga is still not yet well known to the medical practitioners, it cures this disease within two months when it is of moderate type. For chronic cases it might take 6 to 8 month’s time. The yogic method of treatment of arthritis involves two steps – intake of proper diet and practicing different asanas.
As a part of the diet, Arthritis patients are advised not to take banana, tea, coffee, bread, non-vegetarian, oily and fried food. They should drink at least 14 to 16 glasses of fresh water every day and are advised to take alkaline diet fruits like sweet orange, sweet lemon, mosambi and pineapple etc. Smoking and intake of alcoholic drinks is strictly banned and fasting once a week is advisable.
A regular practice of Sukshma Vyayam and Asanas will cure arthritis of any type without the use of medicine.
1. Yogic Sukshma Vyayam
One can also try walking, swimming and meditation along with yoga for faster relief from Arthritis. All these sukshama vyam kirya can be done while seating only.
(A)Toe Bending – Bend the toes of both feet forward and backward slowly for 10 times. Keep the feet upright and ankles relaxed and motionless.
(B) Ankle Bending – Sit down slowly move both the feet backward and forward bending them at the ankle joints. Repeat for 10 times.
(C) Ankle Rotation – Remain in the starting position both feats together. Rotate both the feet together in clock wise direction a few times. Then rotate them in anticlockwise direction a few times.
(D) Leg lifting – Remain in the starting position. Now lift left leg parallel to your right leg big toe. And remain in the position for a few seconds. Then repeat on the right leg for a few seconds.
(E) Finger bending –Sit in the starting position – straighten the arms in the front level with the shoulders. Stretch the fingers and thumbs of both hands and then bend them closing the fists. Bend each flange of the finger and thumbs like a cat closing its claw. Do it minimum 10 times.
(F) Finger Spreading – Sit in the starting position. Stretch and spread apart the fingers of both hands as for as possible then keeping the thumbs in side, close the fists tight clenching your teeth. Do it minimum 10 rounds.
(G) Wrist Rotation – Sit in the starting position. Stretch your arms in the front at shoulder level. With fists of both hands closed bring the wrists together. Rotate the wrists a few times in clock wise direction and then the same number of times in anti-clock wise direction.
(H) Wrist bending – Sit in the starting position stretch the arms in front of the body at shoulder level keep the plans open and finger straight throughout the entire practice. Bend the hands backward from the wrists as if pressing the palms as if pressing the palm against a wall with the fingers pointing toward the root top. Bend the hand forward from the wrists so that finger point toward the ground keeps the elbow straight throughout the practice. Repeat 10 times.
(I) Elbow Bending – Sit in the starting position. Stretch the arms in front of the body at shoulders level. The hands should be open with palms facing up. Bend the arms at the elbows and touch the fingers to the shoulder. Straighten the arms again. Repeat 10 times.
2. Tadasana (PALM TREE POSE)
Stand erect with your heels together or about 10cm apart. Raise the arms over the head, and place your folded hands together on top of the head. Inhaling stretch your arms, shoulders and chest upward. Simultaneously raise the heels and stand on your toes. Stretch the whole body from top to bottom, without losing balance or moving the feet. Keeping the eyes open and fixing your gaze at some point in front of your stay in the position for a few seconds depending upon your capacity. Exhaling, slowly come down on the heels. This is one round. Do five such rounds. Breathing should be synchronized with the raising and lowering of the arms.
Benefits: The entire spine is stretched and the spinal nerves are loosened. This asana is good for arthritis patients. This asana develops physical and mental balance. This asana stretches the abdominal muscles and the intestines times and useful diving the first six months of pregnancy.
3. Pawan Muktasana
Lie down on the back with both ankles and toes together. Fold the knee of the left foot and lift it up towards the chest. Then with both hands fold the knee between both elbows push the knee towards the chin and look straight. In this state the other feet will remain straight similarly practice it on the other leg then on both the legs together. Then both legs should be folded between both arms and place the knees on the chin and look straight ahead. Do it three times with each leg. (See the picture at the top of the article)
Benefits: This asana cures knee pain and arthritis. It massages the digestive organs and is therefore very effective in removing wind and constipation. This asana also massages the pelvic muscles and alleviates impotence, sterility and menstrual problem.
People who suffer from slipped disc or sciatica should not practice pawan muktasana.
4. Sarvangasana Method: Lie down on the back and relax completely. Slowly raise the legs, hips and trunk in a continuous movement until vertical. Raise the legs – keeping the knees straight and hips by supporting the arms on the ground then bend the elbows and hold the trunk in the hand. In this posture the chin in buried in the upper chest. Retain the position as long as it is comfortable. Then come down slowly. Relax do it only once.
BENEFITS: Blood supply to the organs in the upper part of the body such as eyes, heart, face, thyroid, roots of spinal nerves and brain. As a result circulatory congestion is relived and hormones flow into blood freely. This asana used in yoga therapy for the treatment of Asthma, Diabetes, Colitis, Thyroid disorders, Impotence and Menopause.
CAUTION: Those suffering from High B.P, Heart Ailments, Cervical pain and slipped disc should refrain from doing this asana.
5. Dhanurasana (Bow pose): Lie flat on your abdomen, 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. Place the chin on the floor clasp the hand around the ankles. Take a deep breath and raise your head trunk and legs above the round in order to left legs, pull hands and legs in opposite, direction support the entire body on the floor. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable and then slowly relaxing the leg muscles lower the legs, chest and head to the starting position. Do it minimum 3 times daily.
Benefits: This asana helps to improve digestion by stimulating gastric secretions. The liver abdominal organ and muscles are massaged. This asana is recommended for the management of diabetes, menstrual disorders and neck pain.
Caution: Patients of colitis, hernia and slipped disc should avoid this asana. And heart patients and hyper tension patients to avoid this asana also.
6. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama: Sit in comfortable meditative posture. Keep the head and spine upright. Relax the whole body and close the eyes. Then with help of right hand thumb close the right nostril. Now breathe in through left nostril. Then close the left nostril with ring finger and release the pressure of the thumb on the right nostril while breathing out through the right nostril next then inhale through the right nostril. Hold and release the left nostril. This is one round of Nadi Shoudhana Pranayama. Do it minimum 20 rounds.
BENEFITS: This pranayama ensures that the whole body is nourished by an extra supply of oxygen, Carbon Dioxide is efficiently expelled and blood is purified of toxins. This pranayama increase vitality and lower level of stress and anxiety by harmonizing the pran. Nadi means channel or flow of energy and shoudhana means purification. This pranayama is very – very good for stress and mental depression. Ram ban for any type of arthritis.
7. Shavasana: Lie flat on the back with arms about 15cm away from the body. And palms facing upwards. Let the fingers of both hands curl up slightly. Close the eyes. The head and spine should be on a straight line. Relax the whole body and stop all physical movements. Become aware of your natural breathing, now with every inhalation chant the word SO and with every exhalation think of the word HUM repeat the mantra for five to 10 minutes. Duration according to time available. Awareness Physical first on relaxing the whole body then on the breath. And spiritually on AJNA CHAKRA (Eye brow center gazing is called ajna chakra).
BENEFITS: This asana relax the whole psycho – physiological system. It should be practiced before sleep also tries not to move body at all during practice of this asana, because slightest movement will create muscular contraction. This asana works as Ram Barn for H. B. patients, Heart patients, depression and stress.