Yoga combines physical exercises, breathing, and meditation to create a unique form of exercise. Many people find it rejuvenating—but it can also be useful for treating chronic conditions like arthritis and their possible side effects, such as anxiety and stress.
There are many types of yoga. Chances are that there are several yoga studios—offering a variety of classes—in your town. While the different types of yoga have similar health benefits, their small differences may affect your ability to participate or level of enjoyment.
4 types of yoga for those with arthritis
Depending on your type of arthritis and overall condition, one or more of these yoga types may be a good fit for you. It's best to talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
- Iyengar Iyengar yoga prioritizes alignment of the body and precise movements. It can include ropes or blocks to help participants ease into poses. This type of yoga is good for those with arthritis, because it includes modifications that may work well for those with limited mobility in one or more joints.
- Bikram This is also known as "hot yoga," because it takes place in 104-degree heated room. The heat and humidity can facilitate stretching and flexibility, but it's important to stay hydrated and avoid over-extending joints that have become looser than normal in the warm environment. Bikram yoga is not recommended for people with heart disease.
- Viniyoga Viniyoga focuses on breathing. Each pose and movement is coordinated as you breathe in and out. Viniyoga is adaptable, which makes it a good option for those with arthritis, especially if you are just beginning yoga. It's often practiced in private one-on-one sessions with an instructor who can customize poses specifically for you.
- Ashtanga This style of yoga incorporates aerobic movements like push-ups and lunges. It's also known as "power yoga." If you have arthritis, this may not be a good fit unless your arthritis is mild and you're in very good shape.
Tell your yoga instructor about your arthritis and which joints are affected. If possible, find an instructor who has experience working with people with chronic conditions like arthritis.