Yoga Helps Control Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain – in Your Mind and Your Body

No one can argue that Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) isn’t extremely painful. Medical companies, Scientists and Physicians continually do their best to come up with new and improved medications to slow the crippling effects of the disease and manage pain while Rheumatologists work hard to determine the most beneficial combinations of those medications to treat your RA.

You have a personal responsibility as someone diagnosed with RA to manage your disease to the best of your ability as your team of doctors and supporters can’t be with you every single moment of your day. It’s been proven time and time again that diet and exercise can help control the feelings of fatigue, pain and inflammation that go hand and hand with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Eating foods infused with the right vitamins and/or taking oral supplements is just the first step to controlling your disease. The second major step to controlling your RA is to exercise regularly and to do so smartly. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily be out there running marathons. We have arthritis people, which means we need to adjust our exercise regimens to protect our joints as much as possible. Speed walking, weight training, elliptical work, martial arts, yoga and swimming are just a few examples of ways to get your heart moving without damaging your joints. Yoga however is my preferred method of exercise.

The John Hopkins Center for Arthritis indicates that “yoga can be a meaningful and enjoyable alternative to traditional forms of exercise such as aerobics or aquatic exercise with important health benefits. Yoga can play an important role in reducing stress and frustration that results from pain and disability, and increasing positive feelings and wellbeing. Drug treatments for OA and RA have improved markedly in the last few years. Despite this, arthritis cannot be cured, and even the best medications and medical care can only help so much. There is a great need for additional activities patients can do to reduce pain, disability, and take control of the overall impact arthritis may have on their lives. Thus, the evidence suggests that, when combined with a program of good medical care, yoga may provide important additional physical and psychological health benefits for arthritis patients. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center hope to be at the forefront of exploring this relationship through rigorously conducted clinical research trials.”

I’ve personally found yoga to be a God send in my RA treatment plan. Not only does it make my body stronger while increasing my energy levels, but it also calms my mind and picks up my spirits. Yoga is an emotional getaway for many people, especially those with chronic diseases. If you allow your practice to take over your mind and your body, you can truly escape to a place where pain and other negative feelings are non-existent… even if just for an hour.

On that note,
Namas-De my dear readers.


22 thoughts on “Yoga Helps Control Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain – in Your Mind and Your Body

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    1. I recently found out I have RA, but I fear I have had it for a long time. I took a Yoga class a few years ago. I could not do the stances because my feet got so numb and were burning. I asked the yoga instructor and good friend of mine that teaches yoga why that was happening. Both of them never knew this to happen to anyone. Have you ever heard of someone having this problem because of RA while doing yoga? I was so disappointed because I enjoyed the class, but I could not do any of the stances.


      1. Hi Lee – Thank you for sharing. I have definitely felt this burning sensation while doing yoga in the past too. You were probably having a flare up. When that happens, I think it’s best to rest and relax. Try yoga again when your RA is more under control. Or get a yoga dvd and practice at home with slight modifications. The bottom line is, don’t push yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable.

        I for one have a hard time stretching my fingers outward in the intended down dog position. In order to make myself more comfortable, I clench my fingers into fists so my entire hand bears the weight of my body rather than my small fingers. It’s ok to step outside the norm with yoga! And if your instructor doesn’t encourage modifications to meet each individual yogi’s practice, find a new yoga instructor!


  2. i amsuffering from RA, unbearable pains and with deformed joints.I do yoga daily but i want to know as you have said that yoga can decrease my pains,do you really think so? I feel relaxed and feel no pains in my joints atleast for 1 hr after practising yoga. Is there no exercise which can prevent inflammation and pain for 1 whole day?


    1. Hi Mancirat,
      Everyone is a little bit different. Peoples’ bodies respond to medicine, therapy, excercise, etc. in different ways. Take a Rx for instance, I know some people that don’t respond to a particular drug and then others take the same drug and experienced remission. While I do not neccessarily think that yoga has 100% healed me, I do think that it keeps my joints lubricated and that it helps in my overall treatment plan from both a physical and mental perspective. I know many people say the same thing about Tai Chi for arthritis relief. Have you tried Tai Chi?


  3. i love to do yoga, but i have to wear wrist braces to do some of the floor positions. Is there any harm to putting some stress on my wrists or is it actually making them stronger. I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 10 years and cold weather is the worst thing i can think of.


  4. Hi! My husband met your sister by chance this past week, and passed your blog along to me.
    I could not agree more that yoga is so helpful for RA – on so many levels! I do the eliptical pretty regularly, and aqua aerobics when it’s available. They both are great, but yoga is the whole package – mind, body, and for some spirit. My body feels stronger and somehow taller after practicing yoga. It is truly healing for my RA – I’m glad to know there is someone who sees it the same way. 🙂


    1. Hi Jackie,

      Nice to meet you (virtually). My SIS told me about you! Why couldn’t they drag us along to Israel? 🙂 I hear that floating in the dead sea has some real benefits to people with RA. Glad you are taking advantage of yoga. I find it helps so incredibly much to oil my squeekie old joints.

      Take care and stay in touch!


  5. Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was
    wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.


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