Rethinking Yoga...And RA...

Leslie Rott Health Guide
  • I’ve done yoga…once…


    I went with a friend not too long after I first got sick.


    It was relaxing, and I did feel quite energized afterward. 


    But it just wasn’t for me.


    I need something less cerebral when it comes to my physical activity.  And I couldn’t get past the sweaty feet smell (just saying).


    But just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for someone else.


    And maybe I didn’t give it a fair shot.


    Because when it comes to RA, staying active is super important, even when your whole body hurts.  Yoga is one of many ways to stay active.

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    While there haven’t been large-scale studies to date on the effectiveness of yoga on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, several studies have concluded yoga to be at least somewhat beneficial in patients with RA, if for no other reason than keeping active (Badsha, et al. 2009; Bosch, et al. 2009; Evans, et al. 2010; Haslock, et al. 1994; Telles, et al. 2011; Ward, et al. 2011).


    It is clear that more work needs to be done on the safety and efficacy of yoga on rheumatoid arthritis, but again, early findings show that there are definite benefits.


    And it’s relatively safe for people with RA.  As is typical with any activity, if it is uncomfortable or painful, it should not be done.


    In general, there are a variety of benefits to yoga, including; increasing flexibility, increasing strength, improves posture, improves breathing, reduces stress, improves concentration and mood, and the list goes on and on. 


    This short video shows some ways that yoga poses can be adapted for RA:


    I’d love any yoga enthusiasts out there to try and convince me to give yoga another try. 


    And while we’re on the subject, what activities do you enjoy doing?  How do your activity needs change when you are flaring?




    Badsha, H., Chhabra, V., Leibman, C., Mofti, A., and Kong, Kok Ooi.  2009.  “The Benefits of Yoga for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results of a Preliminary, Structured 8-Week Program.”  Rheumatology International 2009 (29): 1417-1421.


    Bosch, P., Traustadottir, T., Howard, P., and Matt, K.  2009.  “Functional and Physiological Effects of Yoga in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Pilot Study.”  Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 15 (4): 24-31.


    Evans, S., Moieni, M., Taub, R., Subramanian, S., Tsao, J., Sternlieb, B., and Zeltzer, L. 2010.  “Iyengar Yoga for Young Adults with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results from a Mixed-Methods Pilot Study.” Journal of Pain Symptom Management 39 (5): 904-913. 

    Haslock, I., Monro, R., Nagarathna R., Nagendra, H., Raghuram, N.  1994.  “Measuring the Effects of Yoga in Rheumatoid Arthritis.  British Journal of Rheumatology 33 (8):787-788.


    Telles, S., Naveen, K., Gaur, V., and Balkrishna, A.  2011.  “Effect of One Week of Yoga on Function and Severity in Rheumatoid Arthritis.”  BMC Research Notes 12 (4): 118.


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    Ward, L., Treharne, G., and Stebbings, S.  2011.  “The Suitability of Yoga as a Potential Therapeutic Intervention for Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Focus Group Approach.”  Musculoskeletal Care 9 (4): 211-221.


Published On: October 01, 2012