Practicing yoga poses for stiff joints is one of the wisest choices we can make. It’s right up there with wearing a hat in cold weather and washing our hands before touching food. Pain most definitely decreases anyone’s desire to move, but it’s actually likely the best thing you can do. Even though it’s tempting to take a more sedentary approach when you’re feeling joint stiffness, resist the urge. A gentle approach is the key. And, not expecting your body to perform as it once did will greatly enhance the benefits of moving your body with the goal of kindness and increased comfort.
Yoga poses for stiff joints will minimize discomfort
I know, we yoga lovers claim it cures everything. While yoga won’t magically give you the ability to read minds or understand calculus, it does have a touch of magic in healing lots of causes of pain and limited mobility. When we strengthen our muscles, they have an improved ability to work as shock absorbers. This enhanced strength and flexibility assist our joints in working more comfortably. It takes time and you may have to change your practice to a more restorative one. But if you’re game and willing, there are most likely positive results to look forward to.
Stiffness is no fun. Let’s help ourselves out
If you suffer from, “I used to be able to…” knock it off. I’m telling you, me too. But it does us no good to lament for the body we once had or longing for abilities that we used to take for granted. Self-care is demanded here and loving acceptance of what is will minimize the mental anguish that comes with anger towards a body that isn’t performing as optimally as you believe it should. It’s really sorta cool when you land in the realm of doing what you need and prioritizing it over doing what you want.
Just because you can doesn’t make it a good idea
Oh my stars, I need a tattoo of this sentiment. I see it every day in yoga classes. Students who push their bodies past a healthy range of motion only to injure themselves and not be able to practice. It’s a sick cycle, but it’s one we can stop if we adopt new thinking. Here’s a little advice on how to use yoga poses for stiff joints and embrace all truth as good news:
- If you have pain, don’t ignore it. Being kind, patient, and practicing a bit differently will help you feel better physically. Just as importantly, you’ll feel a surge of gratitude towards yourself. Maybe this means bending your knee less in Warrior 2. Perhaps it would be best to sit on a block in Malasana. Or, maybe you don’t bend your knees so deeply and instead strengthen your quads.
- Practice non-attachment. This will save you from so much torture both physically and emotionally. I once loved Compass Pose as much as I loved my dog. (kidding!) But my shoulder started to get squeamish. So I don’t do it anymore. There are quite a few yoga poses I simply skip now and perhaps, so should you. When we insist on taking our bodies on the trip of shapes that look cool but don’t serve, we’re in for it. And sure, I can make that shape, but it doesn’t feel good. Pain demands our attention. If you want to push yourself, focus on muscle building. It’s uncomfortable and challenging, but it will bring you many gifts.
Try these yoga poses for stiff joints immediately
Legs up against the wall pose: It’s definitely one of the most restorative poses in the yoga asana arsenal. It relieves congestions from the feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Daily, y’all. Do this as much as possible.
Puppy pose with a bolster: Gently opens the shoulders and provides support for your head and chest.
Figure four hip-opener: Execute it reclining on the floor or transition into it from legs up against the wall.
This is ahimsa in action. Enjoy and have a day full of ease and little distraction.