The article, Yoga for Arthritis, written by Steffany Haaz with the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins, defines Yoga:

“Yoga is a set of theories and practices with origins in ancient India. Literally, the word yoga comes from a Sanskrit work meaning ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. It focuses on unifying the mind, body, and spirit, and fostering a greater feeling connection between the individual and his/her surroundings” (Haaz, S. 2009).



There are 171 types of arthritis according to Arthritis Insight ranging from Juvenile arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout and Lupus to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Osteoporosis affecting more than 50% (fifty percent) of individuals globally.  The common characteristics of arthritis include pain, stiffness, inflammation, and damage to joints.  Currently there is no cure for most forms of arthritis, only an absence of symptoms (remission) except the types caused by infection (Lyme disease or bacterial), which can be cured by antibiotics.  For the many who suffer from its painful and debilitating effect, they learn to control the symptoms of arthritis through lifestyle and diet modifications, exercise, alternative therapies, and medications.

yoga for arthritis


The National Center for Biotechnology Information and the National Institutes of Health

article, the health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies concluded: “The studies comparing the effects of yoga and exercise seem to indicate that, in both healthy and diseased populations, yoga may be as effective as or better than exercise at improving a variety of health-related outcome measures” (Ross  & Thomas. 2010).  Moreover, the results of the study demonstrated Yoga interventions as “equal or superior” in many of the criteria used and outcomes measured (Ibid).

In the 2013 article Yoga for Health, The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) stated that “recent scientific evidence suggest that practicing yoga might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility” (NCCAM. 2013).

Arthritic patients, often suffer from comorbidity or secondary diseases and other stress and anxiety discomforts.  Nevertheless, whether you have arthritis or not, Yoga is a low impact, safe, mindful, holistic, and efficient way to improve flexibility and strength, which are both part of an overall fitness program.

In addition, Yoga practitioners agree with the many beneficial psychological factors including a reduction in stress and symptoms of depression and improved immunity.  Many often expound on the life changing and life-saving impact of Yoga.

Arthritis sufferers recognize the importance of continued activity as well as an emphasis on injury reduction during their workouts. In the research at the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins Haaz added, “regular physical activity is especially important for people with arthritis, who often have decreased muscle strength, physical energy, and endurance in part due to their arthritis.

The tendency to be sedentary, can began a downward spiral where pain increases, leading to more inactivity which leads to greater pain and disability” (Haaz).

Arthritis Insight. (2014). Types of Arthritis. Retrieved from: http://arthritisinsight.com/medical/disease/

Haaz, S. (2009). Yoga for Arthritis.  The Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins.  Retrieved from:

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (2013 update). Yoga for Health.  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The National Institutes of Health.  Retrieved from:  http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm

Ross, A, & Thomas S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison.

J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jan;16(1):3-12. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0044. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, The National Institutes of Health.  Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20105062

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