Yoga for Joint Health: 3 Perspectives
1. As a dedicated yogi for the past 30 years or more, I have suffered my share of joint pain and stiffness over the years like many of us. But it wasn’t until I had tendonitis in my wrists, and later a frozen shoulder, that I really understood how Yoga for joint health can empower my overall well-being and everyday comfort.
The tendonitis in my wrist came from too much computer use and not using the proper mechanics when I was on my computer regarding my mouse, hand and shoulder. This kept getting worse over time and caused pain and discomfort during simple everyday tasks and eventually even when I was not using that wrist at all.
So, of course, this affected my yoga practice significantly in any pose where I had to put weight on my hands and wrists. It took several years of trial and error to learn what helped my wrists and what did not… now I practice pain-free and I am able to do pretty much anything, as long as I follow certain protocols which I will be sharing with you in our upcoming 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) module Yoga for Joint Health!
My frozen shoulder problem took about the same amount of time to heal and get better and the hardest part for me was finding the right balance in my yoga practice that helped keep my mobility but did not aggravate or exacerbate my symptoms of pain and limited range of motion in my shoulder.
The trick was not to give up my yoga practice entirely, but to adapt and change my practice in a way that served me better while I was healing and figuring out what helped and what hurt. My ego was probably my biggest enemy during this time; once I got that part under control, everything else fell into place over time.
My biggest takeaway from the different challenges I’ve had over the last 30 years is that I do not have to stop practicing yoga – or any type of movement – as long as I am willing to acknowledge the injury and adapt my practice accordingly. There are simple and supportive ways to avoid causing more pain and discomfort, especially in a joint that is already under stress or injured.
It’s imperative that I adjust my activities in a way that causes no harm, and in fact helps to heal whatever may be inflamed or causing me pain or discomfort. How we practice is as important if not more important than what we practice!
Join me, Leigh-Ann, and Rebecca as we dissect how Yoga impacts the joints, and offer some simple yet effective tools & techniques to support happier and healthier joints, both on and off the mat.
– Jay MacDonald
How we practice is as important if not more important than what we practice!
2. Keep your wrists healthy during yoga asana through warm-up, correct alignment, strengthening, adaptations, and therapeutic exercises. Learn a more in-depth approach to teaching yoga while offering these techniques to your students who have complaints of wrist pain or discomfort.
I’m a yoga teacher, occupational therapist, and certified hand therapist who has been helping people overcome wrist problems for over 22 years. This module will help anyone better understand wrist anatomy, wrist mechanics, and how to improve your yoga practice or classes as it all relates to the wrist.
– Rebecca Mashburn
Learn a more in-depth approach to teaching yoga while offering these techniques to your students who have complaints of wrist pain or discomfort.
3. The earliest form of Yoga – thousands of years ago – was joint rolling: moving the major joints of the body through their range of motion in order to stay healthy & agile. Yoga was initially intended to prepare for seated contemplation & meditation, and it’s hard to sit for extended periods of time when your body is stiff, tight, or weak!
What I love in particular about the joints is how fundamental they are to every single action we take in our lives – and how good it feels to move them! When we work with the joints, we access all of the natural elements. The solidity of our bones reflects the element of earth: solidity, form, structure – the building blocks upon which everything else is built (or grown).
The synovial fluid in the joints – and the connective tissue they are comprised of – reflect water: fluidity, movement, change. It’s this movement of fluid through connective tissue and the flow of synovial fluid that keeps our joints supple and allows our body to heal from injury.
Our muscles & the chemical processes of our bodies produce heat, and this heat literally melts open restrictions in our connective tissue & joints! Without this heat, our joints couldn’t function; and we wouldn’t be able to release toxins and metabolic waste. This heat represents fire, and literally runs our bodies.
When you crack your knuckles – or hear other joints crack – this is actually nitrogen bubbles in your joints being pushed out by movement. This reflects the element of air, which helps keep our joints healthy: spaciousness, movement, and flexibility.
Join me, Jay, and Rebecca to learn more about these fascinating and vital parts of our bodies – and how Yoga can keep them healthy & mobile for your lifetime!
– Leigh-Ann Renz
When we work with the joints, we access all of the natural elements: earth, water, fire, and air.