Hip pain and arthritis can feel debilitating, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. Yoga can help with keeping your range of motion, decreasing stress, and managing the pain.
Arthritis is the most common age-related problem for the hips and can develop in one or both hip joints. However, arthritis can affect anyone, no matter the age. As we’ve discussed before, exercise can help manage symptoms if you find the right exercise. In addition to helping with range of motion, exercise can decrease stiffness and strengthen the muscles that support the joint.
For many people yoga is a their starting place for an osteoarthritis-related fitness routine. It is a form of exercise that can be enjoyable and easy enough to make it a part of your daily lives. But importantly each day, listen to your body; it is not only about getting into the poses that helps, it is also the breath work and meditation. Attending classes at a studio and private lessons are great, but those costs can add up so it’s a good thing yoga can also be performed at home.
There are many yoga poses that you can do without putting weight directly on your hip joints – these include prone/supine poses, seated poses and inversions. You can also execute standing poses without putting your full weight on your hip joints by supporting your pelvis with a chair – this can be done with Warrior I and II (Virabhadrasana I and II), as well as Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana).
If you need more support than the chair provides you can also try yoga in swimming pool where the weightless feeling is beneficial to arthritic joints. Whether in a class or at home, stay warm – remember a heated class or wearing heavier clothing will keep your body heat up and keep your joints moving.
As always with yoga, and really all sports, remember alignment. Work from the feet up. Balance. Ankle under knee, under hips. Listen to your breath. Keep it smooth, even and full. If you have a hard time breathing, ease back on the pose. Let your instructor know too. Find the positions that will best help you.