Strange as it may sound, when you’re suffering from arthritis, moving those stiff, achy joints may actually be the key to getting some welcome relief. This simple yoga routine from Sadie Nardini, host of Rock Your Yoga on Veria Living TV, will not only gently loosen your joints, but will also give you more strength and energy to help you feel better throughout the day. Go through the sequence once—do it every day if you can—and remember to stop immediately if you feel any sharp pain.
Seated Arch and Curl
How it helps: Encourages gentle all-over joint opening.
How to do it: Sit cross-legged on a mat or blanket, or on a chair with your feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees and lengthen your low back. Inhale, arching your spine (A), then exhale, gently rounding your chin toward your chest. Repeat 5 to 10 times, keeping your low back long throughout the move.
Breath of Freedom Lunge
How it helps: Stretches upper- and lower-body joints.
How to do it: Stand at the front of your mat with feet hip-distance apart. Step your right foot back as far as is comfortable and bend your left knee, keeping it over or behind your ankle. Draw your low belly in and up, lifting through your long spine. Inhale, arching back slightly as you open your arms and fingers wide behind you (A). Exhale, rounding your back and bringing your arms forward to hug yourself (B). Repeat 3 to 5 times on this side, then step forward to return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Side Angle Circle
How it helps: Strengthens the whole body, creating space in the spine and sacrum (at the base of the spine) and easing shoulder joints.
How to do it: Stand at the front of your mat, feet hip-distance apart. Step your left foot back as far as is comfortable, turning your left toes out at a diagonal while bending your right knee (keep your knee above or behind your ankle). Place your right forearm on your right thigh, palm up. Reach your left arm toward the back of your mat (A). Drawing your left hip down and back toward your left heel, circle your left arm down toward the floor (B), overhead (C), then toward the back again. Do 3 to 5 full circles, then turn your left toes forward again and return to starting position. Switch sides and repeat.
How it helps: Increases flexibility around hip and knee joints and stretches the spine and back of the neck.
How to do it: Sit on your mat, blanket or block, then bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, opening your knees wide like a book. Round your back slightly forward while either grasping your shins or ankles or placing your bent elbows on the floor and resting your forehead on your thumbs (as shown). Breathe deeply in and out 5 to 10 times.
How it helps: Stretches the outer hips and lower spine.
How to do it: Lie on your back and bend both knees, right arm out to the side or with the hand by your head, left hand on your right thigh. Cross your right knee on top of your left, then slowly and gently lower both knees to the left (as shown). (Too challenging? Place feet wide and on the floor instead of crossing your knees.) Return to center, then repeat for a total of 5 to 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.
To learn more about Sadie, visit her on Facebook.com/SadieYoga, at RockYourYoga.net, and at SadieNardini.com.