Yoga for Inflammation

How I came to gentle yoga my real problems chronic pain and fatigue and major stress causing inflammation in my joints other chronic conditions like MS fibromyalgia rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to inflammation especially among Zoomers that’s why I’ve chosen this yoga series to reduce pain and swelling associated with inflammation despite having this chronic condition you don’t have to be free of it in order to get started the key is managing stress. So this will be a very gentle practice we’ll start with a relaxing warm-up that releases our stress centers the hips. And the diaphragm next we engage the rest and digest aspect of the nervous system bringing ourselves back into balance then we alkalize the body with fresh oxygen and fled our abdomens with new lymph these poses are even easier than normal. But incredibly effective you may be surprised after the practice do the whole series or just one or two poses each one will have a wonderful effect let’s start the healing joining us today Angela Cindy and Heidi who’s dealing with lupus. So we’re going to start with a wonderful warm-up this is going to be a very gentle practice we’re coming down to our back Angela come on over here. And we’ll come down onto our back in a very gentle way, if you’ve got problems with your joints and there’s a lot of pain use a chair to help you come down you put your hands on the chair one knee comes down then the other knee comes down. And then you can come on to your back with the knees bent the feet are about hip-width apart a little bit wider the shoulder blades come down the back upper arm bones rotating externally palms facing the sky unfurling the fingers like the petals of a lotus. And just feel yourself grounding here it’s very important when you’re experiencing symptoms of inflammation to just allow yourself to feel wider and flatter and rest here feel the parts of yourself that are feeling heavy the hips the shoulder blades the back of the head. And then the next time you take an out breath let the knees move over to the left. And the head moves over to the right.

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And then an in-breath comes back to Center everything comes back to Center exhaling the knees over to the right the head moving over to the left and so on this movement sequence is a wonderful way to get out of the fight/flight aspect of the nervous system the sympathetic part of the nervous system and switch on the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system this is the part of the nervous system that helps us with resting and digesting. So we’re changing our brain chemistry with this very simple and easy movement we’re bringing some length into the psoas muscles these are the muscles that charge up when we have stress these are the muscles that are also contracted. Because we sit in chairs the muscles that bring the tops of legs closer into the belly so when we’re in this rocking movement the psoas begins to let go. And the psoas is on the front part of the spine. And this is where the roots of the diaphragm are also located diaphragm is an umbrella shaped organ that moves up and down helping us breathe now very gently bring your arms up and begin to circle your wrists and spread your fingers, if you feel ambitious you can raise your arms up to the sky but, if you don’t you can just keep your elbows resting on the ground. And just do this movement a couple of times one way couple times the other way we’re getting some circulation into the joints and movement into the connective tissue. And the muscles. And then we’ll just let the arms come down. And then the right foot comes up and over resting on the left knee will circle that ankle and spread the toes around. And then we’ll just let the foot engage in dorsiflexion the heel strong toes spread wide apart we’ll go to the right sit bone draw the right sit bone down and point it toward the grounded foot and begin to rock head moving in one direction legs moving in the opposite direction now we’re getting into the hip rotators there’s a muscle here the piriformis that gets very tight when we have stress that muscle begins to charge up. And the sciatic nerve travels either underneath it or through so giving this rocking sensation this rocking movement will help release some tension in the piriformis cortisol is a stress hormone that’s very helpful to us when we’re dealing with a crisis. But in cases of conditions that are causing inflammation cortisol is hanging around a lot longer than it should be. So It’s imperative for us to switch off the fight flight aspect of the nervous system and turn on the rest and digest aspect of the nervous system this is where deep healing happens so a movement like this is wonderful we’re getting a cranial sacral massage the back of the head is starting to release all kinds of muscles from the upper back that have been tensed up.

Because we’re anticipating pain these muscles are starting to soften and release the breath is starting to slow down the breasts are starting to become deeper we’re moving more breath into the bottom of the lungs where there’s a higher concentration of those air sacs that that move oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the lungs and we’re also releasing any stress or tension out of the low back please continue to enjoy constructive rest rocking this way in any variation that feels good. And we’ll be back in a few moments for some more gentle moves for inflammation Healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems hi my name is Heidi I have lupus and arthritis and inflammation is related with lupus in my case with lupus my information is in my joints I have it all over in many joints. But mostly the hands. And the knees. And the hips so where it affects me is sometimes without medication is when I’m trying to brush my hair or do up buttons there’s certain positions when I’m doing sports that I can notice it welcome back we are dealing with inflammation in this practice. And this is a very gentle practice Heidi you were doing yoga for a little while. And you took a break how did that work out for you it wasn’t very good I lost a lot of flexibility and actually my posture changed quite a bit drastically. So I wanted to get back into it and I’ve started again and I’ve already seen an improvement again that’s so fantastic we’re gonna be taking an elevated chest shav Asana pose and that’s going to be really wonderful to help increase some flexibility on the front of the chest and again just working with that idea of activating the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system the rest and digest components. So that we can experience some deep healing. So we’re gonna begin on our backs. But we’re supporting our back with a bolster and a blanket bringing your low back close to the edge of the bolster at home you could be using a towel a rolled-up blanket or some pillows and you’d like to have the low back supported. So that you can experience this sense of resting all of the muscles of the back we’re gonna take a couple of moments to just check in with how we can use the breath to create the sense of widening and flattening out of the body look at the areas where you’re feeling quite heavy the shoulders are bearing down a little bit deeper into the supports back of the head.

And we’ll just close the eyes let go of the jaws and let go of the eyebrows we’ll take the shoulder blades down the back. And we’ll externally rotate the upper arms and let the palms come out facing the sky fingers unfurling like the petals of a lotus. And we’ll take a few breaths here long slow smooth and complete in and out breaths feel where the breaths are going it’s very important to spend time resting when you’re dealing with inflammation the body doesn’t have the resources to heal when we are in the sympathetic aspect of the nervous system when we’re anticipating danger when we’re anticipating that we’re gonna need to fight or run away when we come into this very restful pose the body knows it’s time to shut that aspect of the nervous system down and allow the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system to come into a more dominant position blood pressure comes down the blood vessels begin to regulate our blood flow more effectively our circulation improves as well even though we’re not really moving around this resting action is wonderful all of the cells are trying to bring the body back into balance feel yourself sinking into the bolster a little bit more deeply. And this wonderful passive stretch that’s happening on the front of the chest the pectoral muscles the heart center is starting to open up inflammation can manifest in many different ways sometimes it manifests in the joints in one part of the body sometimes it manifests in the muscle tissue. And the connective tissue sometimes it manifests in the organs organs of digestion into the heart into the pelvic organs kind of a really wonderful resting pose is allowing piranhas life force and vitality to penetrate all of the cells that are calling out for attention now bring awareness to the parts of your body that are feeling inflamed right now bring that breath deep into those areas expand them breathe in light and spaciousness and exhale tension gripping holding now please continue to enjoy this elevated chest tranquility pose for the next few minutes. And we’ll be coming back in just a few moments to work with reducing symptoms of inflammation healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems I have done yoga in the past and I found it very beneficial you need the flexibility when you’re stiff. And you need to get the synovial fluid moving in your joints and yoga does that for me welcome back we’re dealing with inflammation today in our very gentle practice we have already started to relax and get the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system activated. And now we’re going to be bringing some more oxygen into the body to alkalize and help us deal with some of the inflammation symptoms that we have will be going over into a side Bend with some support so maybe a rolled-up blanket or the towel or, if you’ve got a bolster handy that would be fantastic the feet are going one way and we’re just going to drape ourselves over this bolster the bolster comes up to the hip. And we drape ourselves over the bolster bottom knee is bent. And the top leg is long now the bottom arm can be long as well. And then you can rest your head on the upper arm top arm comes up and over the bottom hand holds on to the top wrist there’s this action of lengthening the top plane of the body. And we begin by activating dorsiflexion in the foot heel strong toes spread wide apart and coming back towards the knee pressing the heel away and we’re getting a wonderful stretch through the Achilles tendon all of these fight/flight muscles back here have been active for a long time we’re stretching and releasing some tension back here we’re gonna be trying to move the femur out of the hip socket so pressing strongly away with that top leg wonderful let’s come out of this pose taking the arms back. And then using the upper body strength to press your way up bend the top knee. And then we’re going to come into a reclining twist our hands are on either side of the bolster and before we go down we’re gonna take a long slow smooth in-breath and lengthen through the front part of the spine long slow smooth out breath we’ll turn the heart we’re twisting very gently.

And then another in-breath lengthening the spine and in an out breath we descend very gently down you can turn your head. So It’s pointing in the same direction as the knees and rest, if you’ve got any discomfort in the side of the hip scooching the bottom of the hip away from the shortage of the bolster we’ll give you a little bit more room in the low back every breath cycle is taking you deeper into this sacred spiral here the spine is twisting very gently in a supported way we’re letting the out breast be complete feel the belly come to the front spine this is a very important pose for dealing with chronic pain chronic issues with inflammation it’s very soothing on the nervous system you could be resting here for a long time you may even fall asleep and that’s fine too there’s something really wonderful about a ringing out action happening deep inside the lymphatic system of the abdomen it is very restful. And this is really engaging the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system we’re turning on and flooding the body with all kinds of wonderful endorphins our natural painkillers dopamine serotonin is also being produced when in the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system and from a subtle energy perspective we’re thinking about prana life force and vitality flooding every cell of the body in this pose please continue to enjoy this sequence. And then come up and switch over to the opposite side while we take a break. And we’ll come back to cool off and get ready for our final tranquility pose Healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems inflammation is a condition that can be managed through anti-inflammatory diets food items such as turmeric cucumber water and apple cider vinegar are very effective welcome back we’re dealing with inflammation and we’ve had a very gentle practice we’ve been able to open up some space in the areas that are causing us difficulties. And now we’re gonna wind up the practice cooling down with soup to baddha kon Asana goddess post reclining goddess pose. So we get a couple of bolsters or a couple of rolled-up blankets or towels the first bolster is going to be supporting the spine. And we just use the hands to help guide us down keeping the knees bent might be a wonderful way to protect the low back. And then the second bolster the second rolled up blanket can go underneath the knees now you’ve got a couple of different options here with how you’d like to take your legs you could just let your legs come out long or you could be bringing the soles of the feet together and letting the knees rest apart this is a wonderful way to release stress, if we spend a few minutes in this pose just grounding and allowing the supports to come up and help us you should feel like you can let go around the heart center allowing the collarbones to separate bring the shoulder blades down the back one at a time let the back of the neck get long bring the chin down towards the jugular notch just a touch the arms are coming out. And the fingers are unfurling like the petals of a lotus just relaxed I’ll take a long slow smooth in-breath here and a long slow smooth and complete out-breath let the eyes close let go of the jaws let go of the tongue let go of the eyebrows it is so critical to create an environment for your body to heal. And we do that in this practice by really coming into a sense of peace and silence we allow the mind to just rest we focus on the breath. And we focus on the movements that the breath is creating in the body now, if you’ve got some challenges with your low back and a back bend is not really comfortable for you angela is demonstrating a wonderful alternative that will also activate your endorphins the knees are elevated the lower legs are elevated Cindy is doing a more advanced version of the pose by taking a bolster and letting her ankles rest on the bolster the knees are moving a little bit wider apart. And the femurs are resting a little bit more deeply in the hip sockets even the gentlest practice can initiate a total change in your body’s brain chemistry releasing endorphins serotonin dopamine flooding your entire body with these wonderful natural painkillers to help you with managing symptoms of inflammation, if you have a pillows at home using your eye pillows to bring a little bit of weight onto the forehead and on to the brow bone take a long slow smooth in-breath into any areas that are feeling inflamed right now and breathe in light and spaciousness and exhale tension and holding please continue to enjoy shav Asana for at least another 25 minutes it’s. So Important to create a resting environment for yourself to experience deep healing for your inflammation issues, if you continue to do this practice on a regular basis you will see amazing improvements in your symptoms and you’ll be able to live more fully thank you for joining us.

And we’ll see you again on healing yoga namaste you.

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