Yoga for Joints

Yes that was me about 15 years ago before discovering gentle yoga I was in chronic pain and nowhere was this more a problem than in my joints my hips my shoulders it was often excruciating joint stiffness and pain is a big issue for Zoomers it can be caused by injuries repetitive strain or just a lack of activity it can also be caused by contraction of our muscles and connective tissue as we age based on my own experiences I put together a series of yoga moves that brings elasticity to the 360 joints of our body allowing us to move with ease whether it’s up and down the stairs or running after our grandchildren or just being generally active you don’t have to be athletic or in great shape for it to work we’ll start with a relaxing warm-up that takes us out of the pain loop next we’ll create space in our joints our hips our spine our shoulders the wrists the hands the neck. And then we fled them with fresh breath blood and synovial fluid the juice that lubricates joints in motion do the whole series with me or, if you’re busy just one or two poses and you’ll be amazed by how much they can help let’s start the healing joining me Sybil and Elizabeth and all of us are going to be working on our bodies to create more alignment in the bones and more space in the joints our first pose is a wonderful warmup. So we’ll begin with Tad Asana. So we come to Mountain Pose here the heels are out the toes are in. And we are experiencing our feet connected to the ground bring the hands in front of the heart for some sun breaths we’ll inhale the arms out and up reaching for the sky at the top of the in-breath of fingers touch. And the hands come into the heart space on the exhalation we inhale again reaching lifting the ribs off of the pelvis exhaling hands come back to heart center one more in-breath reaching up. And then before we come back to heart center we’re just gonna exhale and let ourselves lean over a little bit to the left then we’ll inhale come back to Center. And then we’ll exhale leaning over to the right then we NDL back to Center and exhale the hands back to heart space that just opened up some room in the spinal bones where the ribs connect to the spine. And now we’re going to be moving into lunge pose to work with the low back.

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So we’ll come to a chair or the sofa or the counter or whatever’s convenient in handy. And we’ll come into left foot back right foot forward, if you have some challenges with your knee you could be pressing into this towel maybe putting a towel underneath the knee there we go. And just protecting the joint of the knee by putting something soft underneath. So the first order of business is to come to the back leg this is the anchor leg turn your toes underneath to give you some stability maybe you like to have the toenails down go to the back leg energize go to the back glute energize front heel pressing down feel the dissention of the femur the femurs moving down in the hip socket now we’ll take a couple of long slow smooth and complete in-and-out breaths feeling everything lifting on the front of the spine hearts rising collar bones are broadening take your hands away from the chair and lean them on to the knee pressing down with the front heel engaging the back leg inhaling lifting the arms up, if that feels like the right thing to do right now squeezing the pelvic curl letting the out breast be complete feel the belly come to the front spine pause for a moment. And then inhale and reach up a little bit higher moving the ribs away from the hips. And then exhale hands come back down. And we’ll switch sides left foot comes forward. And the right foot is back what would the toenails like to be doing down toe pads up pressing deeply into the muscles hugging muscles to bone in that back leg pressing down into the heel of the front foot feel the hip open up a little bit the femur is moving down in the hip socket inhale and lift the arms up take your hands into this cactus arm position. And then we take the shoulder blades together and move them down the back drop the sit bone and tailbone really press down into the front heel long slow smooth and complete out-breath feel the belly come to the front spine move the shoulder blades together move them down the back. And then we’ll inhale the arms up.

And then exhale back down. And then we’ll come back to the knees take a few moments and feel the effects of the psoas the low back is starting to open up and get a little bit longer now we’ll come back to Tad Asana back to standing and we’re gonna open up a little bit more deeply into the hip socket here we take the right foot. And the right hand together or we take a belt bathrobe tie an old tie that your husband has lying around is fine. And then we lift the right foot lift the right foot we grab on to the ankle here with this tie. And then we hold on to the tie lift lift yes. And then you can lengthen your arm maybe we should have this chair here for you. So that you can have a little bit more forgiveme stability here pressing down into the ball of the big toe the bottom of the baby toe. And the heel energizing that left leg. And then asking this right knee to come down and move back letting yourself feel this wonderful stretch through the front of the body through the front of the hip through the front of the thigh.

And then releasing exhaling letting that foot come back down and switching sides going to the opposite side we’ll switch this chair over here for you it’s simple here we go do a few repetitions here. And when we come back we’ll be making more space in the joints healing yoga Yoga for real people with real problems my name is Sibylle Gibbs song e I have been experiencing joint pains in my knees for many many years my knees tend to give me problems a stiffness pain since I retired I’ve noticed that it is when I Drive especially the right knee I since I used this foot for the brake. And the accelerator it has been giving me a lot of trouble pain and trouble walking up stairs hoping that yoga would help me welcome back in today’s practice we’re working with the joints. So we’ll begin with shaking hands with the feet. So we begin by taking a chair and coming to sit on the chair on the edge on the edge of the seat. And then before we start shaking the hands with the feet we’re going to take the feet a little bit wider on the floor and we’re just going to circle the the femurs in the hip socket. So we do this kind of Charleston action here moving the femurs from side to side. And just creating a little bit of synovial fluid in the hip joints this is a wonderful way to sort of loosen things up especially, if you’ve been sitting for a long period of time. And then after a couple of rounds of this Charleston action will take the feet heel-toe in towards the center of the mat. And then the right foot will come up and over resting on the left knee now, if this is not comfortable for you you can always come down and leave your foot resting on the ankle. So just do it feels good to stay out of the pains own and make sure that you’re in that comfort discomfort zone we’re gonna circle the feet.

And then we’re gonna take the grounded leg and we’re just going to rock the grounded leg back and forth a little bit so again we’re working deeper into the hip sockets creating a little bit more synovial fluid. So that things can feel a little bit more smooth in the hip sockets. And then we’re gonna take the fingers of the left hand and thread them through the toes of the right foot now maybe you’ve got long toes. And your toes are really loose and limber. And you can get your fingers in there. But just do the best you can. And then begin to circle the foot and spread the toes out a little bit more trying to make a little bit more room we’re getting into all I think there’s about 30 bones in the feet and we’re just loosening things up here. And then we’ll let go of the right foot come back down. And then we’ll take the feet a little bit wider apart just do a few Charleston’s see the difference between the right. And the left sides this is a wonderful way to loosen up the joints in the feet the ankles the knees. And also of course the hips let’s heel toe back into Center left foot comes up and over resting on the right knee threading the fingers through the toes.

And then we’ll just circle around we’ll just circle things around and see how we can loosen things up in the ankle loosening up the bones of the feet. And then we’re gonna release that. And we’ll let the grounded leg start to move back and forth so again we’re getting a little bit of movement into the hips wonderful now you can continue to take some repetitions maybe there’s one side that has a bit more of a challenge and you’d like to work with that side so please continue to work with shaking hands with the feet. And we’ll be back in a few moments Healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems even though I’ve been a widow for 12 years I have a wonderful much younger man in my life. And I’m motivated I am motivated to keep up with him and do the things that younger people do stretching stretching the muscles that attach to your bone prevents things that older women like me do get like osteo arthritis and rheumatism and things like that I know eventually all aged. But I’m going to go down fighting welcome back we’ve been working with our joints in the first part of the practice we were doing a lot of stretching. And now we’re going to be moving into a more active aspect we’re gonna be working with the muscles and contracting and strengthening some of our muscles in downward-facing dog now we can modify downward-facing dog with a chair you can see Sybil here is using a chair we’re gonna spread the feet a little bit wider heels out toes in bending the knees taking the sit bones high to the sky and dropping the top part of the pelvis we’ve got this wonderful idea of the spine pouring out of the pelvis the upper arm bones are rotating externally the upper leg bones are rotating internally the sit bones are getting wider and they’re coming up. So the spine is getting really long to lengthen the back of your neck. And just draw your eyes down here long slow smooth in breaths in to any areas that are calling for attention here long slow smooth and complete out breaths feel the belly come up to the front spine pause there for just a moment. And then the in-breath comes.

And it’s so nourishing that in breath goes to wherever the body is needing more prana and more oxygen and one knee at a time and lengthen out the backs of the legs giving the hips a little bit more synovial fluid. But we’re really making lots of space in the spine the discs of the spine are starting to puff up like marshmallows letting the out-breath be complete is a really important aspect of the practice the full version of the pose you could be on your mat spreading the fingers turning the toes lifting the sit bones up to the sky walking the legs out. And then we’ll come back down to the knees and, if you’re using the chair you walk your way forward. And come up to standing now we’ll go into a seated twist a very gentle twist. So we’ll bring our chairs we’ll sit on the edge of the chair sitting on the front of the sit bones is very important this gives the spine the message that it’s important to be working on its own. So Instead of sitting back in the chair we sit on the front of the chair and our sit bones are grounded let’s come to Kitty corner on the chair now see how you’re feeling grounded with your sit bones as well as your feet. And then we’re going to be working with a couple of breath cycles to go into this twist in a very safe way we’re gonna ground the feet ground the sit bones next time an in-breath comes along we lengthen everything on the front part of the spine feel the disc starting to puff up like marshmallows. And then we exhale. And we move our hands to the back of the chair.

And then we inhale lengthening the front of the spine and exhale we take our gaze back over the back shoulder, if that’s possible. And then we take another couple of in-and-out breaths lengthening the front of the spine exhaling taking the shoulder blades down the back squeezing the shoulder blades together opening the heart then the next time an in-breath comes along we’ll let go of the back of the chair come forward rest the hands on the knees let the effects of the pose just settle in feel that wonderful product and life force that’s starting to bubble around releasing a lot of tension out of the spine. But working those muscles as we go into the rotation now we’ll come to the opposite side sitting sideways grounding through the feet long slows to within breath lifting the front line of the spine long slow smooth out breath moving into the opposite direction keep your stance here. But lengthen the back of the neck and take the neck in the opposite direction. So you’re moving your gaze over the right shoulder and we’re getting a counter rotation here squeeze. And then coming back to Center. And then we’ll let go of the arms come back out of this spiral hands on the knees hands on the thighs and releasing that wonderful Prada all of the discs of the spine have been wrung out now creating more space in all of the different muscles of the spine all of the different joints and coming back to Center we’re gonna be taking a break. But please continue to try a couple of these rotations.

And we’ll be back in just a moment. So let’s come back to the first side every time we take these rotations, if they get easier and easier and more enjoyable healing yoga Yoga for real people with real problems nutritional supplements are often a great way to compliment a gentle yoga practice glucosamine can be used to repair cartilage that has lost elasticity in joints healing stiffness pain and swelling welcome back we’ve been working with the joints we’ve been stretching we’ve been strengthening. And now we’re gonna be moving into a beautiful cool-down we’ll come into this constructive rest position on our backs knees bent heels out toes in. And the feet are a little bit wider than the hips next time an out breath comes along knees move over to one side. And the neck moves over to the opposite side we inhale and everything comes back to Center exhale knees move over to the left. And the head moves over to the right. And then we come back to Center on the in-breath. And we continue on using the breath as the catalyst for movement this is a wonderful movement sequence to do, if you feel pain in your low back pain in your hips it’s a wonderful way to release stress and stress is a major contributor to pain in our joints and we’re releasing the front of the muscles on the spine the psoas muscles also releasing the roots of the diaphragm so our breathing becomes a lot more easy now let’s raise the arms up and we’re gonna work a little bit with the fingers so as we continue to rock the knees back and forth we’ll just very gently pull on the fingers one at a time and breathe light and spaciousness into all of the joints of the fingers. And the balm feel all of that tension releasing out of the fingers on the other hand pressing back very gently staying out of the pain zone and using the in breaths to breathe in openness spaciousness and using the out-breath to release any tension any gripping any holding now we’ll move into shav Asana it’s wonderful to be able to support the knees. Because it helps the low back. So we take a bolster or a rolled up blanket. And we tuck it under the knees. And then we let the legs come long over top the shoulder blades come down the back the upper arms rotate externally there we go. And the palms are facing the sky. And the fingers are unfurling like the petals of a lotus relaxed long slow smooth in-breath and a long slow smooth out breath just allowing you to ground Fila parts of you that are most heavy the hips shoulders back of the head then a long slow smooth in-breath into the feet. And the legs the hips. And the back breathing in light and spaciousness into the back line of the body exhaling tension exhaling holding and dropping all of that tension down into the ground and exhaling the last remnants of tension. And the last remnants of holding and surrendering completely here please rest here for another 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, if you can. And we’ll see you again next time on healing yoga namaste you.

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