Physical Activity

Is yoga for arthritis right for you?

Yoga warrior position

The benefits of yoga on physical, mental and emotional health are well documented and undeniable. A mind-body exercise that includes breathing techniques, physical postures and meditation, yoga can take many forms and can be made accessible to all fitness and ability levels.  

Here are 6 reasons why yoga for arthritis may be right for you: 

1. Low impact  

Yoga is a low load activity, meaning it puts less weight load on your joints, making it perfect for people with arthritis or other joint issues, or older adults in general.

2. Modified postures  

Traditional yoga postures can be adapted to fit the movements to a person’s physical ability, opening the practice to more people. For instance, chair yoga is an adapted yoga practice using a chair as support for added confidence and stability. In this episode of our Yoga for Arthritis video series, certified chair yoga instructor Julia McNally (The RA Yogi) guides viewers through a standing chair yoga practice with props.

3. Increased flexibility and balance  

With regular practice, you should see improvement in your ability to bend, twist, stretch and move freely. Using tools like blocks or straps can help offset a limited range of motion or tightness and help make a pose easier to get into and hold. 

4. Improved muscle tone 

Yoga exercises strengthen your core muscles — your legs, hips, abdominals, pectorals, shoulders, spine and neck — which will make daily activities easier. When you make your muscles stronger, you also make your joints more stable.  

5. Better stamina 

With practice and time, physical activity and exercise should get easier, and you will have more energy to help keep you active, longer.  

6. Mood booster  

Yoga involves breathing exercises and meditation techniques which help you relax and can ease stress and anxiety levels. Less stress also promotes a better quality of sleep.