Joint pain in winter: 5 yoga poses which can bring comfort

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Winter can be excruciatingly painful for some people. A drop in temperature can cause knee and joint pain. From lack of motion to stiff muscles caused by the cold winds, all of these factors contribute to joint muscles feeling more tense and tight. In fact, if you have arthritis, the cold weather can make your joints ache even more. If the question on your mind is how to relieve joint pain, well yoga can certainly help.

How yoga can help relieve joint pain?

Yoga is a type of traditional exercise that combines breathing techniques, meditation, and poses or asanas. Keeping everything aside, a few gentle yoga poses can help keep your joints flexible and reduce pain.

Health Shots got in touch with Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, founder of Akshar Yoga Institutions, Himalaya Yoga Ashrama, and World Yoga Organisation, to discuss the benefits of doing yoga for joint pain relief and which poses are best to practice.

“Among the numerous benefits of yoga, which include boosting immunity, improving skin and hair health, improved flexibility, and mindfulness, it is also great for relieving joint pain because it can improve flexibility, strength, and balance,” says Akshar.

Here are 5 yoga poses to relieve joint and knee pain:

1. Balasana (Child’s pose)

Child’s pose is the most basic and relaxing yoga pose. While it is best known for relieving back pain, the benefits of performing this yoga pose for joint pain are overwhelming.

Here’s how to perform this pose:

  • Get down on your knees.
  • Begin by leaning forward and sitting on your heels with your body flat on the ground and your forehead on the floor.
  • Put your arms overhead with palms on the floor.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, and pressure the belly against the thighs.
  • Hold a stretch along your entire spine for 1 minute.
  • Come to the seated position and relax by placing your palms under the shoulder.
Stretch your spine with the child’s pose! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Makara adho mukha svanasana (Dolphin plank pose)

This yoga pose prevents osteoporosis and lowers the risk of severe joint pain in cold weather. It will also help to strengthen your arms, core muscles, abdomen, chest, lower back, and legs.

Here’s how to perform this pose:

  • Get into a downward-facing dog position and shift your weight to your arms.
  • Lower your arms slowly until your elbows touch the floor. Place your hands on the ground.
  • Maintain your balance by keeping your gaze on the floor and keeping your back and knees straight.
  • Inhale and exhale while holding the pose and keeping your core engaged.
Plank is a master move that helps build strength in the knees! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Setu Bandha asana (Bridge pose)

The bridge pose strengthens the knee joints and may be beneficial to those suffering from osteoporosis. It also energizes your back, glutes, and quadriceps.

Here’s how to perform this pose:

  • To perform the bridge pose, lie on your back and bend your knees.
  • Keep your legs and feet parallel and hip distance apart.
  • Bring your feet closer to your buttocks and gradually raise your hips.
  • Join your hands behind your back. Maintain a firm grip on your heels and raise the back of your thighs and the bottom of your buttocks higher.
  • Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
  • Exhale, then lower your body to the ground.
Don’t forget to engage the core when you’re performing the glute bridge. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Badhakonasana (Butterfly pose)

This is one of the most effective yoga poses for knee pain relief. It works by stretching the inner thighs and knee muscles.

Here’s how to perform this pose:

  • Place your feet on a mat. Begin by stretching your back and your legs out.
  • Bend both knees to form a winged butterfly. Then, as close to your pelvic area as possible, bring your feet together by clasping your hands.
  • Slowly exhale and inhale while pressing your thighs and knees into the mat. Take this as a cue and begin swinging both legs up and down like butterfly wings.
  • To return to the beginning, keep your spine straight and your legs wide while performing the pose.
Try butterfly pose for knee pain relief! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Vrikshasana (Tree pose)

This pose stretches the inner thigh and groin muscles while strengthening the legs and core. Furthermore, it can promote mental and physical relaxation.

Here’s how to perform this pose:

  • Stand up straight on both feet.
  • Now, balance on your left leg and fold your right leg, placing its sole on your left leg’s inner thigh. Make sure your toes are pointing down.
  • Fix your gaze and slowly raise your arms in the namaskar position. Maintain a straight spine and continue to take long, deep breaths.
  • With slow exhalation, gently lower your hands and release your right leg.
  • Continue standing straight and repeat this pose while keeping your posture straight. This time, go up to the right thigh with the left leg.

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