How Yoga Helps Joint Pain
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Abdominal problems (e.g. Gastritis)
Ever suffer from any of these? Yoga can be the tool you have been looking for to help you feel better - and it has been shown to work very well indeed!
Yoga is more than exercise
Yoga is a practice that involves the mind and body, including the combination of poses (aimed to stretch and strengthen the body) with relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing.
There are SO many types of yoga, ranging from fast-paced to gentle.
So, why would yoga be a good tool for those of you who answered ‘yes’ to the question above?
Well, research says it is! In 2021, Pandey found that yoga improves and managed pain. Out of a group of 24 participants who experienced neck, muscular, joint, or back pain and who took part in a yoga intervention
29% experienced high improvement in pain
21% experienced moderate improvement in pain and
50% experienced mild improvement in pain
ARGH - Pain! I don't want to move!
If you are experiencing joint pain why should you be moving your joints at all? Surely that will make it worse? Well, to put it plain and simple: not moving your joints will make them feel worse, so movement is key, and here is why:
To reduce joint pain and maintain joint flexibility you need to regularly move the joints. Exercise not only helps maintain and improve your joints, but also increases the strength of the protecting muscles surrounding the joints. If you have osteoarthritis though, you must have a low-impact exercise regime that reduces the likelihood of joints jarring or getting further injured.
Yoga is one of the solutions to this, as yoga both PREVENTS injury, and also increases your recovery rate. It does this by healing the inflammation in your joints, muscles, and deep tissue. Connective tissue restores, and yoga students increase their body awareness, leading to less injury.
Benefits of yoga for joint pain
Strengthens muscles around the joints keeping them flexible and strong, but doesn’t put any further pressure on them
Teaches you the alignment of the skeleton, so that joint pain caused by misalignment can be relieved
Strengthens and lubricates the spine
Improves breath awareness
Teaches you relaxation techniques and meditation- both help with stress
Teaches you breathing techniques, that can help manage flare ups of osteoarthritis
Prevents or combats inflammation in the body
Research on joint pain and yoga
A yoga intervention was created for breast cancer survivors, and they experienced more improvement in joint pain, sleep disturbance, and tiredness in comparison to those who did not get the yoga treatment.
Children with cystic fibrosis were also studied to see if a yoga therapy would help decrease pain and anxiety levels. This therapy contained 30 body postures (aka: asanas), and 6 one-to-one sessions with each child over a period of 10-weeks.
Children's anxiety levels went from 29 before to a fantastic 23.6 after the yoga therapy . Similarly, joint pain scores improved from 3.25 to 3.65.
So, yoga is a valuable, safe complementary therapy for children or teenagers with cystic fibrosis, experiencing both joint pain and anxiety in relation to their health, education or social lives.
But, it is not just yoga that could be a helpful hand on your healing journey....
Introducing Yoga Prana Vidya (YPV)!
YPV is a type of life force healing energy medicine. Through both healing and balancing the pranamaya kosha, the second layer of the body in ancient yoga philosophy that is made up of prana (energy, life force), the physical body will be healed of its ailments.
Let's dig into yoga philosophy for a moment, and don't be disturbed, this is quite interesting even to a scientific mind like mine!
(Photo Credit: https://wellness-space.net/pancha-kosha/)
According to yogic philosophy, we are so much more than our physical body. The belief is that there are 5 layers to each body, each connected to the other. If dis-ease occurs in one layer, another layer will be affected.
To look after the physical body, we need to take care of the energy layer, as it serves as the mould for the physical body. Science calls the Pranamaya Kosha the bio-plasmic body.
Whatever happens to the physical body also impacts the energy layer, including physical ailments and vice versa.
If you are reading this and are still a little confused, because I know I was when first reading the research on this, lets break Yoga Prana Vidya down a bit further.
So, Prana, refers to the energy and life force within the energy layer that requires maintenance for a healthy body, mind, soul connection.
Then you have Vidya, which is the knowledge on how to do this maintenance. And the way to DO such maintenance is Yoga Prana Vidya!
YPV gives individuals the methods to ensure the alignment of both the energy and physical body. Meditations in this practice also help you to stay connected with your higher self.
But what DOES A Yoga Prana Vidya session entail? Well, it involves a healer who receives, transfers and channels energy with their hands, without touching the client. It is used as a way to deal with emotional and psychological issues (e.g. stress).
Research has shown that YPV is a great way of relieving disease and ailments, mentally and physically.
YPV and Joint Pain - A Case Study
Seeing as we are focusing on joint pain, let me draw your attention to a case study of a man who suffered with it along with other ailments, before getting YPV treatment. His ailments were:
Fatty liver grade 2
Couldn’t walk very far without getting tired
Left leg toe numbness
Experienced hip joint pain
After YPV treatment:
His gallbladder stones had completely gone
His fatty liver grade 2 decreased to mild fatty
He can walk 8-10km a day and doesn’t feel tired
He’s more active
Frozen shoulder and numb left leg toe are no longer problems
His hip joint pain decreased by +50%
He feels more positive
So, YPV is showing itself to be a good healing method for both physical and emotional ailments!
From looking at the research, it seems that yoga and variations of yoga such as Yoga Prana Vidya are effective in helping treat not only joint pain, but also other physical and emotional ailments (e.g. stress).
Here, at Unwind we have a team of caring compassionate teachers and students who look out for each other.
Being wary of taking a yoga class with joint pain is very natural, but know that it could benefit you with the right adjustments and props here at the studio. It is best to first get in contact with your healthcare provider to see what you can do to help your joint pain, and to check that you are okay to do yoga.
If you’re given the go ahead - great, contact us to have a chat so we can see what class is best for your needs! And if you can’t at the moment that is MORE than okay, just remember to listen to your body and take care of you!
Sending you healing wishes, 😊
Ackerman, C. (2022). 60 + benefits of Yoga for Mental and Physical Health. URL: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-yoga/
Bar, J. (2017). How Yoga Can Help You Combat the Effects of Osteoarthritis. URL: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-yoga-can-help-you-combat-the-effects-of-osteoarthritis/
McNamara, C., Johnson, M., Read, L., Vander Velden, H., Thygeson, M., Liu, M., ... & McNamara, J. (2016). Yoga therapy in children with cystic fibrosis decreases immediate anxiety and joint pain. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016. 1-10. URL: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/9429504/
Neravetla, J. R., & Nanduri, V. S. (2019). A study into successful treatment of some difficult Medical cases using Yoga Prana Vidya (YPV) Healing System as alternative medicine. Int J Sci Eng Res, 10(7), 882-887. URL: https://www.yogapranavidya.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/01-A-study-into-successful-treatment-of-some-difficult-Medical-cases-using-Yoga-Prana-Vidya-YPV-Healing-System-as-alternative-medicine.pdf
Pandey, N. (2021). A Study on the Impact of Yoga on Daily Yoga Practitioners. Madhyabindu Journal, 6(1), 67-75. URL: DOI:
Wren, A. A., Wright, M. A., Carson, J. W., & Keefe, F. J. (2011). Yoga for persistent pain: new findings and directions for an ancient practice. Pain, 152(3), 477-480. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3040510/