Yoga is an ancient healing practice from India that combines careful breathing, meditation, and specific postures or poses to help improve your strength, balance, and flexibility.

Psoriatic arthritis is a long-term (chronic) illness that inflames your joints where tendons and ligaments connect to bone. It also commonly affects your skin and can make movement difficult or painful. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis could make it hard to do many of the physical poses and movements used in yoga. But there are some things you can try.

These variations to some standard yoga poses may work for you. Stop immediately if you feel sudden pain or dizziness.

 

Forward Fold

You’ll feel this stretch in the low back, hamstrings, and calves.

  • Put a chair back in front of you.
  • Stretch forward with your knees straight, if possible, and place your hands on the seat of the chair or on top of the seat back.
  • If needed, use the seat or the back of the chair to help support your weight as you lean forward.

 

Warrior Pose

Standing poses build leg and core strength.

  • Turn your chair so the back is facing you.
  • Step your feet wide and place your hands on the top of the chair back.
  • Turn one foot out and bend at the knee with a straight back.
  • Listen to your body to decide how far to bend your knee.
  • Once you’re comfortable and balanced, slowly remove your hands from the chair and extend your arms wide and straight.
  • Repeat on the other side.

 

Tree Pose

The tree pose helps improve balance and strengthens your feet.

  • Face the chair back and put a hand on it.
  • Turn one foot all the way out, bend the same knee, and lift your foot to place it on the shin or inner thigh of the opposite leg (not on the inside of the knee).
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • See if you can lift your foot slightly higher with practice and possibly take your hands off the chair -- even if just for a few seconds.

With a chronic condition like psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise program. It’s best to work with an experienced yoga instructor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Yoga for Arthritis: 5 Classic Yoga Poses Modified for Arthritis Patients: Johns Hopkins (video),” “Yoga for Arthritis: An Introduction (video),” “Yoga Poses for Arthritis Patients from Johns Hopkins.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Yoga: What You Need To Know.”

The Art of Living Foundation: “Yoga Poses.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriatic Arthritis.”

Beth Passehl, E-RYT 500, YACEP, yoga instructor.

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