9 Simple And Powerful Yoga Poses For Arthritis Relief

Yoga is an ancient Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, which includes breath control, simple meditation, and specific bodily postures, that are widely practiced for health and relaxation. It is a proven form of exercise that can help people with arthritis to improve many physical and psychological symptoms. Yoga is prescribed by practitioners as one of the best and most natural methods to beat joint pain, stiffness, and discomfort. Recent scientific studies involving people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice helps reduce joint pain and improve joint flexibility and function. It is also known to lower stress and tension to promote better sleep.1

The main purpose of yoga poses for people with arthritis is to improve fluidity and flexibility in the joints, to stretch and relieve the joints, and to strengthen the muscles around the joints to increase overall stability. It has been observed that people with arthritis who practiced 90-minute yoga classes once a week for eight weeks reported significant reductions in pain and improvements in physical function, besides noticeable improvements in joint stiffness.2


Some yoga poses may have to be modified to suit people with arthritis. Such persons may also need to use a chair, a block, a strap or other aids to help maintain balance during some poses. Before beginning a yoga session, consult your rheumatologist to ensure that yoga is right for you.

Here are 9 simple, yet effective yoga poses that can improve many physical and psychological symptoms of arthritis.


1. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)

Surya Namaskar is a powerful tool to obtain relief from arthritis

The Surya Namaskar is a set of 12 exercises or poses (asanas) done together in the morning. It is known as the “Sun Salutation” because it is a way of starting the day with the sun. It improves flexibility and stretching of the spine. Refer the image for a better understanding of the poses.



1. Perform Pranamasana (prayer pose).
Inhale: As you breathe in, lift both arms up from the sides.
Exhale: As you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in prayer position.


2. Do the Hasta Uttanasana (raised arms pose).
Inhale: Breathing in, lift the arms up.

3. Do the Hastapaadasana (hand to foot pose).
Exhale: Exhale completely, bringing your hands down to the floor.


4. Perform Ashwa Sanchalanasana (the equestrian pose).
Inhale: Bring the right foot forward in between the two hands, left knee down to the floor and look up.

5. Do the Dandasana (stick pose).
Inhale: As you breathe in, take the right leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line.


6. Perform Ashtanga Namaskara (salute with eight parts or points).
Exhale: Gently bring your two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin to touch the floor.

7. Do the Bhujangasana (cobra pose).
Inhale: Keep your elbows bent and look up.


8. Do the Parvatasana (mountain pose).
Exhale: The inverted V.

9. Perform Ashwa Sanchalanasana (the equestrian pose).
Inhale: Bring the left foot forward in between the two hands, right knee down to the floor and look up.

10. Do the Hasta Padasana (hand to foot pose).
Exhale: Bring your right foot forward and try to keep your palms on the floor.

11. Perform Hasta Uttanasana (the raised arms pose)
Inhale: Breathing in, lift the arms up.

12. Finish with the Pranamasana.
Exhale: As you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in prayer position.

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s pose helps in relieving arthritis symptoms

The child’s pose helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. It gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while softly and passively stretching the muscles of the back torso. This pose is effective for relieving back pain and calming the mind.


  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your big toes touching and rest your buttocks on your heels.
  3. Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head.
  4. On an exhalation, bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs.
  5. Your heart and chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
  6. Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down.
  7. Press back slightly with your hands to keep your buttocks in contact with your heels.
  8. Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, and then extend even further through your fingertips.
  9. Let your upper back broaden, soften and relax your lower back, and keep your gaze drawn inward with your eyes closed.
  10. Hold for up to a minute or longer, breathing softly.
  11. To release the pose, gently use your hands to walk your torso upright to sit back on your heels.

3. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

Tree pose helps in relieving arthritis symptoms

In this pose, you stand on one leg. When the entire body’s weight is placed on one leg at a time, it tones and strengthens the muscles and joints in the standing leg. It also strengthens the knees and hip joints, and improve your balance.


  1. Place one foot on the mat firmly for better balance, and only lean the heel on the standing leg.
  2. Then, place your other foot on the shin of the standing leg.
  3. Keep your arms in Anjali Mudra close to your chest, or lift them up either palms touching, or arms wide apart.

4. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Cow face pose helps in relieving arthritis symptoms

This pose is beneficial for stretching the arms and shoulders, as well as the spine and hip joints. It also helps with blood circulation to the knees and ankles. This helps to lubricate your joints, relieving pain and swellings. If your knees hurt, you can sit cross-legged, and additionally sit on a block to elevate the hips. If you cannot make your arms touch behind your back, use a belt to hold on to with both hands. Remember not to use force!


  1. Get on all fours with your hands shoulder width apart, your wrists right under the shoulders, and fingers spread wide.
  2. Your knees should be hips’ width and right under your hips.
  3. Now, bring your chest forward, up toward the ceiling, as your shoulder blades press down toward your waist, and tip your pelvis up and back so that your sitting bones are reaching up.

5. Bridge Pose (Sethubandhasana)

Bridge pose helps in relieving arthritis symptoms

The bridge pose is great for opening the hips and spine and relieving any stiffness in this area. Bridge pose builds core and lower body strength, lengthens and strengthens the spine, energizes the body, and stimulates the endocrine and nervous systems. Beginners may use a yoga block or a pillow under the hips to support your weight.


  1. Lie in a supine position on the floor, bend your knees, and set your feet on the floor.
  2. Exhale and press the insides of your feet and your arms into the floor.
  3. Push your tailbone up, firm your buttocks, and lift them off the floor until your thighs are about parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep your knees directly over your heels and lift the upper part of your hips toward your belly button.

Note: If you have injuries or pain in the neck, avoid this pose.

6. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

Cat-cow pose is a powerful asana to obtain relief from arthritis

Cat-Cow is a gentle flow between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. It stretches the back torso and neck, and softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs. It also opens the chest, encouraging the breath to become slow and deep. The spinal movement of the two poses stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands. Coordinating this movement with your breathing relieves stress and calms the mind.


  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart.
  3. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
  4. Begin by moving into cow pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat.
  5. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
  6. Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
  7. Next, move into cat pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling.
  8. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.
  9. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
  10. Inhale, coming back into cow pose, and then exhale as you return to cat pose.

Note: Those with neck injuries should keep the head in line with the torso, and should not drop it forward or back.

7. Hero Pose (Veerasana)

Hero pose helps in relieving arthritis symptoms

The hero pose is a powerful asana to tone the muscles of the thighs, hips, and arms. It is a powerful remedy for arthritis, which helps in strengthening and increasing circulation around the joints of the knees, ankle, and elbows. The increased circulation also helps to bring the joint back into equilibrium making them more flexible. It also has a significant effect on toning the muscles of the chest and helps improve your lung capacity.


  1. Sit comfortably on a yoga mat and extend your legs outwards while keeping your back straight.
  2. Now, bend your left leg at the knees and place the toes of the foot under your left buttock. Ensure you don’t put all your weight on this leg.
  3. Next, bend your right leg at the knees and place the sole of that foot on the thigh of the left leg.
  4. Then, extend your hands in front of you, and raise them over your head.
  5. Bend them at the elbow and join your palms (such that they are in the Namaste position).
  6. Bring them down together and place your wrists on your head.

8. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward-facing dog pose is effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis

Practicing downward-facing dog pose will warm, strengthen, and stretch the entire body. Regular practice of this pose can improve digestion, relieve back pain, and help prevent osteoporosis. It is also known to be therapeutic for sinusitis, asthma, flat feet, and for the symptoms of menopause.


  1. Start on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders.
  2. Spread your palms and turn your toes under.
  3. Next, exhale and push your knees away from the floor.
  4. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the upper part of your hips.
  5. Now, lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling, and draw your inner legs up into your groin area from your ankles.

Note: Do not practice this pose if you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome or are in late-term pregnancy. It should also be avoided by those with injury to the back, arms, or shoulders; and by those with high blood pressure,

9. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

Corpse pose is a powerful asana to obtain relief from arthritis and relieve mental stress

Shavasana is another relaxing pose that allows your body to recuperate. It is as simple as lying down with your palms facing the ceiling. Though very simple, it is an extremely powerful asana that relaxes the entire body, releases stress, fatigue, depression, and tension, improves concentration, and cures insomnia. It also relaxes your muscles, calms the mind and improves mental health. This is an excellent asana for stimulating blood circulation and is beneficial for those suffering from neurological problems, asthma, constipation, diabetes, and indigestion.


  1. Lie flat on your back, like the sleeping pose and keep your legs apart.
  2. Keep your arms at your side and your palms facing up, and relax.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly through the nostrils.
  4. Start concentrating from your head to your feet (consciously relax each part of the body and don’t move ahead without relaxing a particular part of the body).
  5. On each inhaling and exhaling (breathing), imagine that your body is totally relaxed (allow your tension, stress, depression and worry to drain away with each exhaling).
  6. People with good concentration can practice for a long time; minimum practice duration is 3-5 minutes.