Joint pain affects most of us. Our joints ache excruciatingly either due to inflammation or as a result of constant wear and tear.
Other causes include spicy or fried food, a sedentary lifestyle (which makes the supporting muscles flaccid and thus overburdens the joints), wrong exercise, obesity (which places uneven and undue burden on our joints), bad posture and repetitive action.
Those most vulnerable to this malady include assembly line workers and those required to be on their feet constantly like nurses, doctors, policemen and surgeons. Others like cooks and gardeners suffer pain of the wrists and hands.
Attempting exercises without proper warm-up or with ill-fitting shoes can also cause joint pain.
In yoga, joint pains are symptomatic of an uneven or poor flow of energy throughout the body. The first line of defence in yoga is to open up these blocked parts, which are usually at our joints.
Shameem Akthar, a certified yoga acharya with the internationally acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (headquartered in Canada) recommends six poses to help tackle this painful condition.
The advantage of these poses is that they provide a full body workout by undoing the knots that block the transport of blood, nutrients and energy throughout the body. These poses strengthen the support systems around a joint, like the muscles, tendons and improve bone density.
Points to note: You may not be able to reach the full extent of these poses initially. You could try them with props or some kind of support and gradually work towards perfecting the pose.
Text: Shameem Akthar
Also read: How to do yoga
Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings at jaisivananda.blogspot.com