Yoga for Arthritis : Chair Yoga for Improved Mobility : Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center

(serene music) – When you first wake up in the morning, you might feel stiffness in the body. Especially with arthritis, there tends to be a
stiffness in the joints that particularly happens in the morning or it could happen at any time of the day, especially if you’ve been sitting still or not moving for long periods of time. It can be helpful to move the body and get the synovial fluid
moving, lubricate the joints, and, perhaps, feel a
little bit less stiff. We’re gonna move
sequentially through the body and articulate all of the
joints as a way to warm up, which you could use
anytime you’re gonna do an activity that requires
more mobility and movement, or just if you’re feeling stiff and you feel like you need
a little bit of movement. Starting with the feet, we’re gonna lift the
toes up and wiggle them, and imagine that you’re sort of playing the piano with your toes. And then from there, moving the ankles, rocking back and forth on the feet, taking the weight into
the balls of the feet and then the heels. And then you can alternate, taking one forward and the other one back, like you’re doing a little
march with the feet. And this starts to lubricate
the joints of the feet and the toes and the ankles. If you’re sitting in a chair, slide back so that you
feel like you’re supported by the back of the chair, and then you can lift one
leg and lower it down, and you can even play with
moving with the breath here, exhaling as you lift, and
inhaling as you lower. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you might even try doing
them both at the same time. And even try balancing by taking the arms out to the sides as you do that. This requires a lot of leg strength that may take some practice and strength-building to move toward. From here, lift the legs one at a time, so now we’re moving up into the hips. And it doesn’t matter
how high your leg goes, just that you’re getting
a little bit of movement into the hip joints. We’re gonna come forward in the chair now to have a little bit more movement, and you can do a little
circle with one side and go the other way, and then the other side. You could even try these at the same time if you’re feeling really adventurous. And then go the other way. And then because we just did a lot of movement with the hips, we’re gonna do a little
stretch of the hips, so slide to one side or turn to one side, take the leg back and feel a little stretch
in the hip flexors. This is really good for people who sit for long periods of time, to get a little bit of a stretch here because these muscles tend to be condensed and tight throughout the day. And then we’ll go to the other side. Make sure that you’re
protecting your low back here by engaging the muscles of the core so that you don’t have too
much of a sway in the back as you’re stretching the hip. And then come back to center, and we’re gonna start
to articulate the spine with what’s called the seated cat cow, so you round the back and then arch, and this can be a small
movement or a big one, whichever feels comfortable to you. And you can try to organize this movement so that the top and the
bottom of the spine arrive at the end of the
movement at the same time. This can also be
coordinated with the breath, inhaling as you arch,
exhaling as you round, and you might feel the natural tendency to let the hands slide along the legs. You could exaggerate that
and make the movement bigger, moving the shoulder blades as
you go, if that feels good. And then come back to center, roll the shoulders one
way and the other way. You have muscles on the outside and the inside of the shoulder blades so when you move the shoulders like this, you’re giving yourself a little massage. The cheapest, easiest
massage you could ever get just by rolling the shoulders. And again, you can
alternate one at a time, backward and forward, and you can even move the arms with it like you’re doing a little
swim stroke, and go backward. And then take the arms
out to the front and now, imagine that you’re playing
the piano with your fingers, a little bit more realistic
than doing it with your toes. Spread the palms and then bring the fingertips toward each other, and it’s fine if the
fingertips don’t touch, but just moving the hands open and closed starts to stretch the muscles in the hands and may even increase your mobility there, rolling the wrists out, rolling them in. Extend the arms out in front, and it’s as though you’re flexing and pointing with the hands. And again, whatever range is
available to you here is fine. It’s not important that
the movement be large, and then you can alternate,
like a little doggie paddle. Spread the fingers away from
each other and together, away and together, away and together, and then just shake out the
arms and lower them down. Lengthen the spine and
turn the head to one side, back to center, and
then to the other side, and back to center. Make sure that you’re
sitting up nice and tall, that you’re not slouching
as you do this movement, and then take the ear toward the shoulder, and the other way, but not
the shoulder toward the ear, so we’re not doing this. We’re letting the shoulder stay relaxed and just stretching alongside the neck. And then if you feel comfortable, you can roll side to side very gently, very small movement
here without going back, and then bring the head back to center. Take the arms up with a big inhale, as high as the arms go,
whatever feels comfortable, exhale down, inhale up, and exhale down. If your arms come all the
way up overhead, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s fine
too, and lower them down. Sit up nice and tall, take
a little side stretch. You might wanna hold
on to your chair here. You can take your arm up overhead
if that feels good to you. Feel a nice big, juicy stretch
in the side of the body, come back up to center,
and then go the other way, sit up nice and tall, take a little stretch over
to the side, and come back. Roll the shoulders again,
shake out the whole body, and release. (serene music)

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