Yoga for Arthritis of Elderly persons

Arthritis means inflamed joints; and there are many types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis which largely affects the elderly. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis or osteoarthrosis. It is a problem of wear and tear due to excessive use over the years and aggravation of old injuries in those joints. Osteoarthritis mostly affects the weight-bearing joints such as the spine, knees and hips. The base of the thumb, the ends of the fingers and the big toes are also common sites. Osteoarthritis is a chronic and non-systematic disorder of the joints, a low-grade inflammation of the joints because of the degeneration of articular cartilage or the wearing out of the cartilage that covers or cushions the joints.  It equally affects both women and men, and the incidence rate increases as age increases. According to World Health Organisation, the definitions of an elder or elderly person correlate with the chronological ages of 50 to 65 years, depending on the setting, the region and the country.

Signs & Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

  • pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more joints
  • pain or stiffness in the back or neck
  • pain and stiffness after activity such as gardening or housework or long walks and on getting up in the mornings, sitting in squatting or sitting position

People who suffer from osteoarthritis will often experience pain when they undergo: weight-bearing activities, walking, standing, or constant mobility. In osteoarthritis, patients’ pain is aggravated when joints or muscles are used; and only when patients rest and relax, it is relieved.

Effect of Yoga practices on Osteoarthritis:

The asanas & relaxation techniques in yoga practices provide systematically graded and gradual increasing range of movements of joints. The regular practice not only helps to mobilize the stiff joints but can prevent further deterioration due to ageing process. The practice of pranayama helps one to move towards a more balanced functioning of all organs of the body including the joints.

The following asanas, relaxation techniques and pranayama are prescribed in yoga for arthritis.


1. Tadasana

2. Dandasana

3. Makarasana

4. Sukhasana

5. Savasana

Relaxation Techniques:

1. I.R.T. (Instant Relaxation Technique)

2. Q.R.T (Quick Relaxation Technique)

3. D.R.T. (Deep Relaxation Technique)


1. Kapalabhati

2. Nadisuddhi pranayama

3. Bhramari pranayama

I joined the yoga sessions for elderly persons at Dhrti Yoga Studio BTM 2nd Stage Bangalore on July 28, 2009 when I had completed 61 years of my age and was running 62 years. Never before I was exposed to yoga practices till then in my life. I had the problems of old age diabetes and osteoarthritis at that time. The Director and the instructor of the Yoga centre assured me that yoga practices for diabetes and arthritis would be taken up simultaneously along with common asanas and pranayama in the yoga sessions for elderly persons. I attended yoga sessions regularly at the yoga centre till April 22, 2010 and since April 26, 2010 I am practicing Swadhyaya of Yoga daily at home integrating the asanas and pranayama prescribed for elderly person having diabetes and arthritis. On June 27 , 2010 Satya madam, Director Dhrti Yoga centre gifted me the book ‘Yoga for Arthritis’ authored by Dr R Nagarathna & Dr H R Nagendra during Shatkarma trip to SVYASA Yoga University Bangalore. The book describes theory & practice of Yoga for Arthritis in detail. I could learn the scientific knowledge, skill and practice thoroughly about yoga for arthritis after reading the book and referring the book from time to time. By the long-term practice of yoga for arthritis, I have improved much in flexibility of movements of knee joints and now able to walk 1-2 K.M., sit in Sukhasana cross-legged for more than half an hour at a stretch and do bending exercises of back which I was not able to do before starting yoga practices.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Yoga Practitioner


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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16 Responses to Yoga for Arthritis of Elderly persons

  1. Pingback: Yoga for Arthritis of Elderly persons | Yoga and Spirituality :

  2. Physical exercise in any form helps both in diabetes and osteoarthritis.

    In elderly the exercise if started a fresh, takes the form of physiotherapy.

    Yoga and breathing exercises ( Pranayama) are a sort of simple physical exercises, which are comprehensive in the sense that whole spectrum of muscles is used.

    Pranayama improves the oxygenation levels and also has indirect effect on the cardiac funtion and rhythm.

    Larger the muscle (e.g. Back muscles), better the response in diabetes.

    Improvement in diabetes also has an indirect effect on capillary perfusion of articular cartilage.

    Since yogasanas can be simple to most complicated ones, a supervised prescription of asanas can be of tremendous physiological benefit to the body.

    Graded increase in joint movement, better nutrition of involved muscles, cartilages, nerves and nerve endings; are few of the large number of benefits of exercise, asanas and pranayama.

    There is a word of caution to the extent that unsupervised or ignorant practice of asanas may be harmful in elderly.

    Your life and teaching will help the elderly a lot.

    Well done and keep it up.

    Love to Sara.

  3. Prakash Padhan says:

    Your article narrating your experience is very much useful for me as I have also diabetes and knee pain in winter.
    I used to practice yogasana,but not regular.I take homoeopathic medicine for knee pain.I am not taking any medicine for diabetes.
    Please counsel me for my problems as you are a doctor as well as Yogi.

  4. V.Nageswara Rao says:

    Dear Sir,
    Your Article on Arthritis;the scientific reasons, the required care and the regular Yoga Practices are definitely useful for any elderly person.
    You are the best example on the results gained in diabetes and arthritis by Yoga Practices.
    I would likely to share this article with the elders and also the middle agers known to me and who are all having these problems as well as who are prone to develop arthritis.
    With Regards,

  5. Susanta Kumar Panigrahi says:

    Many thanks for your recent topic on the importance of yoga on arthritis.
    Definitely the ancient Indian practice is well known for its physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits and is often accepted in the West.
    People with arthritis should begin ASANA properly.
    I think Yoga is the only permanent solution for such problem and should be taken up under the careful guidance of a reputable instructor.
    Thus your article is enriched with valuable tips.
    With the hope of more such topic in future,
    Yours lovingly

  6. Satya madam, Director Dhrti Yoga in her mail sent to me on January 27, 2011 has said:

    Thank you very much for your contribution doctor….your personal experiences in practicing yoga are real life examples for people of all age group. Am sure elders are definitely motivated the most.Simple practices carry immense benefits, limbering practices with flow, just moving in and out of poses builds lots strength and flexibility which is major cause of concern…even sitting on chair one can twist and do a simple forward bend or can lean back …the best part is whatever is the health condition….relaxation techniques, pranayamas…are always possible and can be done by all elderly people.

  7. Chandra Kumar Panda says:

    After a long time ,to day I had the leisure to post comment on your article for which I may be apologised.

    I read the article published by you on the theory of Arthritis & Osteoarthritis during the elderly age and the effect of practising Yoga & Asanas in the value of the life during that elderly age.

    It is a lesson to the people in fact ,because we all are the creatures of that Almighty and we take birth at His will & leave the mortal body at His will.

    Most of the people do not know the practicality of life i.e.the developmental stages from the teen to the youth and then touches the stage elderness.In each & every stage there is change in physique.Whatever that may be; it is a great thing to know that the value of Yoga & Asana has great effect in reducing the pain,ache etc.; but the thing is that how much we follow the path ?

    Of Course, now most of the people either by seeing the Yoga practices in T.V. & through Yoga institutions coming to the stream line and practically getting the benefit.

    Let us hope that all will follow the path in order to achieve the dream of “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah”.

    Yours Sincerely
    Chandra Kumar Panda

  8. Vinod Varma says:

    Very useful especially in the context of problems like Arthritis increasing due to modern lifestyle.
    There is a way in which convenience of modern times combine with the richness of bygone era.
    I am sure with your experience and knowledge;you would be able to throw more lights on these in subsequent blogs.

  9. Panda Sir,
    I like this article very much as it is related to my part time profession.

    Performing different exercises (Weight Training, Stretch Training, Yoga, Pranayama etc.) in any way is best when it is practiced in-front of a well known teacher,trainer,guru or Baba.

    Today, people are following the shortcut media like Television, CD & DVDs and other way of indirect training and which produced serious bad results.

    So as a Physical & Martial Art Trainer, I would like to present my opinion to please practice or go for exercise under a qualified trainer.

    Gyana Ranjan Mohanty

  10. Pingback: Yoga in the West | Yoga and Spirituality

  11. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    I would like to add a few words as catalyst to your topic but nothing new beyond your description. Arthritis-mainly Osteoarthritis is an age related ailment which inflicts elderly persons irrespective of caste, creed, nation & religion. In addition; others geriatric phenomena like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cataract, deafness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, asthma, angina, atherosclerosis and stroke are occurrences, but stroke is a more silent and brutal killer.

    Though Osteoarthritis is non-inflammatory, it is highly prone to super added infection. It inculcates molecular level due to degenerative changes. Hence low immunity invites virus; bacteria etc. to cause morbidity & mortality; trivial injury also aggravates it. Drugs and social security though helpful is not enough for restful life. Then what more consolation: self adaptation, empathy from family & relatives and life style by Yoga & Meditation. In addition I very often prescribe Pawanmuktasana series to capable ones. I have got marvellous result and shared their enjoyment being relieved of their ailments by practice of yogasanas.

    Sir, many things are still left, but I concise here with a dictum for simpler living and happier feeling by a senior citizen that is:
    No Hurry, Worry, & Curry.

    Thanking You,
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Sr.Surgery Consultant
    Bargarh Odisha

  12. Thank You Sir.
    Please keep us enlightened with your rich experience and erudite yoga practice.

  13. You may read the articles and responses on Savasana or Corpse Pose in Yoga Practice, Sukhasana or Simple Cross Legged Sitting Posture in Yoga Practice & Makarasana or Crocodile Pose in Yoga Practice published in Yoga and Spirituality as referral articles for acquiring detailed knowledge and skill on those yogasanas practiced in Yoga for Arthritis of Elderly persons.

  14. Bijay Mohanty says:

    Your article on Yoga for Arthritis of Elderly persons contains
    Useful tips…

  15. Dhandapani Muthuswamy says:

    I read your article and responses on Yoga for Arthritis of Elderly persons. Liked it. Very useful article. Thanks ji.

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