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Yoga is a healthy practice in every sense of the mind, body, and spirit connection. Not only does it help increase mobility and flexibility, but it’s also a proven mood booster! Yoga is also an excellent natural alternative to pain medication when it comes to relieving the discomfort of arthritis.

As a gentle approach to managing arthritis, yoga builds strength and balance, helps relieve joint inflammation, and can aid immune health. Every exercise should be approached with patience, and its benefits will depend on specific symptoms, pain level, the severity of arthritis, and overall fitness level. Before beginning any exercise program, it’s important to always check with your trusted healthcare professional first!

Yoga exercises for lower back arthritis

Cat-Cow Pose

  1. Kneel on all fours with hands beneath shoulders, and knees beneath hips.
  2. Round the spine towards the ceiling while tucking chin to chest and exhaling. Allow your head and shoulders to drop toward the floor as you do so.
  3. Return to neutral and as you inhale, arch the spine and look up towards the ceiling.
  4. Repeat this fluid motion for 8 – 10 breaths.

Bridge Pose

  1. Lie on your back, arms relaxed at your side, knees bent, with feet and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Press your hands and feet gently into the floor as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep you shoulders and upper back flat on the floor as you do so.
  3. Hold for 5 deep breaths, then slowly lower back to the floor. 
  4. Repeat 8 times.

Pelvic Tilt

  1. Lie on your back, arms relaxed at your side, knees bent, with feet and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Contract your stomach muscles as you press your lower back into the floor. As you exhale, tilt the hips and pelvic area upward.
  3. Hold for 5 deep breaths, then slowly release.
  4. Repeat 8 times.

Yoga exercises for osteoarthritis

The Finger Lift

  1. Press your hand flat on a table, palm down. 
  2. Beginning with your thumb, slowly lift each finger off the table one at a time and hold for 2 seconds before lowering it.
  3. Repeat on the opposite hand.

Wrist Stretch

  1. Stretch your right arm in front of you with the palm facing the floor.
  2. Using your left hand, gently press down on the right hand until you feel the stretch in your wrist and arm. Hold for 2 seconds.
  3. Repeat 8 times, then switch hands.


  1. Curve all of the fingers and thumb on your right hand inward until they touch, forming an ‘o’ shape.
  2. Hold for 8 seconds, then straighten your fingers.
  3. Repeat on the opposite hand.

Yoga Breathing

Breathing is an important part of your yoga practice. Follow along with certified yoga instructor Julia McNally, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis, in her yoga series for the Arthritis Society of Canada.

For more about the benefits of yoga for seniors, read about ways you can incorporate a yoga practice into your life now as well as how to cultivate inner peace and well-being for mindful aging.

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