A lot of people think yoga is only beneficial for increasing flexibility, however yoga has so many other benefits. Yoga builds muscle strength, prevents cartilage and joint breakdown, increases your blood flow, lowers blood pressure, boosts your immune system functionality, and much more.
Each case of lupus presents slightly differently. Symptoms can develop slowly over time or come on suddenly. Cases range from mild to severe, and most sufferers experience “flares,” which are periods during which symptoms become worse. The most common symptoms of lupus are:
- Fatigue and fever
- Joint pain, swelling and stiffness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Confusion or memory loss
It may be difficult to motivate yourself for a little bit of exercise when you are dealing with lupus, but studies have found that exercise can reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease in lupus patients. Even if you only manage to make it to one or two yoga classes a week, you will feel relief when you increase the amount of time you spend moving and stretching.
If you are not showing symptoms or flaring, Iyengar yoga or a gentle Vinyasa, flow, are two great choices for yoga styles. Both of these types of yoga focus on alignment, and will put your joints through their full range of motion. Keeping joints moving will maintain their flexibility. Iyenger yoga focuses on using props to perfect poses and will help you to create space in your joints. This can help relieve the aches and pains associated with lupus and improve flexibility.
Yoga has many benefits for those who suffer from lupus and are experiencing flares or are entering remission. The deep relaxation of Restorative yoga will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and boost your immunity. This type of yoga will also increase your breath and body awareness and help you to create healthy sleep patterns.
All types of yoga are helpful for pain management and stress reduction, both of which are important for those who suffer from lupus. Stress and depression are known to trigger flare-ups of symptoms, so it is important to keep yourself in check to not worsen any symptoms.
Yoga is not the only low-impact exercise that benefits people who are battling lupus. Other low-impact exercises you may want to try if yoga is not for you include: low impact cycling, swimming and walking among others! Remember to ask your physician before beginning an exercise regimen!