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Ayurveda and Yoga Techniques for Joint Health in Sedentary Lifestyles

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medically reviewed by Dr Godmi Tresa

Dr J S S Dev

Updated on February 29, 2024

In this modern era, many spend long hours sitting at desks. These long hours of inactivity can affect your joint health and functioning. Maintaining joint health is essential for your overall well-being. 

Ayurveda and yoga, two of the oldest systems of natural and holistic medicine, highlight several natural techniques to counter these joint conditions. Ayurveda stresses the ways of proper daily regimen for overall well-being. Yoga has several poses for improving flexibility and movements of joints.

This blog discusses Ayurvedic lifestyle tips and applications to reduce joint issues in a sedentary lifestyle. Several yoga procedures are also explained that you can follow in your daily life. 

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Impact of a Sedentary Lifestyle on Joint Health: A Complete View

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If you have had the chance to explore Ayurveda, you might have come across a term called 'Tridosha'.The Tridosha theory denotes three fundamental energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These regulate the physiological and psychological functions of your body.

The imbalance of these three doshas is considered the root cause of diseases. The Ayurvedic treatment principles revolve around normalising the three doshas.

Let's take a comprehensive look at how a sedentary lifestyle can affect the tridosha balance in your joints.

Vata Aggravation

According to the tri-dosha principle of Ayurveda, Vata dosha is responsible for the movements in your body, including joint movements. When you sit down for extended periods, it can aggravate your vata dosha. The increased vata can cause dryness, instability and stiffness in joint

Impaired Circulation

An inactive lifestyle can lead to poor circulation in your body. Poor circulation is linked to the imbalance of pitta dosha. Reduced blood circulation in your joints can cause stiffness, lack of nutrition and decreased lubrication in joints.

Accumulation of Ama (Toxins)

A sedentary lifestyle is always linked with weakened digestion. Impaired digestion can cause the formation of undigested toxins in your body referred to as Ama by Ayurvedic experts. These toxins accumulate in the joints. It can lead to inflammation, pain, and reduced joint function.

Reduced Synovial Fluid Production

Synovial fluid helps in the lubrication of your joints. Lack of movement can cause reduced production of synovial fluid in joints. According to Ayurveda, the imbalance in Vata dosha can reduce the synovial fluid, causing joint friction and stiffness.

Muscle Weakness

An inactive lifestyle can lead to muscle weakness. Weak muscles cannot support your joint movements. It leads to increased stress on joints and a higher risk of injuries.

Lifestyle for Healthy Joints in Desk-Bound Jobs

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Did you know that Ayurveda is all about healthy living? This ancient Indian system places great emphasis on following a set of lifestyle routines that can help you lead a healthy and fulfilling life. The daily regimen and seasonal regimen that you should follow are explained in detail. We can adapt these rules of living in the modern era for better health and overall well-being.

Here are some of the practical steps that you can follow:

Hydration and Lubrication

Proper hydration is recommended to maintain the lubrication of your joints and overall well-being.

Recommendations

Make sure that you drink water throughout the day. Consider carrying a water bottle to the office. Keep your water near you and set the reminder for water intake at specific times.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet helps you to maintain proper digestion. It prevents the accumulation of toxins in your body.

Recommendations

Include foods that have rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. A few examples include flaxseeds, walnuts, and fatty fish. It helps support joint health. 

Consume spices which enhance your digestion in your diet. A few examples include ginger, turmeric, black pepper, etc.

Abhyanga (Self-Massage)

Regular self-massage with warm oil helps pacify Vata dosha. It also promotes joint flexibility.

Recommendations

Perform regular self-massage with sesame oil or coconut oil. You can also use other oils based on the advice from an Ayurvedic physician. Focus on areas like the neck, wrists, shoulders, and lower back. These areas are prone to stiffness in desk jobs.

Mindfulness and Stress Management

Constant stress can affect your dosha balance. It can cause joint stiffness and pain.

Recommendations

Techniques such as meditation can be followed to reduce stress. Take short breaks for relaxation and mental rejuvenation during your work. It helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Take short breaks every 60 minutes. Stand, stretch and move around for a while.

Maintaining Your Body's Natural Alignment

Maintaining your body's natural alignment is discussed in Ayurveda for overall well-being. Diseases like Manyasthamba and other Shirorogas (diseases of the head) can occur due to improper posture.

Poor posture can cause vata imbalance, leading to several health problems. A proper posture helps to prevent strain on your joints and muscles.

Recommendations

Use a chair with sufficient back support, which keeps your back straight. Ensure your computer screen is at your eye level to prevent neck drooping. Always use a desk, chair and computer setup that supports your body's natural alignment.

Yoga for Joint Health in Sedentary Routines

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Yoga is a healthy practice that you can include in your daily life without a second thought. It holds both physical and mental benefits. The gentle yet effective movements and stretches explained in Yoga help alleviate stiffness, improve flexibility, and promote overall well-being. 

If you have a busy schedule and find it difficult to allocate specific time for yoga, don't worry, there are still options available. You can try mild stretching exercises or chair yoga which can easily be done at your office desk and even while working. These options can help you incorporate yoga into your daily routine without disrupting your work schedule.

Here are some of the Yoga poses that you can follow for better joint health:

Mountain Pose

It improves your posture and helps strengthen your legs and core muscles.

It can promote overall body awareness.

Instructions

  • Stand while keeping your feet together. Place your arms by your sides.
  • Inhale and lift your arms over your head with palms facing each other.
  • Now, lift your heels slightly. Balancing on the balls of your feet.
  • Hold this position for 40 seconds to 60 seconds. Focus on your breathing.

Cat-Cow Pose

It enhances the flexibility of your spine. It also helps reduce back stiffness.

Instructions

  • To start, position yourself on your hands and knees, ensuring that your hands are directly below your shoulders and your knees are directly below your hips. 
  • Inhale and arch your back. Then lift your head (Cow Pose).
  • Exhale and round your back. Then, tuck your chin to your chest (Cat Pose).
  • Repeat this movement for 1-2 minutes.

Seated Forward Bend

It helps to stretch the entire back along with your hamstrings. It promotes full body relaxation.

Instructions

  • Sit and keep your legs extended in front of you.
  • Inhale and stretch your back. Now, exhale, bending forward from the hips.
  • Hold your shins, ankles, or feet, keeping the back long.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 60 seconds and breathe deeply.

Tree Pose

It promotes balance and strengthens your legs. It helps stretch and open your hips.

Instructions

  • Stand on one leg. 
  • Touch the sole of the other foot on the inner thigh or calf.
  • Bring your palms together in front of your chest.
  • Focus on a point in front of you and hold for 30 seconds to 60 seconds.
  • Do the same steps with the other leg.

Ayurvedic Medicines and Formulations for Joint Health

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You have already read about ayurvedic lifestyle approaches to preventing and managing joint health conditions in day-to-day life. In this section, you will learn about some general herbal medicines and formulations for joint health.
 

HerbKey Chemical ConstituentsHow to Use 
TurmericCurcuminoids, CurcuminYou can add turmeric powder to daily cooking.
GingerGingerol, ShogaolInclude fresh ginger in daily cooking or use ginger tea.
AshwagandhaWithanolidesAshwagandha powder with warm milk.
GuggulGuggulsteronesGuggul supplements are available. Consume them after your meals by fixing the dosage with an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Asthishrunkala (Cissus quadrangularis)Quadrangularin A and CCapsules or tablets are available. Consume them after your meals by fixing the dosage with an Ayurvedic practitioner.  If not, boil 1-2 teaspoons of dried Cissus quadrangularis stem in water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink the decoction twice daily.
GarlicAllicinIncorporate garlic in daily cooking.


 

Ayurvedic FormulationsHow to Use
Maharasnadi Kwath or Decoction

Boil 1-2 teaspoons of Maharasnadi Kwath in water, strain, and drink.

Consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalised dosage.

Yogaraj Guggulu

Take 1-2 tablets with warm water or milk after meals.

Consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalised dosage.

Punarnavadi GugguluTake 1-2 tablets with lukewarm water twice a day after meals.

Consult with a healthcare professional for proper dosage.
Gandharvahastadi ThailamWarm the medicated oil and gently massage it onto the affected joints.
Pinda ThailamHeat the oil and massage gently on the joints.

The herbs and formulations mentioned above are some general medicines used to manage joint health. Take caution while incorporating any medication into your daily routine. Only after consulting a certified Ayurvedic practitioner should you consume Ayurvedic medicines.

Ayurvedic treatment principles are based on the assessment of your individual constitution. This individual constitution is called ‘Prakriti’. Along with Prakriti, your age, health and other disease conditions are also considered while deciding the medicines, therapies, dosage and even the after-drinks. 

The medicines may vary according to the above-mentioned factors. That is why Ayurveda is considered a personalised treatment method. Imagine you and your friend having the same disease condition. But the ayurvedic medication you may be advised of may not be the same as that of your friend’s.

The Final Thoughts

Your joint health is important for your general health and overall well-being. It is the key to your movements and activeness. Regular inactivity can hamper your joint health. To lead a healthy and active life in today's world, it's important to make conscious choices and adopt lifestyle adjustments that promote movement, even during desk-bound work. 

Lifestyle modifications based on the principles of daily routines discussed in Ayurveda have been discussed. Also, various yoga poses with their proper instructions were explained. Now, it's your turn to act. It's important to adjust your work to protect your joint health. This will benefit both you and your joints in the long run.

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