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How can iyengar yoga help relieve chronic pain?

Of all the various types, iyengar yoga may be the best for helping alleviate chronic pain. There are some new findings from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, that iyenger yoga, a type of yoga that combines breathing exercises with difficult poses, may help even older adults alleviate the chronic arthritis pain.

With this system of yoga, you focus on the exact alignment and precision in the yoga postures. There is a strong emphasis on anatomy, as the instructor helps you to pinpoint your muscles, skeletal systems, organs.  The postures are held longer than in other systems, as the breath-work encourages deeper stretching. If you are a beginner, you will start with standing postures.  By learning how to stand, walk, and sit using the muscles correctly, you can improve your well-being and muscular tension. In some classes, you might use props, such as straps, blocks or chairs, to help you relax or free areas that are extremely sore and tight.

Try to find teachers who have years of experience. If you choose to study iyengar yoga, it helps if the teacher is certified. No matter which system you study, the yoga postures should never intensify pain. If your pain worsens, stop immediately. A qualified instructor should work with you -- and your type of pain -- to help you find relief over time. The teacher should be well versed in anatomy and physiology, and have experience working with different health conditions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.