Yoga Poses

Can a 5,000-year-old exercise system that originated in India help people with chronic diseases feel better and function more effectively? More and more, the answer appears to be yes. Yoga synchronizes various postures (asanas) and breathing methods (pranayama) to help release tension and produce a state of physical and mental peace. In addition to other benefits, yoga can help ease arthritic and psoriatic flare-ups, lower blood pressure and reduce body-wide inflammation. Here are some simple moves to get you started. As with all exercise regimens, check with your doctor before you begin.
— Elizabeth Bell

Spinal Twist

Spinal TwistGoal: To increase side-to-side mobility and spinal flexibility

  • From a seated position on the floor, extend your right leg with your foot flexed. Cross your left leg over your right knee, placing your left foot flat on the ground.
  • Wrap your right arm around your left shin, and feel your spine expand from the waist as it decompresses your vertebrae.
  • As you inhale, raise your left arm up to shoulder level, bring it around and place your palm flat on the floor. Your left hand should be fairly close to your buttocks to give your spine support.
  • Keep your neck long and your chin level. Then direct your gaze toward the left. If your range of motion allows it, look over your left shoulder.
  • Hold this stretch for several breaths.
  • Repeat the same sequence on the right side.


Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen, and remember to only do the exercises to tolerance—do not do too much at once.

Elizabeth Bell and her husband, Bruce Bell are the founders and creative directors of Namaste Yoga Center in New York City.

The exercises have been reviewed by Sherry Backus, PT, DPT, MA, clinical supervisor in the Department of Rehabilitation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Published September 2011

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