We believe Yoga for Arthritis instructors are trained to provide the best classes and one on one sessions for arthritis patients.  You can find our directory of teachers on our website HERE.

However, we recognize many parts of the country don't have a Yoga for Arthritis instructor yet.  If you would like to  participate in a yoga class, but can't find a YFA instructor near you, here are some tips for choosing the right class.

Questions You Should Ask when Selecting an Instructor or Class

If you have arthritis, and want to feel comfortable when you’re selecting an instructor or class, here are some key questions to ask yoga instructors.

  • What is the style of yoga offered in the class?
    The combination of asanas (poses) and pranyama (breathing practices) is generically called “Hatha Yoga.” Because yoga has been passed down through many teachers to many students, many schools or styles have emerged with different methods of practice. Some of these styles are fairly gentle and safe for students with arthritis, while others should generally be avoided. See below for more information about various styles of Hatha Yoga.
  • Is the instructor certified?
    Yoga Alliance is a registry for yoga instructors worldwide to post their online profile. Being a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance requires that a teacher completed a minimum level of training in techniques, anatomy/physiology, teaching methodology, philosophy/ethics, and practical experience at a Registered Yoga School. You can find a certified teacher by visiting the Yoga Alliance and searching in your area.  Feel free to ask if they've received additional training also.
  • Do you offer beginner or gentle yoga classes?
    Some classes combine students with varied experience, and provide modifications for each level. Especially when first beginning to practice yoga, it is helpful to be in a class geared toward beginning students.
  • How long has the instructor been teaching?
    While this is not always the case, teachers with more experience are often more adept at modifying poses for each individual and are likely to have continued training for students with special needs.
  • Does the instructor have a medical background or experience teaching students with arthritis?
    This is an ideal scenario. Try to find a teacher who is familiar with your condition and can guide you in making the proper adjustments for your body. Short of this, classes offered through hospitals or medical settings are often supervised or overseen by medical staff.
Various Styles of  Hatha Yoga

* star indicates for arthritis patients

Ananda Swami Kriyananda Very gentle. Preparation for meditation. Directing of energy. Affirmations combined with poses. Longer meditation may be difficult for arthritis patients.
Anusara John Friend (student of B.K.S. Iyengar) Anatomically-based. Emphasis on opening the heart. Extensive teacher training. Recommended for most arthritis patients.*
Ashtanga K. Pattabhi Jois (student of Sri T. Krishmanacharya) Specific sequence. Continuous movement. Very strenuous. Not recommended for arthritis patients due to physical rigor.
Bikram/Hot Bikram Choudhury Taught in 100-110 degree room to expel toxins and increase mobility. Not recommended for arthritis patients due to extreme heat.
Integral Swami Satchidananda (student of Swami Sivananda) Gentle practice including poses, breathing, chants, and meditation. Recommended for most arthritis patients.*
Iyengar B.K.S. Iyengar (student of Sri T. Krishmanacharya) Strong anatomical basis. Uses props to individualize poses. Recommended for most arthritis patients.*
Kripalu Amrit Desai Taught in three stages with evolving emphasis. Stage One focus on learning poses and understanding body. First stage recommended for most arthritis patients.*
Kundalini Yogi Bhajan Intended to awaken latent spiritual energy through poses, breathing, meditation. Intensity of breathing techniques may be challenging for some patients.
Sivananda Swami Vishnudevananda (student of Swami Sivananda) Gentle practice including poses, breathing, chants, and meditation. Recommended for arthritis patients.
Viniyoga Sri. T. Krishnamacharya Individualized practice. Breath and movement very coordinated. Extensive teacher training. Recommended in private sessions for most arthritis patients.*

If it's not the right time for you to try a public class, but you'd still like to participate in yoga, consider buying a copy of the Arthritis Friendly Yoga DVD.

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