Pain in the joints is a common problem which may vary from a minor discomfort to a disabling chronic problem affecting the quality of life to a great extent. The biomedical inventions have given great mobility and functional ability for damaged joints. It is not unusual to find persons with 10 to 20 joints (small and big) replaced as and when the joints get damaged, which has helped them to live their lives in comfort. Thanks to fascinating advances in medication too, which has definitely saved an arthritic from the devastating side effects of steroids. But, have we hit the nail on its head? Have we been able to cure or prevent joint diseases? The answer is a clear ‘No’. Increasing problems of aging changes in the joints are expected as our life expectancy and longevity have increased all round the globe. But what about the other types of arthritidis which are hitting younger persons? Rheumatoid arthritis, a disease of temperate climates, is still an enigma as we have not been able to remove the root cause of the disease.
Passive Rotation of Toes
Sthiti: Daïãásana or sitting in a chair.
- Bend the right leg at the knee, place the right foot on the left thigh.
- Move the individual toes with the left hand (i.e., passive movement) bending them forward & backward, right & left followed by clockwise and anti- clockwise rotation five times each.
- Then hold all the toes with the left-hand, rotate and bend them forward and backward 5 to 10 rounds.
- Repeat the same practice with the left foot.
- While practicing with individual toes, pull them outwards with the hand before moving them.
- If necessary, the instructor does the passive movement for the patient.
With the advances in technology as applied to the understanding of the disturbances at the molecular level we now have a huge fund of knowledge about the functional interrelationship between the brain, immune system, genes and all other organ systems of the body. This understanding has made us recognize the role of the mind over matter (the body) as well as the influence of cellular activities on the mind. There is an intricate feed back loop of connections that point out that many of these common disabling diseases of the joints can be traced to the life style, that triggers off the underlying family (genetic) tendencies.
Yoga with its holistic understanding of the human body mind complex provides a well developed programme of practices to set right or correct these deep internal imbalances caused by the erratic life style.
- Separate the legs by about a foot.
- Bring the awareness to both feet.
- Slowly rotate both feet from the ankles together in opposite directions.
- The big toes touch each other on the inward stroke of each foot.
- Repeat 10 rounds.
- Change directions and repeat 10 rounds.
- Practice with normal breathing.
- Keep the heels in contact with the ground throughout the practice.
- Do not allow the knees to bend.
- This can also be done sitting in a chair or cot keeping the knees straight.