How YOGA can Help with Lupus Flares

As Lupus Awareness month comes to an end, I would like to hand off some information to my Lupus Warriors that you can use for the months and years ahead.

Lupus can negatively impact joint health and flexibility. Persons with Lupus may suffer from a variety of symptoms such as:

● Painful/Swollen Joints

● Chest Pain associated with breathing

● Extreme Fatigue

….and the list goes on.

I have had clients with Lupus that wanted to increase their level of fitness and lose weight, but because of fatigue, they could not handle aerobics.

Yoga is the gift of India to the world, thought to be the union of the Soul with God. Yoga equips one with a sound mind, peaceful spirit, healthy body and cures diseases. It does all of this in various ways.

The main areas of benefit of Yoga and Lupus include improved: 

● Flexibility and Mobility

● Physical Energy

● Pain Management e.g. relieves inflamed, swollen ankles

● Stress Management e.g. increased self-control, confidence, discipline

● Mood and Coping

● Cardiovascular and Respiratory Efficiency

● Circulation, Strength and Stamina e.g. relieves swollen joints and lessens fatigue

Other than relieving symptoms of Lupus, Yoga also helps with Insomnia, Strengthens the Immune system, Improves the Digestive process and Calms Anxiety.

Therefore Yoga helps to achieve and maintain an overall Healthy Lifestyle.

The two types of Yoga to consider are Beginner/Restorative Yoga and Hot Yoga/Bikram Yoga.

For persons with Lupus, especially Lupus flare ups, I recommend Beginner/Restorative Yoga because it is quite gentle, using pillows and blankets for support, which is ideal for joint issues.

Hot Yoga/Bikram Yoga is more strenuous and should be avoided by novices.

***Persons, especially those with Lupus should always talk with a Doctor before beginning New Exercises***

Conditions to be Cautious about when doing Yoga:

● High Blood Pressure: Be careful when bending over

● Neck issues: Instead of looking up, look straight ahead e.g. Warrior pose

● Pregnancy: Cannot do Prone exercises or exercises such as ‘Downward Dog’.

***When there is Inflexibility, use a Block by the Knee. For Back and Hip issues, use a Towel/Blanket***

How Yoga Helps with Stress

Stress is a state of mind. Stress occurs when something feels wrong or you have it on your mind persistently. It is not a disease, but I believe it can give birth to several diseases such as Ulcers, Hypertension, Migraines, Heart attacks etc.

Our minds and bodies are in sync with each other and there are some things that the Doctor cannot help us with all the time. It is how you manage your mind or the stress.

Yoga assists with the control of Breath, especially during Physical Postures called Asanas. It is important during Exercises to Breathe properly and to find strength, balance and comfort within each posture. Breathing properly involves deeply inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. That is just scratching the surface with Breathing Techniques and Yoga.

5 Yoga Poses that Help with Lupus:

***Do NOT Perform Poses Unsupervised and without proper Instruction/Demonstration***

1. Auspicious Pose / Swastikasana  (Seated with hands on the knees. Legs are folded so that left ankle resides between right thigh and knee and vice versa.)

It Relaxes the Nerves and should be done for 5 minutes with one area of focus.

2. Camel Pose / Ustrasana

Helps with Overcoming Pain, Increasing Lung Capacity, Improving Circulation and Respiratory Health.


Gabby from Suga Lifestyle demonstrating how Yoga can help with Lupus Flare ups at the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica’s Annual Seminar last October 23, 2016.

Position should be held for 10-15 seconds.

3. Viparita Karani

Helps to Improve Blood Circulation.

There are two versions but it should be done preferably against a wall.

*Avoid if there are Back issues




Advanced Viparita Karani pose (Photo:

4. Bound Angle Pose / Cobbler Pose/ Baddha Konasana


Photo: Meraki Lane

Seated position with soles of feet together and body bent over with the hips open for 20-30 seconds.

Helps with Fatigue, Menstrual Pain, Stretching of the Inner Thighs, Circulation and Anxiety.

5. Mountain Pose / Tadasana

Performed for 3 – 5 minutes with a gaze fixed forward. It helps with Relief of Pain and Inflammation.

*The soles of the feet should be grounded.

***Lupus Awareness should go beyond the month of October, so stay tuned for Yoga Practices in Jamaica that I recommend near you!***

By: Gabrielle Burgess  (Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist)

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