More flexible joints - Lotus position, foot on my thighs

More flexible joints - Lotus position, foot on my thighs

I know many people can do this hence it is not a surprise at all. However, this was a hard job to me and I tried so long and I could not do it until now.

I was not able to do this even before I was sick. I continued to practice yoga daily and I believed that I could do it one day. This morning, I finally can put my foot on my thighs. This proves that my joints of my knees and foot are getting stronger and very much flexible even though I am a RA patient.

I will continue my daily yoga and continue to practice this position. I believe eventually I can put my foot higher up on my thighs, this is another target that I am working on.

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66 Replies

  • Good for you!

    And how encouraging for the rest of us!

  • Dear Good_Grief,

    I prefer to post something positive so that RA patients, especially those who are new here, know that they can be better one day.

    Most importantly, we must have confident, must not give up, set the target and work on it daily the limit we can, then the result will come very slowly but it will. I was trying hard to work on this but I could not until many many months now. If I were to give up working on this earlier, I will never come to this stage.

  • Lucky you!

    Are you on RA medication?

    I hope for healing eventually but my prognosis with modern medicine is dire, depressing and uncertain.

    May your good health follow you through life.

  • Yes, I am still on mtx and arava. However, I am on the minimum mtx 7.5 mg only now.

    I only follow the instruction of my rheumy and physiotherapists. I don't go for anything without the approval of my rheumy.

  • Thanks, Amy_Lee!

    I only do what my physiotherapist says although I want to do much more.

    No way can I do what you are capable of!

    But I believe that healing can come with recognition of the underlying cause as to what our auto antibodies are trying to destroy within our bodies.

    Killer T cells are only doing their job, recognising and destroying foreign bodies.

    You are fortunate that youth and milder RA allow you to enjoy greater resilience.

    May you remain optimistic and active.

    Angela :-)

  • I don't know about you but I was taken aback when I learned Amy_Lee 's actual age as she looks so youthful and lovely and nothing like I expected for the mother of adult children :) (Which says more about me and my skewed perspective :) ) Charisma7aj

  • Yes, I am no longer young. I am 56 now. I have 3 adult kids, 28, 26 and 24.

    When I was sick in 2014, my youngest son was in his first year college. That was the reason I fought back because my sense told me that as a mother I couldn't fail him.

    It is the positive thought that pushing me forward. It is my young heart that makes me look young at this age. I look much younger before I was sick in fact. :)

  • Yes, I am surprised too. I looked youthful too, well into my 50s but RA has me looking ravaged and grey and lined!

    Now in mid 60s.

    Got to go, out today.

    Sun here for a change, nice!

  • Angela,

    Keep a young heart, you will be young always. You are right to say that RA did make us old badly. My body deteriorated so fast and I was left with only 38 kg at one stage. That really scared my daughter who looked after me those days. With the spirit to fight back, I am now back to my normal weight but do look much older now.


  • I could not do this earlier. After I was sick, I started my exercises with equipment available in the park nearby. Basically using equipment that kids use. Just do the limit you can consistently, you will see improvement one day.

    My advice is when you feel stronger, always try something slightly difficult to see if you can get to another stage, that was what I did.

  • So often people who don't have RA offend us with badly informed phrases, so please let's not do that to each other. We well know that some people have very aggressive disease but respond well to treatments so can live quite normally. And equally some people have relatively non-aggressive disease but can't tolerate any drugs so have a truly miserable time and become disabled quickly.

    To me shrugging off Amy's achievement as it being just people who have "mild" disease or are younger misunderstands the reality - it's really not that simple.

  • Unfortunately neither of the categories you describe fit everyone, not me anyway. No two cases are identical.

    No matter how young at heart I am, or how much I desire to do more, it has so far consistently resulted in setbacks and further damage rather than progress.

    Amy is very fortunate as well as determined. She has my best wishes for continued health and progress.

  • That's precisely my point. You can't put simple labels on people as this disease is so variable and individual.

  • Dear Charisma7aj and helixhelix ,

    I believe I was treated earlier hence I could do better than others. RA hit me hard and I could no longer tolerate the pain after a week. I had been a very healthy person, therefore I wondered what was wrong with me hence I went straight to see the GP.

    I was also very lucky to have this very experience GP who suspected RA right away. He sent me straight to see rheumatologist. After all the blood test, x-ray and physical test, my rheumy started to treat me immediately.

    Of course I was also very lucky mtx and arava worked very well to me. I developed side effects with mtx though but my rheumy told me that the benefits it brought to me would be far more important than the side effects hence I was advised to continue with that until today.

    I do agree that the journey for all of us are different but work toward the recovery process positively is crucial if one wants to get better. That is the message that I want to deliver.


  • Well done Amy Lee, your diligence and commitment is admirable.


  • Dear Marie,

    I know I need to put in a lot of effort if I want to get back to my normal life. That is the motivation for me to go on.

  • Well Done, Amy_Lee! You have obviously improved your joint stability and range of movement so much with your yoga practice.

    It's always good to have a goal to measure your progress. You've achieved so much already and you have already decided the next goal that will mark progress for you (the foot higher up the thigh).

  • Yes, to set a target is always better so that I can focus and I know the progress.

  • Nope haven't been able to do that for years. hahaha

  • I tried since before I was sick. I joined yoga classes for a few years then. I could not do yoga anymore when I was sick. Then when I got better after about 1 1/2 years of other exercises, I tested and managed to get back to yoga very slowly. From there I slowly improved and tried this again but just too hard for me. I was so excited when I could do it this morning.

  • I'm still waiting for something to work nearly 6 years post diagnosis, so I am lucky to just be upright and working. One day I dream of having a drug that will be effective

  • Dear Someonesmother,

    The name you choose is very cute, dear. Hahahaha.

    Do look at what I did, I believe that will give you some clues of how to move on immediately. To me just anything around me, so that I got to do it as often as I could without wasting time.

  • I'm afraid I do not have the energy for anything more than going to work and coming home and collapsing. My weekends are spent doing what little I can around the house and then resting the rest of the time so I can do it all again the following week. You are very lucky that the medications have worked for you and that you feel so good. sadly for some of us, that will never be a reality.

  • But keep hoping that maybe one day.... new treatments are appearing all the time so perhaps one will work for you. Here's hoping.

  • I live in hope for that day. I would love to be able to feel slightly normal again.. If I didn't need to work to live and pay the rent I wouldn't be working now, but it's that or live in my car.

  • Dear Someonesmother,

    It is okay if you are not as strong currently. I am a working single mother. Because of the responsibility that I have for my youngest son, I tried hard to fight back. It was very very hard, but as long as I kept up with the spirit and look forward positively, I made it.

    I do not expect all as lucky as me, but as least if I can improve, and if you do a little to the limit you can a day, you will surely improve slowly.

    The whole purpose of posting positive improvement is to inspire other RA sufferers not to just give up and settle with what they are. They can get better slowly but effort must be put in and they must trust themselves.

  • Well done for persevering.

  • Hard work really but feel very good after achieving it.

  • I'm with you all the way. I set myself goals on a regular basis and it's a great feeling when you get there. Take care.

  • Set your goal and we focus to meet our goal together.

  • WTG! The benefits of yoga are amazing from a physical and mental and spiritual point of view. I smiled when I saw your ‘lotus’ pic cause I used to be able to do that, and I remembered how I felt when I first did it! I have been a deadicated yogi for about six years, going two to three times a week for 1.5hrs of mostly hot yoga. After years of practice I could do most things others in the class could do and although some discomfort always felt better afterwards. I haven’t been to yoga since May of this year. It is disappointing but I have not thrown away hope. I’m trying to get myself in order and healthy enough to get back to the one activity that gave me peace and balance. I tried going back a few times but right now it’s just too difficult with complications of another autoimmune disease diagnosed last March.

    Thank you for posting, it helps me to keep the hope of where I would like to get back to. Keep it up Amy! Your positivity is infectious and a warm sun in a cold wet day.

  • This is one of the reasons that I like AntiGravity Yoga in a hammock - it's possible to perform a number of these moves in a comfortable manner - even if they're just partway - and it's so easy to adjust.

    I keep thinking about hot yoga but I'll stick with the hammock version for now. :)

    And, sympathies, it's completely foul that auto-immune conditions so often seem to prefer travelling as part of a large party rather than as individuals.

  • Haha your last comment made me laugh! About the autoimmune conditions travelling in large parties rather than individuals! Haha that’s golden!

    I’m going to look up what this antigravity yoga is, pretty sure anything that sounds this high tec is not available in my country and definitely not in my area. But I’m very curious to know what anti gravity yoga is.

  • I hope this shows up - but if it doesn't, look up the following on YouTube :)

    aerial yoga rebekah leach

    There's a map of AntiGravity Yoga here:

    However, it's known as aerial yoga in some places tho' some people do that with a smaller hammock but also additional fabric with handles for hands and feet - more like a yoga swing or sling, iirc.

    ETA: Rebekah is, of course, advanced, but my teachers are outstanding at advising on more supportive wraps with the hammock and how to adapt versions of everything so that people can perform the exercises. Bless them, they even came up with modifications when I was rehabbing from knee surgery and when I was in a fracture boot from a fractured ankle earlier this year.

  • I think the hands and legs must be strong enough before we RA patients try. It looks very nice on the swing.

  • Not really - that hammock is quite high to allow those moves but the hammock can be adjusted to sitting height or just a few inches off the floor. So on a day when you can't move much it is still possible to do something. :)

  • Great then. Can be considered then.

    But then to go to yoga center is a problem for me here. Traveling time and parking problem around those places. I am still working right now hence can't really do it during off peak.

  • Yes, you can tell the yogi in the video is a master at what she does, with slow controlled movements and you can see the strength in her

  • I can see the video, thank you. It’s amazing to see the poses done aireal especially the eagle pose done upside down, who knew that could even be done!

  • It looks great, I like it too but I am not sure if my limbs are strong enough to try this.

  • I do not have that kind of strength, at my peak in yoga when I became advanced, maybe. Yes, the sling could be adjusted lower for more basic poses. Once I had to stop yoga due to second autoimmune, my health plummetedand it seems I lost everything I gained very fast. It’s hard to comprehend how fast a person can deteriorate. Once I get back on track and doctors figure out how to fix, I definitely plan to get back to yoga but it will be starting from square one. I will still have the knowledge of the proper positions, but building the strength back up will likely take two years, as this is how long it took the first time.

    I am keeping my eyes in my goals and I want to get back where I was.

  • Hobbits,

    I can understand what you said here on the body deteriorate issue. When I was at the peak of my RA, I was left with only 38 kg. I was left with only skin and bone on me and I looked so old then.

    It took me more than half a year to get back some muscles slowly. Then I started to try yoga again after about 1 1/2 years of other exercises when I was a bit stronger. Trust me, you can do faster than that if you are focus. I am so glad to know that you are so positive!!

    Do keep each other informed of our progress!! That is the way to go.

  • Hi Amy, I am hoping by spring maybe I can back into my yoga practice, right now I am too weak and too ill, and too many upcoming possibilities, from surgery and drug issues to even focus. I wont accept that how my health now, will be my forever health. I always say "just breathe" and "one day at a time" - my mind wants to do things but my body fails me right now. Can I have a new body for Christmas?

  • Dear Hobbits,

    Yes, just do one thing at a time slowly. Yes, you will have a healthier body by Christmas. You must have confident in yourself. I send you my hugs and support from here.

    The message I wanted to deliver is do what you can and listen to your body. Do not give up and you will surely better each day though the journey is never easy.

  • Hobbits Amy_Lee I can't perform a dart/superman lying on the floor but I can in a low-slung hammock.

    Because of the congenital scoliosis in my cervical spine/neck, I hate lying on my front on a solid surface and find it difficult to raise my shoulders, upper chest, neck etc. off the floor and hold my arms straight along my sides. However, I can perform this in a low hammock that is supporting the rest of my body in the hammock - and I know this exercise is recommended specifically to prevent osteoporotic fractures.

    For me, the inversions very much help to keep the range of motion and flexibility in the upper body. I have PsA which is aggravating the existing issues in my neck and spine tho' its most annoying functional limitation is my hands.

    However, the inversions aren't essential. It's practical to just lie on a surface with one leg in the hammock from toes to hip and gently move that from side to side. There are days when that is enormously helpful to release a hip :)

  • Yes, although the video shows more advanced poses, I can see how it can be modified and adjusted for more basic movements

  • ITYFIALMCTT , I am very sorry to know your problem really. Just listen to your body and do what you can at this moment consistently. When your body is stronger, you can surely move forward another step.

    The video is fantastic and movement are beautiful.

  • We have this here recently but I haven't tried before. May be in future if I want something difference then I may try this.

  • Dear Ityfalmtcc,

    The important thing is do it consistently, it is ok to do just any form of exercises that you can now. When your body is stronger, then you can test your body and see if you can get on with any more difficult thing.

  • Dear Hobbits, don't give up. Wait for your body to be stronger, do it slowly and you will be able to be your normal self again.

    Do remember to always test yourself when you are stronger to see if you can go a step further. Very funny thing that I find, when the body started to see result, the faster other results would come when I tested. I am not sure if that will be the same for others.

  • Sadly I won't ever be doing that as my lower joints are too far gone but well done to anyone who is able to!

  • Dear Neonkittie17 ,

    No 2 RA patients are the same, you just do what you can. Give yourself enough time, you can be healthier each day. This is the message I wanted to send.

  • I do dear Amy .. I was an athlete and a runner so I am very strong. No longer can do that but I have defied the consultants with my strength and mobility! I can walk well and do exercises and weights but the Lotus is beyond me! 😆 I'm so glad you are having great success with your meds. That's fantastic to hear! Yes we have to move and get off our bottoms as much as we can. I always ensure I'm up and about doing things in the house and garden. I've just planted spring bulbs last week .. Hundreds of them! 🌷🌼

  • Dear Neokittie17,

    Gardening is a good exercise too, I am glad you are doing what you can too.

    Yes, life was so miserable when I could not even balance myself when I walked on a very even road. It took about a year for me to be able to balance myself better on the normal road. Though I was so worried to fall over, but I knew to get back to my normal life, I must walk everyday. I did and I finally made it.

    I could only start to do yoga after about 1 1/2 year, only some very simple posts to start with. But then, once my body was stronger, the improvement speed up too. We just need to get over the most difficult path and the light will be ahead of us.

  • It will indeed. I takes time .. Balance was and is always an issue for me. Cambers/uneven pavement can still make me wobble! One has to get the ankles strong again. It takes months and even a year or so to gain that strength again. My arches have dropped too over the last few years (long saga of waiting for orthotics and trainers from hospital.) One thing is sure ... If we don't do any exercise or activity then we will feel even worse and be very unfit. Yes gardening is wonderful as you see the rewards of your hard work when those beautiful flowers and plants bloom!

  • Once I was not able to balance myself too but I was lucky that my daughter happened to come back and took good care of me. I was able to do slightly better after about 10 months then she went to work.

    All and all it took me about more than a year to balance myself without much fear in me. That result came after walking daily after work and exercising in the park using whatever equipment that I could use there. On top of that, I also did other strength building exercises using thera band and so on in the morning at home before I went out to work.

    My daughter was my driver then, I could not turn my neck and my body to at one point. My physiotherapists told me not to walk like a machine but to force turned my waist. It was a very painful journey to turn the whole problem around. I therefore can understand your pain and your problem.

    Just be very careful when you are working around the garden, suggest to use something to support you when you walk.

  • God could never do that.this yoga etc will be helping you and your fitness good luck

  • Dear Ajay575 ,

    Do what you can. It may not be yoga, can be just any exercises your body can handle at this moment. We are all different hence our recovery process will be different too.


  • I agree .. Just a little work out even seated is great if you can't stand to exercise. Someone kindly posted a couple of links to YT to show a seated work out and another one too. Those are great for days when you may not he able to do so much on your feet. Thank you whoever it was. 😍

  • Thank yoy

  • Wow!! CONGRATULATIONS. Besides admirable determination & perseverance, what are you on/history/age? Please, it helps others.

  • If I can help, I would.

    What am I on? Mtx, arava, folic acid, Vit-D, Calcium and Chia seeds.

    History? A single mother of 3. Working for only the purpose to bring up my 3 kids to the best I could/can. I was very healthy by playing with them, working hard around the house and office. I did very well in this area and the 3 of them will be in very good positions in future.

    Age? 56 this year.

  • Thank you, dear Amy Lee. (I didn't mean to pry into your personal circumstances, only meant your medical history.) Have a great life, you so deserve to! x

  • Hahaha, it is okay. Below link was my medical history for you reference.

  • Thank you so much for going to so much trouble in relating your history. I am doing very well on Mtx, only that my hair is thinning steadily & not settling as is more usual... I was interested, though, in your comments about weight loss & muscle wastage. I have had to temporarily give up exercising until Physio look at me for a chronic back problem (not R.A. apparently it doesn't attack the back). My body looks older recently. I didn't think it could be due to the short period without exercise, but rather because of a 'jump' in the aging process, which I do think occurs. But maybe it's the Mtx weight loss, cor! It's costing me £60+ to have all my clothes altered, but better than buying all new again. What an interesting life we lead..! x

  • I developed below side effects at the very early stage of mtx: -

    1. Diarrhea and vomiting - basically could not go out but sitting in the toilet and holding a basket for 3 days. The doctor told me that because mtx reduced the white blood cells in my body tremendously hence I had these side effects. They subside after 3 days.

    2. Rashes on hands and legs - This was very itchy and nothing I could do about it. I saw the doctor but cream did not work too. I could only apply some pure lotion to ensure my skin was not dried to reduce the itchiness. This subsided after about a year.

    3. Hair thinning - I complaint to my rheumy, my rheumy said that the benefits mtx would bring were far more important than this. Unless when I combed my hair, it came out in patches then she would consider to change mtx. She said that mtx is the most effective DMARD to stop/slow down joint damaged therefore she wanted me to continue and ignore the side effects. This issue also stopped after about a year.

    I hope my experience above could give you an idea of what to expect. However, no 2 RA persons the same, so it is very much depend on our own body. I hope your body could respond better soon on mtx.

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