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Jan. 13, 2021

Yoga for Arthritis with Dr. Steffany Moonaz

Yoga for Arthritis with Dr. Steffany Moonaz

Summary: Using evidence informed practices is vital in furthering the field of yoga therapy. Steffany Moonaz, PhD, C-IAYT joins us to share how yoga can help those suffering from arthritis and other pain conditions.  I really love how she shares...


Using evidence informed practices is vital in furthering the field of yoga therapy. Steffany Moonaz, PhD, C-IAYT joins us to share how yoga can help those suffering from arthritis and other pain conditions.  I really love how she shares the latest research in such an understandable way. 

Steffany founded Yoga for Arthritis after eight years at John Hopkins university, where she studied the effects of yoga for people living with arthritis. She is now director of clinical and academic research at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, which offers the only MS yoga therapy degree in the nation.

She leads yoga for arthritis teacher training programs nationwide, and serves as a mentor for emerging researchers.Her yoga DVD produced by the arthritis foundation has been their best-selling product since it's released in 2013 and her book, Yoga Therapy for Arthritis, the whole person approach to movement and lifestyle was published by singing dragon publishers in December of 2018.


[2:40] Her yoga journey and how she came to work with people who have arthritis

“I learned from the population and they taught me how yoga worked and didn't work for them. What practices were most beneficial, what things needed to be adjusted. And so over time, over multiple cohorts, we figured out what we thought was going to make the most sense for this population and started to study it.”

[6:52] Steffany explains the different types of arthritis

[9:16] Why working through the koshas is important for people who suffer from arthritis

“The information that we have about what's happening in our own bodies, the way that we frame it and think about it, the stories that we tell ourselves about what our body can and can't do and what that means for who we are, you know, all of that is wrapped up in the experience of arthritis as well.”

[14:22] Meaning and purpose as a means to find relief

[16:35] Using energizing yoga practices to combat fatigue and depression

[19:16] The yamas and niyamas as tools

[21:22] Steffany dispels some yoga myths

[24:17] Why posture modification shouldn’t be a one sized fits all

[26:58] Why pain signals aren’t a representation of tissue damage

[28:47] Rewiring neural pathways

[30:29] Why you shouldn’t skip meditation even if you don’t feel like you are good at it

[32:23] Steffany shares research showing that people with arthritis tend to be spiritual

“People who are in pain, people who are suffering are looking for meaning- they're looking for answers.”

[34:06] How some arthritis sufferers found gratitude for their disease

[35:43] What having an evidence informed practice really means

[38:00] Scope of practice for yoga professionals

[43:51] Providing yoga safely

[47:54] When and why it’s best practice to refer clients/students to someone else

[52:41] Why you (and your clients) should be moving your joints every day

[57:55] How research and evidence informed practice aligns with yoga philosophy

Connect with Steffany:


Email:  info@arthritis.yoga

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/drmoonaz/

*Link to Book Yoga Therapy for Arthritis:  https://amzn.to/3nCBEes

*Link to Book Science of Yoga in Pain Care: https://amzn.to/3ll4AYa (Affiliate link)

*Affiliate links

Link to Neil Pearson’s paper: Yoga for People in Pain Paper: https://lifeisnow.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Yoga_Chronic_Pain_International_Journal_Yoga_Therapy_2008.pdf?fbclid=IwAR09gKb7w53RtBtqK7DpcxKSSFLHjQjdjewYabs8zJ9ZPXZFnf63dzM5jLM

Link to Steffany and Marlisa’s paper:  Toward an Explanatory Framework for Yoga Therapy Informed by Philosophical and Ethical Perspectives https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marlysa_Sullivan/publication/321082136_Toward_an_Explanatory_Framework_for_Yoga_Therapy_Informed_by_Philosophical_and_Ethical_Perspectives/links/5a37d161458515919e71c4b1/Toward-an-Explanatory-Framework-for-Yoga-Therapy-Informed-by-Philosophical-and-Ethical-Perspectives.pdf

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Music:  The State of Things (The Bouncy Song) by Rena Wren is used with permission.