What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient system of postures, breathing, relaxation, and meditation practices. They allow you to explore and challenge your body, mind and spirit. It originated in India thousands of years ago. Today most people practice yoga for fitness and to improve their overall sense of well-being. Yoga can also help with managing pain, stiffness and stress in chronic health problems such as JIA.

Why do yoga? 

Yoga can help you with many things. Here are a few of the benefits:

• Better flexibility and ease of movement

• Increased strength

• Less pain and morning stiffness

• Better posture

• More confidence

• Breathing more easily

• Feeling more calm and relaxed

• Belonging to a group of people with a similar interest.

Yoga postures

Yoga postures (also called poses) can have unusual names, like downward facing dog, cobra and warrior. You can modify nearly all yoga postures to fit with your abilities. Check out the poses sections to learn more about each posture. No matter what your abilities, there will be yoga postures to challenge your body and mind.

Yoga breathing

Some people know that yoga involves breathing and energy techniques. One of the simplest breathing techniques is called “victorious breath.” This deep-breathing sounds almost like Darth Vader (from Star Wars). This is a great way to keep your focus on your breath while you are practising yoga.

For more information about breathing techniques, see “Ways to relax.”

How to practice yoga in the face of pain

If you are new to yoga, start slow. Add one or two new poses at a time. Use the modifications suggested if you need to with certain poses. Listen to your body. Yoga should be challenging but not painful to do. If in doubt, speak to your health care provider (or yoga instructor) for help in selecting the best poses for you.

How to find a reputable studio

The most important thing to do is meet the teacher. The person’s experience as a yoga teacher and how well you feel you can connect with them may be the most important factors. See if the teacher has experience with teen classes, and working with people with JIA.

Look for someone with yoga credentials, such as from Yoga Australia.

Look for someone who has trained in a program for teaching teens and children, and someone who has training in yoga therapy. Sometimes there are yoga teachers who are also health care professionals like doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, or psychologists. This is usually a sign of a good therapeutic yoga program.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.