As we grow older, it’s not uncommon to experience aches and pains in the body. Suddenly, carrying a yoga bag hurts our back and walking up too many stairs wreaks havoc on our knees. Knees are one of the main problem areas, with many people experiencing stiffness, pain, and discomfort during day-to-day life. Thankfully, practicing yoga can help to relieve pain and keep the knees in good working order. The postures below are designed to stretch your muscles and strengthen your legs to provide the knees with some much-needed support. In this article, we explore some of the recommended yoga poses for knee problems.
Mountain Pose is an excellent asana for knee problems. It helps us to build strength in the knees and teaches us how to engage our muscles isometrically. To practice the posture, stand tall with your feet in line with your hips. Distribute your weight evenly through each foot, ensuring you are not shifting your center of gravity forward or back. Next, engage your thighs and bring your tailbone forward. Remember to keep your legs straight but your knees unlocked. Next, take a deep breath in and lengthen your spine as much as possible. As you exhale, draw your shoulders down and back and reach your fingertips toward the floor. On your next inhale, bring your arms up and reach your fingers toward the ceiling. Finally, bring the palms of your hands together whilst still reaching your arms upward. You are in Mountain Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Triangle Pose strengthens the inner thighs, quadriceps, and the core to provide the knees with the necessary support. To practice the asana, begin standing with your feet apart. Bring your arms out to the sides until they’re in line with your shoulders. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in 45 degrees. Engaging your quadriceps, bend to the side over your right leg. For support, place your right hand on your ankle, shin, or knee. Finally, lift your left arm towards the ceiling and gaze at your fingertips. You are in Triangle Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Warrior II is one of the best poses for people with knee problems. The asana helps to stretch, strengthen, and stabilize the joint for long-term pain relief. To practice Warrior II, stand tall on your mat with your arms by your sides. As you exhale, move your feet wide apart. Next, turn your left foot slightly to the left and your right foot out 90 degrees. Raise your arms out to the sides until they are in line with your shoulders. Your palms should remain facing down. On your next exhale, bend your right knee until it is directly above your right ankle. Lower your hips until your right thigh is as parallel to the floor. If you can’t get your thigh parallel to the floor, just move it as far as you can whilst keeping the bend at 90 degrees. You are in Warrior II. Hold the asana for around 1 minute before switching sides.
Reclining Big Toe Pose isn’t only helpful for knee problems, but also our general health and wellbeing. The posture stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors to relieve tension and tightness. To begin, lie flat on your back upon your yoga mat. Gently bend both knees and place your feet on the ground. Next, lift your right leg off the mat and begin to draw your knee towards your chest. If it helps, you can use your hands to draw your knee in. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Using your fingertips, gently grip the toes of your right foot. If possible, try to straighten your right leg. If your leg doesn’t straighten all the way – that’s fine! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the posture is doing its job. You are in Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Bridge Pose is a great way to relieve knee pain and strengthen the joint. Start this pose laying on your back, bending your knees whilst keeping the soles of your feet touching the ground. Relax your arms, letting them drop carefully to the sides of your body. Tuck your chin into your chest and lift your buttocks and back off the floor to create a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before lowering your back and buttocks back down to the ground.
Chair Pose works well to strengthen the knees; however, if it becomes painful to practice it’s best to avoid this posture and move onto the next one. To begin, stand tall with your big toes touching. Taking a deep breath in, raise your arms above your head and point your fingertips toward the ceiling. Draw both your shoulders back as you lengthen your neck. As you exhale, bend your knees and begin to lower your bottom down and back, much like you would when sitting on a chair. At this stage, it’s important to not let your knees extend past your toes. Each time you inhale, lengthen your spine a little more. With each exhale, deepen the stretch by lowering your bottom further toward the floor. You are in Chair Pose. For best results, remember to keep your abdominal muscles engaged and ensure that your thighs are touching throughout. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
The final posture in the sequence is Downward Dog. Helping to build strength in the legs and stretch the knees, this asana works well to relieve knee pain. To practice the pose, stand tall on your mat with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, hinge at the waist and lower your upper body toward the ground until your hands are securely on the mat. Your body should now form a triangle. Tight hamstrings may prevent beginners from touching the ground; to make the pose a little easier, try bending your knees slightly throughout. Next, move your head between your upper arms and spread your fingers for additional balance. You are in Downward Dog. For best results, breathe deeply whilst practicing the pose and hang your head gently between your shoulders.
Whether you’ve got a long-term knee issue or you’re experiencing mild pain and discomfort, practice the above yoga poses for knee problems to find relief. In the warmer weather, many yogis enjoy practicing outside. If you do so, it’s worth taking a good-quality yoga mat out with you to support your knees. Also, remember to wear a yoga cap and some sun cream to protect your skin from the UV rays.