During my association with Sivananda Yoga Ashram recently for a few months – I met strong groups of people practicing Warrior Pose and the Pyramid Pose of Yoga. I observed that a lot of people complain of knee pain or some had knee pain who underwent knee surgery and couldn’t do certain poses.
The people who joined Yoga classes were tired of visiting doctors, having oral medications or wearing uncomfortable knee caps. Therefore, to get pain relief and to have flexibility in the muscles around the knees it is best to do these 7 Yoga poses for Knee pain. The following Yoga postures (asanas) will strengthen your legs and help you maintain a pain-free, fit and healthy body.
Why to practice Yoga Poses for Knee Pain
Yoga Poses are highly beneficial for weak or painful knees. Specific Yoga poses meant for knee pain relief – strengthen the muscles so that they keep the knee aligned. Especially the ‘vastus medialis’ – it’s main function is to go through the inner quadricep muscles that in turn helps you extend your legs.
Moreover, Yoga stretches the muscles that have become tight and affect the knee – these could be your hip muscles and hip flexors. The pain does not begin from the knee itself since it is a joint. It is affected by the muscles around it like the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. The pain starts from the pelvic floor and hip muscles that control the stress and pressure on the knees and enable its movement.
This happens mainly due to sitting endlessly at a desk causing the buttock muscles to weaken. Bad posture puts extra pressure on your hip muscles resulting in severe knee pain.
As per The Washington Post a recent research stated: “The average U.S. adult sits 6.5 hours a day. For teens, it’s even more. The average American adult now spends about 6½ hours a day sitting — an increase of about an hour a day since 2007.”
Yoga makes you aware of your body and mind at the same time, therefore you are mindful while practicing Yoga poses. Chances of overdoing or overstretching are minimal.
7 Yoga Poses for Knee pain
Practice the 7 Yoga Poses for knee pain regularly (minimum thrice a week or as per your Certified Yoga trainer). Take 3-5 deep breaths while staying in each Yoga pose. However, if at any time you feel pulling or pain in your knees come out of the Pose / Asana at once.
Also, be sure to let your yoga teacher know about any injuries or concerns before you enroll for class.
1. Hero Pose (Virasana)
The Hero Pose (Virasana) is a symbol of being a hero to fight your inner woes and worries. It is the ultimate knee pain reliever even though it might get intense. The Hero Pose increases blood circulation in your legs while stretching your thighs and knees. This brings relief to the knee pain and helps to reverse a knee injury. This Yoga pose improves body posture and reduces tiredness in your legs.
It is a simple meditative pose practiced in the mornings, not necessarily on an empty stomach. The Hero Pose (Virasana) is a beginner level Hatha Yoga Asana. Practice this Yoga Pose for knee pain every morning and hold it for at least 30 to 60 seconds. If this yoga pose is putting pressure on your knees, you can sit on folded towels or blankets to make the practice easier.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine prescribed 8 weeks of Yoga to 75 years old adults who were suffering from either rheumatoid arthritis or knee osteoarthritis (arthritis in the knee). The participants took 2 hour-long Yoga classes and performed one at home each week. As a result, after 8 weeks, they found significant improvement in the participants’ physical and psychological health. They also experienced considerable decrease in pain caused due to inflammation in the joints
Our Blog on How Yoga Poses Heal and Strengthen the JOINTS
2. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain Pose also known as Tadasana is an excellent yoga pose for knee pain relief and knee-related ailments. This pose firstly increases the flexibility of the muscles and then, strengthens the knee joints and ankles. It improves the body alignment that helps to ward off any knee injury and teaches you how to engage your leg muscles isometrically. This yoga pose also improves body posture, reduces flat feet and relieves sciatica.
It is a starting position for all standing yoga poses. For yoga beginners, it might be difficult to maintain balance but with practice, it might get easier. Practice this for 5 rounds and hold it for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle Pose also known as Trikonasana, is named after the pose as it resembles the shape of a triangle. This pose is beneficial for obese people to lose excess weight as this weight might be putting pressure on the knees. Thus, helping to burn fat from the stomach, waist, thighs, and back. This yoga pose for knee pain strengthens the inner thigh muscles and quadriceps, helping to cure knee pain. TIt also energizes the body and helps to increase focus.
This pose, unlike any other poses, can be performed with your eyes open. Practice this pose in the morning on an empty stomach and hold this pose for at least 30 seconds or more if you are comfortable.
4. Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)
The Crocodile Pose also known as Makarasana resembles a crocodile relaxing in the water above the surface level. This yoga pose stretches your leg muscles, acting as a balm for knee pain. Since you have to keep your entire leg straight, there is an ample amount of blood supply that gushes to the knees. Thus, blood circulation helps in relieving knee pain.
In 2015, 15 million adults in the United States reported severe joint pain due to arthritis. Also, the risk of knee arthritis is more prevalent in women than in men. A study in the US showed that approximately 23% of women aged 60years and older reported knee pain. Therefore, this yoga pose for knee pain is an excellent cure if you are suffering from knee arthritis. It has a calming and relaxing effect on your body and mind and also controls hypertension.
The pose is usually practiced at the end of a yoga session. However, if you plan to extend your yoga session with other yoga poses then it is advised to keep your stomach empty. Hold this pose for at least 2 to 5 minutes.
5. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Eagle Pose also known as Garudasana is named after the king of birds, Garuda which is a mix of an eagle with human features from the Hindu mythology. This yoga pose opens up your knee joints and increases flexibility in your legs. It strengthens and stretches your calves and thighs. It also improves neuromuscular coordination that strengthens the knees to avoid any stress causing knee injuries. Eagle pose improves body balance keeping you safe from injuries.
Practice this yoga pose in the mornings on an empty stomach and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds. If you have trouble balancing, use the support of a wall or chair.
6. Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana 2)
Warrior Pose, commonly known as Virabhadrasana is named after a mythological warrior who was an incarnation of Lord Shiva. There are variations to this pose but Warrior Pose II is an ideal yoga pose for knee pain. It helps to stretch, strengthen and stabilize the knee. It is safe for those who suffer from knee injuries. In case of a severe case of knee injury or arthritis, use support at the knee. This will give you some comfort when you hold the pose.
Warrior Pose II is not just about strengthening your thighs and hips but it is also an alignment corrector. This is usually the reason behind many knee-related problems. However, strong thighs and hips can help protect your knees from arthritis, injury, and chronic wear and tear. When in posture, your front knee is bent so make sure to distribute your weight on the heel of your front foot. Do not put all your weight on your toes as this might put your knee and ankle at risk.
Practice this yoga pose early in the morning, since it helps to improve your focus and concentration. But in case you cannot practice in the morning, include it in your evening yoga session. Make sure to keep your stomach empty but if you are practicing in the evening then keep a gap of 4 to 6 hours after meals. While practicing, hold this pose for a minute.
7. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Pyramid Pose is also called Parsvottanasana as the pose resembles a pyramid when in form. it is also sometimes called “Intense Side Stretch”. It is a forward bend as well as a balancing pose. This yoga pose is very useful for the overall health of your joints especially the knee joints. It is considered as one of the most effective yoga poses for knee pain.
Regular practice of the Pyramid Pose will reduce knee pain and give a sense of balance to your body. It also works as a calming tool for your brain and strengthens your legs. Practice this pose in the morning on an empty stomach and hold it for at least 30 seconds.
There have been statistics floating around that by 2040, an estimated 78 million (26%) US adults aged 18years and older will be projected to suffer from arthritis. This does not sound good at all. The only way to reduce the numbers is by taking care of ourselves. Practicing these yoga poses for knee pain can reverse or rather reduce the numbers.
Yoga can make a big difference in the health of your knees. Since our knees are very tricky in nature, it is important to keep them flexible, strong and moving. A stiff knee is not a good sign for your body. Yoga is such an exercise that keeps every part of our body moving pain-free. It allows us to understand our body and repair and heal it as much as we can.
Try these yoga poses for knee pain and you will notice a reduced pain in your joints. Do not expect the pain to vanish overnight but with steady determination and regular practice, you can soothe and decrease your knee pain.
Show some gratitude to your knees. I know it might sound silly but it helps. Place your hands on your knees and send them some love and healing. When any part of our body hurts or doesn’t function the way it should, we end up disliking our bodies. We blame or tend to ignore it making it worse for the body part and increasing the pain.
Thus, Gratitude along with Yoga is the remedy or cure for shifting that persistent mindset.
Stay fit! Stay healthy!
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