Your knees are very tricky joints and you need to keep them lubricated, strong, and flexible in their range of motion. If you have an injured or painful knee, rehabilitation will require slow and controlled movement. Yoga can help manage knee pain by stretching and strengthening the surrounding knee muscles and enhancing the flexibility of the knee joints. These 5 poses, when done regularly, can help reduce knee pain and make your knees stronger.
1. Mountain Pose
Start standing with big toes touching and heels together. Engage your lower abdominals and stretch your fingertips towards your toes.
Open up your chest and take deep, full breaths. Now bring all of your awareness to your feet and work on spreading through the toes and pressing them into the floor evenly.
Make sure your weight is centered in the arch of the foot, and imagine lifting up from the inner arch, through the ankle up through the knees.
Engage your quadriceps muscles and energetically lift up above the kneecaps. Microbend the knees if you feel that you are locking them.
Tip: Make sure to draw the muscles of the legs upwards, instead of jamming the legs back.
Mountain Pose is an excellent posture for knee pain relief. It helps us track our knees evenly and teaches us how to engage our leg muscles isometrically.
2. Triangle Pose
Start standing in Mountain Pose, and then open to the side on your mat one leg’s length apart. Turn your right toes forward ninety degrees, and your left toes in about seventy-five degrees.
Hinge to the right over your leg and place your hand on your ankle, shin, upper thigh, or a yoga block.
Imagine you’re between two narrow walls, and bring your body back in space with your hips. Actively engage the legs and draw up the kneecaps and inner thigh muscles.
Hold five to eight breaths then switch sides.
Triangle strengthens the quadriceps, inner thighs, and abdominals while stretching the waist, hips, and hamstrings.
3. Warrior II Pose
Start standing sideways on your mat with your legs open at least three feet, or your own leg’s length apart.
Turn your right toes out ninety degrees, and your left toes in seventy-five degrees. Bend your right knee until it is directly over your right ankle.
Use your leg muscles to keep tracking the knee and make sure it doesn’t roll inward. You want to keep bringing the knee open and towards the pinky toe side of the foot.
You’ll strengthen the outer gluteal muscles, inner thighs and quadriceps as you hold the pose for eight to ten breaths. Stand up and turn the feet the opposite direction for the other side.
Warrior poses, and especially Warrior II, is a safe pose to do for people with knee issues. Warrior II helps to stretch, strengthen, and stabilize the knee.
4. Hero’s Pose
Start kneeling and pull your calf muscles out to the sides as you sit your hips between your ankles.
Pull your buttocks flesh back and also pull up on the knee, then settle everything down again.
Hold for five to eight breaths or longer if you can.
Tip: If you feel too much pull on the knees here, you can sit up on as many blocks or folded blankets or towels as you need.
Hero’s Pose is the ultimate knee pain reliever, although it can also feel quite intense. Holding this pose for five minutes every day can completely reverse knee problems like running knee injury.
5. Garland Pose
Begin by squatting. As you do this, keep your feet close to each other, with your heels on the floor or supported on the ground.
Spread out your thighs, placing them slightly wider than your torso. Exhale and lean forward such that your torso fits snugly in between your thighs.
Bring your palms in the Anjali Mudra, and press your elbows against the inner thighs. Doing this will help you extend the front part of your torso.
Press the inner thighs against the side of the torso. Then, stretch your arms out, and swing them across such that your shins fit into the armpits. Hold your ankles.
Hold the pose for a few seconds. Inhale and release.
Malasana makes your legs strong and lean and strengthens your knees, ankles, and thighs. It also helps your body to excrete efficiently by disallowing pressure to build up in the body.
Practicing these poses on a routine basis can significantly improve the health of your knees. If you have severe knee pain, please consult your doctor before starting your yoga practice. And always make it a point to mention any persisting pains or aches with your yoga teacher.