Treatment for knee pain takes many different forms. For some people, they’ll simply need to rest their knee, make some lifestyle adjustments, or try new exercises that don’t put too much stress on their joints. In more severe cases of chronic knee pain or in the case of a bad sports injury, surgery may be required. However, for anyone experiencing relatively mild yet incredibly annoying knee pain, there are a few things you can try. One thing that many people find very beneficial for their knee pain is yoga. If you are looking for something that will not only relieve some of your knee pain, but make your knee joints stronger over the long run, take a look at a few useful yoga poses that will help. At the end, we will also discuss a couple of yoga poses that are not good for your knees and that should be avoided.
The Bridge Pose: This probably isn’t the first yoga pose most people will think of when it comes to something that will actively strengthen and protect the knee joints. Fortunately, it does indeed help your knees as well as many other parts of your body including your core, lower body, and neck. When you hold the bridge pose, you are toning and strengthening your hamstrings and glutes, thus offering better support for your knees. The added benefit of this pose is that it challenges your IT band (the connective tissue surrounding your knees and thighs). When your IT band is not worked and challenged in a healthy manner, it becomes too relaxed and this contributes to knee pain.
The Chair Pose: The chair pose is a staple of the yoga world and it is one of the basics you learn right off the bat when first beginning your yoga practice. It is a straightforward and moderately easy pose to perfect and the purpose of this pose is to strengthen much of the lower body including calves, hips, and thighs. And when the muscles in all of these body parts become stronger, it makes it easier for the knee to function properly and carry less burdensome weight. To hold this pose, start with your feet either a couple of inches apart or touching. From there, slowly lower your backside toward the floor as if you were about to sit in a chair. Raise your arms and extend them up above and slightly in front of you. It is very important that you do not let your knees go past your toes when holding this pose. As a general rule of thumb, make sure you are able to see all ten toes past your knees when you are in this position. You also want to ensure that your spine is long and extended, your back is straight, and your chest is pushed out forward.
Eagle Pose: When you look at this yoga pose, you might grimace at the seeming complexity of it and think it’s nothing you could do as a novice yogi or someone who has never practiced yoga. Don’t let the way it looks deter you from actually trying it. Though it is a slightly more intermediate pose that should only be tried after a bit of yoga experience, it is one of the best poses for knee pain as well as strengthening the knee. Because of the way the knees are positioned in this pose, they remain protected and free of any straining, yet the pose actively stretches and works the calves and thighs. When the muscles in the calves and thighs are challenged properly and strengthened, they do a better job of protecting and supporting the knees.
The High Lunge: While this yoga pose specifically targets the lower body and works to tone and strengthen the hips, glutes, and quads, it is a tremendously beneficial full body pose that will strengthen nearly every part of your body. The reason it is such an important pose for people looking to build up strength and support around their knee (or knees) is because it improves the knee’s overall health and strength in multiple ways. Firstly, this pose builds up the muscles surrounding the knee, thus offering more support. Secondly, the balance required in order to hold this pose improves a person’s balance overtime and said balance is needed to produce stronger, healthier knees. To hold this pose, get out a supportive yoga mat and stand at the front of it. From there, extend your right leg back and hold the left leg at a 90 degree angle. Once you have your balance, stretch your arms outward and above your head. Push your heart out toward the front of the room, continue to hold your arms in place without locking your elbows, and, if you feel confident enough to do it, slightly arch your back. Anyone who has tight hamstrings will want to start out with this pose by bending the back leg only slightly. Doing this also takes some pressure off of the knees. Once you have done this pose on one side (aim to hold it for about thirty seconds), switch the legs to get an even stretch.
Camel Pose: If you are looking for yoga poses that will help relieve some of your knee pain, it isn’t likely that you will get into this advanced pose anyway. However, it is worth mentioning since doing it when you have weak, sore, or painful knees will only make matters worse. This pose is done when a person starts out by kneeling on their mat and bending their back toward the ground with the chest pushed out toward the ceiling. From there, they grab their ankles with their hands and hold. The issue with this pose is that it puts so much pressure on the knees and this can cause further irritation or inflammation. If you aren’t suffering from knee pain but want to protect your knees, modify this pose by rolling your mat for added cushion and support.
Twisted Triangle: This yoga pose is done by placing one foot in front of the other. From there, the person reaches their right arm toward the ground and extends their left arm up and out toward the sky to form a twisted position. While this pose is beneficial for many other purposes, it won’t do anyone with knee pain any good. Because it requires a person to extend their leg out straight, it locks the knee and puts excessive stress on it, causing inflammation, pain, and weakness. If you take up yoga more regularly and this pose is a part of your practice, be aware of the position of your knee and make sure to hold the stance without locking your knees.