How to Avoid Knee Strain When Doing Yoga

Danh Ngo"Staying Active" Division, Knee Pain, Pain Relief Division, Yoga + Pilates

Yoga is known for all of the incredible benefits it provides for the body. It builds core strength, flexibility, and lean muscle. However, when you have knee strain discomfort, the pain can get in the way of being able to do an advanced yoga session. Thankfully, there is a way to minimize knee pain and start enjoying yoga class again.

To learn more about the things you can do to improve your yoga experience— even while suffering from a knee injury—continue reading the information below.

Choose the Right Yoga Class for Knee Strain

Take a moment to consider which style and speed of yoga would be most appropriate for your knees, especially if you already have knee pain. You should also evaluate the yoga instructor’s professional history and training. Finding someone with a background in yoga therapy or experience in orthopedic or physical therapy is a good idea.

Slower-paced sessions with longer pauses allows more focus on the joints, which is essential for better alignment. Classes that involve jumping and padmasana (lotus) variations in each session might not be the right option if you are struggling with a knee injury.

If you choose an advanced class, you may need to change how you move. You should do so even when sitting in certain poses to make the session less harsh on your body. Also, you can get your doctor’s advice on the range of motion and posture limitations you should set before performing yoga.

Carefully Stretch Before Yoga

Despite the condition of our knees, every yogi should understand what a proper stretch feels like and what’s healthy for the knee. While every person has a slightly different stretching experience, a good rule of thumb is to pay attention to the feeling in the muscle right above the knee joint.

If you feel a sensation of strained pulling on the sides of the knee or under the kneecap, that’s a sign to ease up on the stretching. For instance, doing the lotus pose is a prime example of the sensation you’ll feel in the knee when you’re experiencing knee strain. Your knee will warn you when it’s time to ease up.

For the leg to reach the lotus position safely, the knee must be completely flexed. The leg that is folded in must be in complete flexion position and shift comfortably into place. However, the second leg can’t do that while in this particular pose.

In this situation, pushing the second leg into the pose may risk a tear in the medial meniscus, particularly when pulling at the sides of the knee or under the patella.

Therefore, it’s vital to be careful when stretching. Pulling your muscles the wrong way could cause more knee pain.

Easy Pose Modifications for Reduced Knee Strain

In addition to limiting your yoga sessions and stretching properly, you should also modify yoga poses to prevent a knee injury. Below are some techniques for modifying specific asanas to make them easier on your knees:

Support Your Seat in Hero Pose

While in hero pose, sitting on with a cushioned, folded blanket or putting a block between your feet helps to take some of the pressure off the knee joints. You may need to play around with the height and width of the blocks to find the best level of knee flexion that’s best for you. The main objective is to find a prop that’s most comfortable.

Sit on Blocks While in Garland or Squat Pose

Yogis with knee strain issues shouldn’t lower their hips below the knees while they squat. Instead, the best thing to do is to rely on the chair pose. An individual with uncomfortable knee pain can also move into a supported squat position by placing blocks on the lowest level—one on top of the other— to reduce pressure on the knees while in a squat pose.

Enhance Your Child’s Pose

Using a bolster can make the child’s pose easier for the knee. With the modified version, your head should turn to one side and arms can wrap around the top of the bolster. This alteration should significantly reduce knee strain.

Pigeon Pose on Your Back

Hip stretches are usually best to do before performing any poses that are potentially painful for your knees—especially kneeling or squatting positions. However, if you experience constant knee pain, weight-heavy hip stretches might put too much stress on knee joints. Instead of doing things the usual way, it’s better to do a supine hip opener.

Raise Your Knees While on All Fours

For many yogis, putting too much pressure on the patella is uncomfortable while in the cat or cow position. For a more comfortable position for your knees, place a folded blanket underneath your shins with your kneecaps slightly off of the blanket. Doing this should reduce knee strain as well.

Hold a Block Between Your Shins While in Chair Pose

Put a block right below your knees at its slimmest width. Doing this modification helps to ensure better alignment. To reduce knee pain, make sure your knees are in line with your middle toes.

Say Goodbye to Knee Pain

If you are someone who experiences uncomfortable knee strain during yoga, that’s a sign of a bigger problem. To combat this issue, let Revitalize Rehab Club help you. We specialize in a number of different services from rotational power and performance to vestibular rehabilitation.

With our expert therapists assisting you, your knee will feel better in no time. To schedule a phone interview, call us at 562-548-0876 or contact us online to fill out a consultation form.

We look forward to helping you feel better.