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Yoga for Knee Pain

Do knee and hip issues limit your yoga practice or life full-stop?

You’re not alone!

Knee pain affects many of us, and can lead to restricted movement and stopping people from doing activities they enjoy.

Yoga can be a powerful tool for helping you maintain healthy and functional knees whilst preventing future problems. 

All you need to do is to modify your practice a little.  This is the subject of today’s blog post.

Before we jump into the poses, let’s understand the knee joint better. 

The knee joint sits between the ankle and hip joint and is influenced greatly by both.  Other factors we need to consider are:

  • Key muscle groups: Quads, hamstrings, hip adductors/abductors, shin muscles, calf muscles, foot muscles. All play a role in knee health.  I will show you a key yoga pose to balance these muscles out.
  • Fascia: Tightness in this connective tissue can contribute to knee pain. We can address this with self-massage.
  • Foot foundation: The way we stand on our feet is important.  An uneven weight distribution across the foot can affect leg and hip function. To help you work out if this is an issue for you I will talk you through the  “foot pyramid.”

Read on to learn 3 yoga therapy tools to help the above and beat knee pain

Yoga For Knee Pain

Fascial Release 

  • Why: Releases tightness in the fascial tissue surrounding key muscles.  Any tightness can pull on the knees causing discomfort.
  • How: Grab a tennis ball and place it under one foot (you can do this sitting down or standing up).  Gently roll the ball underfoot going from heel to ball making sure you get the whole foot.  You can also use a golf ball or any massage ball.  Do it for a minimum of 2 minutes   I love to foot roll whilst watching TV!
  • Upgrade: Roll glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and IT band with a foam roller regularly.

 

Check Your Foot Foundation:

  • Why: Proper foot usage impacts leg and hip function.  If you don’t stand evenly on your feet it affects how the muscles work together in the leg and pelvis.
  • How: Trace the “foot pyramid” (heel, big toe mound, little toe mound).  You can do this sitting.    Once familiar with the three points try to distribute your weight evenly between them.    Now try doing the same when standing.  Notice if you put more weight in one area of the foot than another.  Can you even it up?
  • Try this: Grab a couple of yoga bricks and place them side by side on the floor.  Stand on blocks with big toe mounds on the front and heels on the back.  Your arches will be in mid-air. Hold for a few minutes.  You will feel the arches activate in the feet and you will also get the legs and glutes working more in harmony with each other.  You will also feel the foot pyramid working. The challenge is to keep the feeling going after you have come off the blocks. Do this daily to improve your posture and foot-to-hip alignment.

The Best Yoga Pose To Beat Knee Pain

Many yoga poses help improve and potentially improve knee pain over time. Below is one of my favourite yoga therapy knee poses, Chair Pose

  • Why: Builds strength and balance in knees, hips, and feet.
  • How: Loop a belt around your shins, press into the foot pyramid, gently widen the shins, hinge from hips, and widen thighs while breathing deeply. Hold for several breaths.
  • Prefer to watch?:  see how to do it (and other variations of Chair Pose) in this practice video

Final Thoughts

Remember: Be gentle and patient! Knee pain won’t disappear overnight, but consistent practice can soothe and reduce it.

Bonus: Join my knee and hip workshop on April 20th. Click here to learn more and book.

 

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