Knees are delicate joints that need love and attention! If you have a knee injury, yoga can help strengthen the stabilizing muscles around the knee and can create space in the tendons and the muscles surrounding the area.
Yoga is one of the best physical practices you can do with any injury because it allows you to choose, to be with your body in each pose and say yes or no according to what you’re feeling in that moment. And, for every pose, there are multiple alternate poses you can do instead that still do the same things as all the other poses!
It’s like if you were to get a menu at the beginning of class and throughout your yoga meal, you can pick anything you like. This yoga menu has an infinite number of pages and can be added to at any moment by YOU, the yoga practitioner. You can even make poses up and add them to the menu.
For my menu for knee injuries, I like the do the following. As always, if anything feels painful instead of sensational, don’t do it! Pick another pose. Make something up. Lie in child’s pose or savasana and breathe. All yoga is good yoga.
- To strengthen the muscles around the knee in a soft and easy way, try chair pose. You choose how deeply you bend, you choose if adding a twist will feel good, and you will (without much effort) strengthen all the muscles and tendons around your knee joint by just using gravity.
- Instead of upright pigeon or baddhakonasana, try both poses while lying on your back. This will give you a choice in intensity. With pigeon, flex your foot, inhale deeply, then exhale and very gently pull your flexed foot towards the center of your chest. If it’s too much, push the foot away from your chest. With baddhakonasana, same thing but both feet are flexed and touching each other. Place hands around outside of feet and very gently pull the feet towards you.
- Standing balancing poses are superb for your knees. Standing pigeon, standing balance twist, tree pose, eagle, all make all the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your standing leg work together to create balance so no muscle is working too hard. All help each other and all strengthen everything surrounding the knee.
- Consider that your injury has given you the opportunity to strengthen other parts of your body like the arms, shoulders, and abdominals. Try downward dog at the wall with your hands on the mat and legs parallel to the ground for 5 breaths. Hold cobra for 3 breaths and feel your biceps and triceps working to keep you upright. Practice a pose you can do for twice as long as you usually would, and see how that changes things.
By Fae Leslie Hoffman; All Rights Reserved @2019