Yoga for Knee Problems

At some point, most out­door enthu­si­asts expe­ri­ence knee pain. In anato­my, the knee is a sta­ble joint, with min­i­mal range of motion. In out­door pur­suits, the knee is sus­cep­ti­ble to pain main­ly due to “ground reac­tion forces” (when a run­ner strikes his foot, or a hik­er treks down slope, forces are trans­ferred up the leg and “shock” the joint). Work­ing your knees like this over time and with­out main­te­nance leads to chron­ic pain. Yoga strength­ens and length­ens the tis­sues and mus­cles that con­nect the knee to the ankle and hip. Below are yoga pos­es that reduce knee pain. Hold each posi­tion for 30–60 sec­onds.


War­rior II
Pur­pose: Strength­ens leg mus­cles
How to Per­form: Stand with legs three to four feet apart. Turn your right foot for­ward and kick your left heel out slight­ly so the foot faces “inward.” Inhale, raise arms to shoul­der height and exhale bend your right knee toward a 90-degree angle. Repeat on the oppo­site side.


Stand­ing For­ward Bend Strad­dle
Pur­pose: Length­ens the Pos­te­ri­or Chain (gluteal, ham­string and calf) mus­cles
How to Per­form: Stand with legs three to four feet apart. Keep toes for­ward. Inhale, raise arms over­head. Exhale, fold for­ward to reach the hands toward the floor. If the hands do not touch, place hands on a yoga block or on your legs. Hold the posi­tion and keep breath flow­ing into the lungs.


Tri­an­gle
Pur­pose: Strength­ens leg mus­cles while open­ing hips and inner thighs.
How to Per­form: Stand with legs three to four feet apart. Turn your right foot for­ward and kick your left heel out slight­ly so the foot faces inward. Inhale, raise arms to shoul­der height and exhale place the hands on the shin, foot or floor. Raise the left arm over the chest and shoul­der. Hold and repeat on the oppo­site side.


Dancer’s Pose
Pur­pose: Chal­lenges bal­ance, which sta­bi­lizes inner and out­er thigh mus­cles while open­ing the quadri­ceps and hip flex­or mus­cles of the oppos­ing leg.
How to Per­form: Stand tall with feel hip dis­tance apart. Grab the inside right foot near the inner-arch. Slow­ly hinge from the hip, lift the left arm up and push the right foot upward to open and length­en the leg, shoul­der and chest.


Supine Hand to Foot Pose
Pur­pose: Deeply length­ens pos­te­ri­or chain mus­cles
How to Per­form: Lie on your back and with a yoga strap or tow­el place the rope over the right ball of the foot. Keep the left leg flat on the floor. Reach the right foot up toward the ceil­ing with the leg over the hip, or to a point where a stretch is felt. Hold and repeat on the oppo­site leg.


Supine Pigeon Pose
Pur­pose: Opens hip exter­nal rota­tors
How to Per­form: Lie on your back with feet flat on the ground. Cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Lift the left knee to 90-degrees and hold the left ham­strings with your left hand and apply slight pres­sure on the right inner thigh with the right hand. Hold and repeat on the oppo­site leg.