When I first started practicing yoga, I was coming into it after six years of aerobic activity. My knees and hips suffered the consequences from repeated injury from impact and as I progressed in my practice,some of the yoga poses hurt my knees. I incorporated modifications, alternative poses, and even the use of props in my practice. I was able to feel the pose while simultaneously healing and strengthening my knees.
Having bad knees shouldn’t keep you from your yoga mat. If you experience or have knee problems, chose a slow, alignment-based style of yoga such as Iyengar or Hatha yoga and ask your teacher prior to class about modifications you could do. Taking care of your knees in yoga will help you enjoy your practice more and move around more happily in your world. Yoga strengthens the muscles in the lower and upper legs, which protects and stabilizes the knee joint. Performed correctly, yoga’s fluid movements allow swollen or otherwise painful joints to glide smoothly over one another, increasing mobility and strength without excess wear and tear. Yoga is a safe alternative to weight-bearing exercises that could worsen knee joints because yoga strengthens the muscles around them, which reduces tension and increases mobility.
5 tips to counter knee pain:
1. Don’t disregard pain
This may also seem very obvious, but actually it isn’t. Many of us suffer through a lot of things when it comes to our exercise. A good rule for the knees is no pain. When you practice yoga, you should not feel pain in your knees. You should feel no little “twitch”, nor do you want to feel pain in the front of the knee, under the kneecap, or deep inside the knee. If you do feel pain, you need to stop, realign, and try again. Sometimes, you may not get a pain during a pose; you may feel pain in the knee afterward, or the next day. This could be a sign that you have overworked your knee, or have been out of alignment. Remember it the next time you practice.