Here's The Best Yoga Poses: Benefits And Steps To Follow
Knee pain: Causes and benefits of yoga | man doing yoga

Knee pain: Causes and benefits of yoga

Yoga for Knee Pain

Common causes of knee pain

Chronic knee pain is on the rise all over the world. In an analysis, researchers noted a marked rise in the number of knee replacements and people with knee pain over a period of 20 years, due at least in part to osteoporosis and other conditions.

Strangely enough, the issue usually isn’t about the knee itself. Because it’s a joint, it’s impacted by the muscles surrounding it, including the quads, hamstrings, and calves.

The knee never acts in isolation due to the way the soft structure of the cartilage is designed.

Other typical culprits of knee pain include injury to a ligament (like a torn ACL), weak quads or hamstrings, or a chronic condition like tendonitis.

Or you can blame your job as well: Sitting at a desk all day can make imbalances in your body by weakening your butt muscles. It's advised to see a doctor or physical therapist to find out what’s causing the particular pain.

Benefits of yoga for knee pain

Various specific yoga poses can help provide relief, as we’ll explore below. Studies show that people with knee pain can get some much-needed relief by doing yoga a few times a week.

In 2013  researchers closely worked with 30 women who had problems with knee osteoarthritis. Of which half were assigned to a group for an 8-week yoga program for the cause. By the end of their research, they found out that their symptoms and associated pain had decreased considerably more than the other half of the group of people. 

Other in-depth research contains six studies on yoga's effects on osteoarthritis. In these studies, researchers found out that people experienced effective pain relief and functional improvement as early as a period of 2 weeks after regularly getting involved with yoga. So researchers concluded here that yoga could be an effective cure for relieving pain and improving overall mobility.

Some more recent studies have found that yoga is among the best treatment options for natural knee pain relief methods, alongside other traditional methods like tai chi, knee cap for knee pain and massage therapy.

While this is very exciting news, some other research has also found out that there are also certain yoga poses that can be quite stressful on your knees. On the other hand, lunging and squatting postures can effectively improve your leg strength and can minimise your knee adduction which is the inward movement of your knees that’s a symptom associated with osteoarthritis.

If you have sharp knee pain, it’s very important for you to practise with awareness and stabilise your knee's movement by effectively contracting the major muscles around them. Also, it is a very good idea to do these poses under an experienced fitness instructor or the trainer you trust fully and let them supervise your exercise sessions.

Some Of The Best Yoga Poses To Cure Knee Pain

It is very important that your yoga teacher knows about any injuries or concerns you are having before your exercise class starts. 

Also be sure that if a pose doesn’t feel good to you or it causes pain, or gives you a sharp pain or sensation in your patella that is the kneecap, avoid it immediately. Try out this yoga for leg pain:

1. The Chair Pose

Stand straight with your legs and feet together and your chest lifted in front. Now sit back and down as you are sitting on a chair. Sometimes beginners may find it difficult and need some support for stability which is completely okay. Keep your weight in your heels then raise your arms.

The perk here is:

Your complete weight is put into the hip sockets to ensure that your knees should not inch out in front of the toes. Also, this move is for toning your whole body and strengthening your thighs, hips, and calves, which makes your knee function much better.

2. The Peaceful Warrior Pose

Step up the right foot forward with your toes pointing completely straight. Then turn up your left toes to 45 degrees to the side and then extend your arms out with your palms facing up straight. Now bend your right knee at an approx 90-degree angle by keeping it in line with your ankle.

It is important to place the back of your left hand on the left leg and arch back as much as you can by reaching your right arm overhead and then towards the back of the mat, pointing towards the ceiling. 

The perk here is:

This pose very effectively strengthens up your quads, glutes, and hamstrings and all of the muscles that help you in keeping your knee in a good shape. 

3. The Bridge Pose

Lie with your face up and your knees bent. Keep your feet on the floor approx shoulder-width apart, and your arms should be down at your sides. Now engage up your glutes and push through your heels to lift up your body completely off the floor, so that you are now resting up on your shoulders.

The perk here is:

This exercise is a great pose for strengthening your glutes and the hamstring. Also, it works quite well with the IT band. 

4. The High Lunge Pose

Stand at the front of your mat. Now step on your left foot back into the lunge, bending your right leg for about 90 degrees. Now raise up your arms straight up towards the ceiling and try to look forward. If in case your hamstrings are quite tight, then micro bend the back leg. 

The perk here is:

This pose strengthens your calves, glutes and quads, and calves in a quite stable position. The balancing aspect of it further strengthens all of such muscles that are used to support your knees.

Modification Of Some Yoga poses For Healing Knee Pain

There are some exercises for leg pain yoga that are not quite friendly for your knees. Here are some ways to modify these several poses that tension up the joints.

1. Camel Pose

Kneel down on your mat by keeping your knees at least shoulder-width distance. Now reach out to the back and place your hands on the bottoms of your feet after it arches back into the backbend and also lets the head fall back gazing at the back wall.

The problem here is:

This position puts a lot of direct pressure on your knees, which can harm anyone with a history of unstable knees.

Way to fix it:

You must kneel on a mat or blanket that is rolled up.

2. Hero Pose

Kneel down on the mat. Now take your knees out wide and now push your feet out to your sides to sit between the heels by leaning back as much as possible.

The problem here is:

This pose is in a very extreme position for your knees, as it completely stretches your medial ligaments.

Way to fix it: 

To ease it out you can sit on a yoga block for yoga or can place a blanket or yoga mat above the calves.

3. Twisted Triangle Pose

First, stand with your feet more than your hip width. Now point your left toe forward and the right toes turn out to an angle of  45 degrees. Reach your right arm down to the floor outside your left foot. Now twist up your torso to reach your left arm up toward the ceiling.

The problem here is: 

This pose is actually a double whammy in a way as your front leg is completely locked up straight with your back hip turned out, which can pressure up your knee.

Way to fix it: 

You can place your front foot parallel to your back foot.

Best exercise for knock knees in yoga

Knock knees are usually the misalignment of knees. Some of the exercises you can try for knock knees are:

  • Butterfly flutters
  • Side lunges
  • Cycling
  • Sumo squats
  • Leg raises

Some foods for knee strengthening 

  • Cherries
  • Red Peppers
  • Canned Salmon
  • Oatmeal
  • Turmeric
  • Walnuts
  • Kale

Takeaway

If you’ve got knee pain, you might be leery of contorting yourself into a pretzel — but the research shows that the right type of yoga can have significant benefits for people dealing with knee pain. In fact, several poses specifically target the knees for relief, while other poses can be easily modified to spare your joints. You can also opt for some knee pain home remedies and the best food for knee strength.

Keep in mind that robust yoga practice doesn’t happen instantly or overnight. You can work your way with your comfort levels. And if it hurts, it’s time to modify or stop it.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Which asana should be avoided in knee pain?

In the knees, hyperextension often happens in poses in which the legs are straightened, like Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), putting unhealthy tension on your ligaments.

2. Is Surya namaskar good for knee pain?

People suffering from knee pain are advised to practice Yoga poses which help keep their joints flexible and Surya namaskar is one of the best poses, which helps you keep the joints moving.

3. How can I protect my knees during yoga?

  • Don't completely flex your knees. 
  • Prevent knee rotation at all times. 
  • Keep your kneecaps off the floor. 
  • Watch your stances. 
  • Don't squat too low. 
  • Use a block to align your knees.

References

1. Effects of Hata Yoga on Knee Osteoarthritis

2. Effects of a Yoga Program on Postural Control, Mobility, and Gait Speed in Community-Living Older Adults