Show your knees some love with these yoga poses.
Our knees are a crucial joint that we constantly rely on for movement– not just in yoga, but in everyday life. With that in mind, it’s important to know how to protect our knees while practicing yoga. Some key things to remember are 1) always rotate at the hip when transitioning between postures, and 2) always make sure the weight of your body is in the correct place while holding poses.
The yoga poses below will show you how to engage your leg muscles and keep excess pressure off your knees, thus protecting those knee joints!
By Jessie Wren
In Warrior 1 pose, it is important to keep your front knee bent directly over your ankle. By shifting your weight forward into your toes, you are putting your ankle and knee joint at risk. Since your front leg is bent, weight should be distributed to your front heel.
Some practitioners tend to lean back in this posture to take some weight out of the front working leg, and when you do this, your lower back is at risk. Try to learn forward to bring engagement into your abs. Your back knee is also at risk if the back leg is not straight.
Since the front knee is bent in this posture, weight should be distributed more toward the heel of the front foot. By shifting your weight forward into your front toes, you are putting your ankle and knee joint at risk.
If your knee is not inline with your second toe, the ligaments in your knee are at risk. Make sure your front knee is not caving in toward the midline. The back leg should be straight to protect the knee. Your lumbar spine is at risk if you arch the lower back – to avoid this, gently tuck your tailbone and keep your abdomen engaged.
Triangle pose is something that yogis will practice in most yoga classes. Therefore, it is important to know how to safely align and hold this posture.
If your front foot is not facing forward, the ankle is at risk. The front toes should face straight ahead. People tend to collapse on the outer ankle of the front foot, so make sure you are pressing down through your front big toe, which also helps prevent hyperextension in the front knee.
Most practitioners don’t think about their knee joint in Pigeon pose because there is no pressure on the knee. However, the knee is a common injury in this pose because it is easily forgotten, and the knee tends to rotate when you begin lowering your torso toward the floor.
If your front ankle is not engaged, the ligaments in your knee are at risk. You want to engage the muscles around the knee to protect these ligaments. Your lower back is also at risk if you feel dumping in the lower spine. If your hips are off the mat, put a block or blanket under the straight leg so there is no strain on the hip flexors.
Garudasana not only opens up your knee joints; it also activates your ankles, wrists, hips and shoulders. Eagle pose strengthens the knees since it is impossible to hyperextend in this pose.
Your ankle is at risk if your front foot is not balanced. You can balance the front foot by pressing down through all four corners.
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All images courtesy of Jessie Wren/YogiApproved.com.