Everybody has a different reason for getting into yoga, ranging from stress relief to weight loss, but some people start practicing yoga because they have very specific pain in very specific areas and they believe these exercises can help. Take, for example, knee pain, which according to Catherine Guthrie of the Yoga Journal affects over 11 million Americans every year. If yoga can help, why not give it a shot?
Four Yoga Poses Focusing on Knee Strength
There are certain poses that can help strengthen knees and relieve the pain that affects so many people, but they need to be performed efficiently and effectively to have the intended consequence. There is no question that certain poses can be pretty hard on the knees, but the following will serve to strengthen the knees (and other areas) if practiced enough:
One of the first and most rudimentary poses most yoga students will learn, this one is ideal because it keeps a student’s weight in their heels and hip sockets rather than the knees, while also adding strength in the hips, thighs and calves, all of which work together to take pressure off of the knees. The stronger those other muscles are, the less work the knees have to do on a daily basis.
Peaceful Warrior Pose
This pose, which has the student step one foot forward, toes straight, with the other foot turned 90 degrees to the side, includes a pretty significant lunge. While reaching with one arm overhead and looking to the ceiling, a person will feel the pull in their hamstrings, their quads, and their rear ends. Once again, these are leg muscles that, when strengthened, remove stress on the knees since they will be doing more of the work.
In lying face-up, knees bent and shoulders bearing most of the body weight, yoga practicers are able to work a lot of the aforementioned muscles as well as the IT band, which runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to just below the knee. This elastic connective tissue often is the source of nagging knee pain, especially in runners, and the bridge pose works to stretch and strengthen the IT band to relieve some of the pain people feel in their knees.
High Lunge Pose
Like any lunge, the high lunge pose is going to work just about every muscle and joint in the leg. This one also involves raising the hands toward the ceiling, leaving the legs to do all the work. One tip in using this pose is to allow a slight bend in the back leg to relieve some of the tension in the knee. If knee pain is the issue, then locking that back knee won’t do any favors. A little bit of slack still allows for all that strengthening in the leg muscles without putting as much tension on painful areas.
Here at YogaCoreFit, we are happy to help anyone put together a series of stretches to help with trouble areas, but these exercises can be especially great for those experiencing knee pain. Feeling relief there is about getting stronger in the areas that can take pressure off of the knees, and that is exactly what several yoga poses do.