Beginning yoga practice especially if you have knee pain can be strenuous since it involves all sorts of bends and stretches.
You might find the thought of stretching, crouching, bending and kneeling not so appealing to your body and this leaves you wondering whether yoga is the best exercise for you.
However, although some yoga poses can be stressful on the knee, some postures such as lunging and squatting can improve the knee strength and minimize knee pain considerably.
Therefore, a beginner with bad knees should ensure that they practice yoga with awareness in order to contract the muscles around the knees to stabilize them.
What are some of the tips for yoga beginners with bad knees?
Beginner Tips for Practicing Yoga with Bad Knees
1. Choose your yoga pose wisely
The yoga posture you chose can have healing or damaging effects on your knees. Some of the advisable yoga poses include;
- Supported chair pose
This pose will strengthen the abductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
In addition, it will increase blood flow to the lower parts of your body which will help with movements of fluids.
To avoid straining your knees, you should practice the chair pose with the wall as your support.
- Supported Half Moon Pose
This position is very important at building the muscles around the knees and strengthening the hamstrings without stressing it.
- Mountain pose
Mountain pose will improve alignment, get you warmed up and help to strengthen your knees and thighs.
- Supported warrior 1
To boost knee joint mobility and relieve any pain, you should do supported warrior 1 posture.
Although it involves supporting your body weight with your core muscles and legs, you can use the wall as a support to avoid straining your knee joints.
- Triangle pose
This position will help to draw your kneecap into alignment as well as help to stretch your inner thigh muscles.
- Tree pose
Although this posture is a bit challenging for beginners, it is effective in reducing knee pain.
At first, it might seem difficult to balance your body on one leg but with practice, you should be able to maintain balance and benefit from this yoga posture.
Ensure that you breathe and engage your muscles as you exercise.
- Butterfly pose
Try basic sited yoga poses such as the butterfly pose in order to treat or improve certain conditions such as osteoarthritis in your knees.
2. Yoga poses to avoid
To avoid injuring your knee more, avoid poses that might cause more harm than good. Some of them include;
- Camel pose
This position will put a lot of pressure on the knees which is not good for any person with a bad or unstable knee.
- Twisted triangle
The twisted triangle can put lateral sheer forces on the knee since the front leg is locked out straight while the back hip is turned out.
- Lotus pose
This position will harm your knee more since it requires a lot of motion and rotation from the knee, hip and ankle joints from both legs.
It is very difficult on the knees and most especially on the knee that is on top.
It can be a major cause of knee pain and other related complications.
- Extended hand to big toe pose
Avoid this position since there are high chances of overextending the knee with this posture. In addition, it is not advisable to lock the knees in any position.
- Hero pose
This position is not good for your knees since it stretches the medial collateral ligaments causing more damage to the bad knee.
3. Build up your muscles slowly
If you are a beginner, try out simple yoga postures such as Tree Pose and Mountain Pose which might help to strengthen your knees slowly.
Ensure that you build your muscles slowly since too much pressure on them can do more harm than good.
In addition, you should ensure that you exercise the hips, thighs, hamstrings among other body parts in order to protect the knees from the impact of body weight on them.
4. Provide extra cushioning
To reduce the pressure you are exerting on your knees, you should ensure that you provide extra cushioning or practice on a soft surface.
For instance, when doing poses such as the Tiger, cat or cow, you can use a soft blanket or two mats for extra thickness.
When your knee is comfortable, there are few risks of getting hurt.
5. Align properly
Aligning your body appropriately is important to avoid injuring your knees.
For instance, when doing the Warrior pose, ensure that you bend your front knee in such a way that it doesn’t overshoot past your toes.
Spread your feet further or roll them slightly outwards for more comfort.
Ensure that you build up the inner muscles and be mindful of your knees when carrying out postures such as the mountain and warrior pose
6. Be patient with your body
Remember that your body is not a machine – don’t overdo the practice.
Focus on developing muscle control and building stability in your legs by practicing balancing poses such as the chair pose or tree pose against the wall.
During the early stages of practice, avoid doing deep and strenuous poses such as the pigeon.
Remember the results are not instant – give your body time to react positively.
7. Focus on your breathing
When beginning, ensure that you take short breaths which will increase as you progress.
In addition, to ensure that you benefit from spiritual and mental healing, focus on breathing only through your nose and not your mouth.
Yoga is not all about poses – it also involves spiritual and emotional healing as you practice.
Do you know that unattended joint pain can lead to serious knee conditions such as osteoarthritis, inflammation and the general weakness of muscles that support the joint?
You should, therefore, give it your best in terms of your mind and body in order to benefit from the practice.
In addition to practicing yoga, you should take note of the cause of the bad knee in order to avoid reoccurrence of the same problem.
Yoga is the ultimate form of exercise for knees because of other than its physical benefits, it heals at a spiritual and mental level.
The philosophy behind the yoga poses works in a magical way to train the mind to think positively.
This way, you develop courage, inner strength and willpower to help you conquer challenges in your life happily.
Don’t wait any longer – yoga for beginners with bad knees is the way to go. Focus, practice and enjoy the lifetime benefits of yoga.
All the best!