Intro: Knee injuries and leg pain are a reality you often have to accept if you’re a frequent runner or work in a labor-intensive field. Reparative exercise can help with this, especially yoga for knee pain. Stretches or yoga for knee injury can also aid in recovery after you’ve hurt your knee. These 10 yoga poses will help show both how to strengthen knees and stop knee pain.
1. Mountain Pose
This beginner level pose is a staple in any yoga routine. Also called Tadasana, it strengthens legs, ankles, and core muscles, improving posture. By grounding through the feet and lengthening the spine, it fosters a sense of stability, calm, and mindfulness. This is a great position to try if you’re new to yoga and want to test the waters. It’s a foundational pose that will help you build body awareness.
2. Chair Pose
Out of all the yoga stretches out there, the chair pose is another easy, yet effective pose. To try it yourself, start out in mountain formation. Then, raise your arms overhead, and exhale, bending your knees as if sitting in a chair. Keep your knees over your ankles and weight in your heels. Hold for 30 seconds, or however long is comfortable.
3. Warrior Pose
The warrior pose, also called Virabhadrasana, is one of the more common yoga stretches for legs. This pose can be pretty challenging, but it’s very beneficial for strengthening the thigh muscles and opening the hips. This is a standing pose that focuses on both the upper and lower body.
4. Warrior Pose II
This pose is similar to the previous, but it offers more intense knee stretches and opening of the hips. The instructions are fairly simple. You start by assuming the warrior pose, before positioning your hips and shoulders off to the side. Next, you’ll extend your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Hold for a minute, then you’ve done it!
5. Bridge Pose
Kneeling poses like the bridge pose strengthens your thighs, glutes, and lower back. The steps on this pose are also straightforward. Begin by lying on your back, before bending your knees and placing your feet hip-width apart flat on the mat. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down. Then, inhale as you press through your feet, engaging your glutes and lifting your hips toward the ceiling. Remember to breathe deeply as you hold the pose as long as you’re able.
6. Extended Triangle Pose
Utthita Trikonasana, commonly known as extended triangle pose, is a versatile yoga posture that benefits your whole body. It’s also excellent for releasing tension in your knees and whole body by stretching the inner thighs and opening the hips. As an added bonus, the pose also stretches the spine, strengthens the back muscles, and even engages the abdominal muscles. yoga exercises like the extended triangle pose are a bit trickier to pull off. If you’re a beginner, you might try simpler yoga for leg pain first.
7. Garland Pose
The Garland position is another one of the kneeling poses that involve deep squatting. Here’s how you can do this pose yourself. First, start in a mountain pose. Bend your knees and lower your hips toward the floor. Keep your heels on the mat as much as possible. Next, spread your knees apart wider than your torso. Press your elbows against the inside of your knees, bringing your palms together in a prayer position. Use your elbows to gently open your knees wider. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute, taking deep, intentional breaths.
8. Child’s Pose
This pose promotes relaxation, stress reduction, and gentle stretching. This makes it a great beginner exercise. It primarily targets the back, hips, and thighs, alleviating tension and improving flexibility. By folding forward and resting your forehead on the floor, Child’s Pose elongates your spine, releasing tension. While this pose is good for stretching the knees, it can make pain worse. Be sure to add padding like a rolled blanket between your knees-this makes the pose easier to pull off.
9. Hero Pose
Beginner yoga stretches like this one aim to stretch and strengthen the knees, ankles, and thighs. If you’re looking for a targeted way to energize your legs, the hero pose is a great option. To do this exercise, start on all fours. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and your toes pointed back. Next, bring your heels as close to your buttocks as you can. Sit down between your heels and place your palms on your knees. Hold the pose for as long as you feel comfortable before releasing, returning to a kneeling position.
10. Corpse Pose
Despite the morbid name, this is a helpful approach to yoga stretches for legs. This pose involves lying relaxed on the floor. This might seem simple, but even seasoned yoga practitioners struggle with this form of ultimate relaxation. To do the corpse pose, start by laying flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Close your eyes, focus, and let yourself sink into the mat. Simply stay in the pose as long as you feel comfortable. Some stay in the corpse pose for up to 10 minutes. This relaxing pose takes attention away from knee pain, allowing you to destress.
Want to learn more yoga poses? For more posts on athletic equipment, exercise, and yoga poses and stretches, check out the rest of Ninefit’s blog!