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Can You Do Yoga With Bad Knees

Hip And Upper Leg Poses

Yoga For Bad Knees | How To Exercise with Bad Knees at Home

When starting a brand new yoga practice, avoid poses that will put too much strain on the knees. Begin with simple poses, such as Tadasana and Uttanasana . Strengthen your quadriceps muscles with Virabhadrasana I and II . Work your hamstrings in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana , and be sure to keep your knees together to maximize the benefits out of this asana.

Yoga After Hip Replacement Surgery

A few orthopedic surgeons at HSS advise their patients to avoid yoga following due to the risk of hip dislocation, says Mironenko. Of course, you should always follow the advice of your physician. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk for this, and theres often no warning that a hip is about to dislocate, which makes it impossible to use pain or discomfort alone as a guide, she adds.

Once the soft tissues around the hip fully heal, many hip replacement patients get the green light to do yoga. Turning the hips too far in or out should be avoided to decrease any risk. Extending your leg too far forward or backward should also be avoided, Mironenko says. Again, talking about yoga poses and rotation directions with your surgeon may be tricky, so reviewing photos of poses on your phone can make it more clear.

Dislocations are rare and usually very patient-specific, but I strongly recommend that people avoid extreme actions of the hip in all directions, she says. I even recommend modifications in childs pose, or Balasana pose. Keeping the knees apart and supporting yourself with a bolster decreases hip flexion and internal rotation. An experienced yoga teacher can help you with modifications.


Is It Safe To Practice Yoga If You Have Knee Issues

Generally speaking, yesit is safe to practice, says Olivia Zurcher, a 200 RYT yoga instructor in Des Moines who had two ACL repairs after sustaining injuries while participating in collegiate cheerleading. However, it is critical to listen to your body, whether you are practicing at home or with an experienced teacher. If you are practicing at a studio with an instructor, inform your instructor about your injury, past or present. This is key to keeping yourself safe. This information also impacts the verbal cues and potential assists your teacher provides for class, she adds.

Our experienced trainers will keep you safe through your yoga workouts. Learn more here.

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Forcing Your Legs Into A Pose

If youre already prone to knee pain, certain asanas can put more strain and stress on these joints. If you feel unable to reach a certain position fully, stop. Do not try and manually press your leg or knee into that position. Dont deepen a pose if you experience any kind of pain or sensation of pressure in the knee.

My Experience With Knee Pain And Yoga

Best Knee Strengthening Yoga Poses: Yoga For People With ...

You can typically find me on a yoga mat surrounded by props , taking all the knee modifications, and sometimes altogether avoiding postures that I deem too much on the knees.


And while playing it safe is exceptionally great to avoid injury, I think we can do ourselves a disservice by staying within the safe container. Through years of knee insecurity, Ive learned to dismiss whats not good for me, bypassing the opportunity to ask why, learn more, and understand the body mechanics of my knees.

I gave up on my knees, two incredibly complex structures that support my everyday habits, totally dismissed, categorized and contained to I have bad knees, cant, wont, dont you dare make me do that.

Thats why I designed this yoga sequence as a way to educate on how to safely soothe knee pain and strengthen our knees with yoga.

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Things To Consider When Returning To Yoga After Knee Surgery

The basic indicator of how easily you can get up and down from the floor is a good place to start with when considering what yoga poses you can and cannot do.


Post-op alignment in yoga is very important when returing to your yoga practice to prevent recurrence of any knee issues. Avoid torque forces through the knee joint which will affect the cement in the joint . Its important that you keep your toes and knees tracking in the same direction in poses such as Warrior 1 and Goddess.

Stacking the joints from the base up in standing poses will not only help prevent future knee issues but will also give you more stability in your standing poses. Remember to pull back from poses such as Warrior 2 until you feel that you have the strength to go deeper, and try to avoid passing the knee beyond the ankle.

Contrary to what you may think though, kneeling is problematic but not necessarily injurious to the new knee. Using props such as blankets or cushions under your knee when doing poses performed on all fours may help ease any discomfort. Be conscious of when the right time to perform poses in which youre on your knees is, such as Camel pose. And remember that often the pose can be taken standing up or cross-legged as a variation if you find that youre putting too much weight on your knees for comfort.

Yoga Vs Pilates Vs Barre For Knee Issues

Many readers have asked me this question because there are so many of us with bad knees! I have seen people in yoga classes I have taken that really struggle getting onto the ground because they have had knee replacements, arthritis in the knees, or their knees are just worn out. Well, you DONT have to be stuck getting onto the ground to workout.

If you are a yoga lover, I recommend switching to chair yoga if you have bad knees. My mom has been teaching chair yoga for seven years, and she has great tips for seniors with bad knees. She recommends doing all things in a chair to minimize bending down onto the ground. If anyone would like a post from my mom, she has some amazing knowledge. Let me know!


Pilates is one of the best workouts for bad joints in general, but the reformer is really the best for that. Mat Pilates is very challenging, but it is an option for home workouts. I would say that the reformer is probably the most gentle and easiest for bad knees. Pilates from home on a mat is going to be a little more difficult for knees.

Barre from home is a great option for bad knees or bad joints in general. Many Barre workouts dont even requiring sitting down onto the ground! I have collected some good videos below for that.

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Yoga And Exercise With Knee Pain: Dos And Donts

Yoga poses are actually taken for the betterment of your mental and physical well being. The various yoga poses are immensely beneficial for an individuals health. However, some yoga poses can be very hard on the body of an individual. Individuals with knee painshould take into account certain poses which may harm their knees. There are many poses which require the knees to be flexible and some other poses require the knees to be able to carry the total body weight. People with knee injury should avoid such poses as this can lead to complications. Therefore, it is very essential that one knows which poses an individual with knee joint pain should avoid. This will help him/her to strengthen his/her knees and will not cause much distress. Read through to know what all you should avoid if you suffer from knee pain:

Gender And Knee Injuries In Yoga

YOGA FOR SENSITIVE KNEES | Hatha Yoga for Bad Knees | Knee-Friendly Yoga | Stronger Knees Yoga

From our previous survey post on gender and yoga experience, remember we saw that:


We did find a small relationship between gender and reporting a knee injury . Men were more likely than women to have reported a knee injury from yoga. Of total practitioners who had experienced an injury, 37% of men and 20% of women reported a knee injury. Specifically, knee injuries were likely to have occurred in a posture that included half-lotus or lotus. Again there was a small difference in experience by gender . Of total practitioners who had experienced an injury, 22% of men and 10% of women reported an injury in a posture including a half-lotus or lotus.

An interesting question that comes up when I look at this discrepancy by gender, is, why are men hurting their knees more often in general and in lotus specifically?

Is it related to gender differences in pelvic anatomy? Is it related to men being encouraged to play sports more often and from an earlier age?is this contributing to more men coming to yoga practice with tight hips? Is it attitudes in practice? Are there more men practicing aggressively or not listening to signals from their body to stop? Is it something else? Is it all of the above?

These are all interesting questions and not ones that I have any answers to. Id love to hear from you in the comments.

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Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose

This stretch is my go-to when my sciatica starts to scream at me. I drop down, get my twist on, and quickly relax that uncomfortable sensation.

If you suffer from sciatica, check out these 5 Yoga Poses to Soothe Your Sciatica

And lucky for me , this yoga pose also helps relieve knee pain by stretching the outer hips and bringing them back into alignment. How to practice this pose:

  • Do this pose at 50-75% your capacity its a restorative twist, so keep it gentle
  • Use your hands or the crux of your elbow to hold the knee into the chest
  • Stay for ten breaths and repeat on the other side

Optional yoga prop: Yoga Block

We will seal our knee pain yoga practice with Virasana . This is a pose thats a true challenge for this chronic knee pain yogi, but one that I thoroughly enjoy when I have a block nearby. How to practice this pose:


  • Start seated with your knees hip-width distance apart
  • Place the block on your desired height between the feet
  • Relax your hips back and rest atop the block, allowing the knees, quadriceps, and ankles to experience a stretch here
  • If its too intense, you can try tucking your toes for added support
  • Still too intense? Honor your body and come out of the pose you can always revisit it after youve practiced the rest of this sequence a few times
  • Stay for a minute to seal your practice, dropping into relaxed inhalations and exhalations

Exercises Based On What Caused The Knee Pain

Knowing whats going on inside the knee joint is paramount to determining the best exercises to perform. If inflammation is the root cause of your knee pain, two of the best activities would be yoga and water aerobics.

Pain Caused by Inflammation / Osteoarthritis

Inflammation and arthritis are often a result of old injuries or, unfortunately, getting older. With this type of pain, you want to stretch the joint muscles and keep them limber and loose. Do this with as low an impact on the knee joint as possible. Low-impact activities will help to reduce the inflammation and thus the pain.

  • yoga: Deep, slow stretching exercises, yoga puts minimal impact force on the knee. Even better, it also stretches the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the knee. Yoga keeps them limber and reduces inflammation. Reduced inflammation reduces pain.
  • Water Aerobics: Any type of exercise done in the water is excellent for the knee. The natural flotation of the water means that there is minimal or no impact forces on the knee.

Pain Caused by Lifestyle

Its not just sitting that causes bad knees its standing, working, lifting, and repetitive movements. Move your knees into positions contrary to the those youre using all day and give them the stretching and mobility they need to stay healthier.

Pain Caused by Acute Injury

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One Of The Best Antidotes

Whether youre out to guard against injury and disease or regain strength and flexibility after an injury, yoga can be a superb antidote to knee trouble. Yoga is fantastic for the knees, especially for people recovering from damaged ligaments, says Michael Salveson, who has worked on dozens of yoga students during his 33-year tenure as a Rolfer in Berkeley, California. Yoga increases the stabilizing action of the legs big muscles. When the inner and outer quadriceps are equally strong, he adds, they exert an equal pull on the ligaments, which keeps the kneecap in alignment.

Sandy Blaine is a good example. As a teenager, she enjoyed dance and gymnastics. By her early 20s, shed dislocated both knees on several occasions. Searching for a low-impact way to stabilize her joints, Blaine tried Iyengar Yoga when she was 26. She was initially surprised by the disciplines difficulty, yet what impressed her more was how remarkably good she felt afterward. Within six months of attending two to three Iyengar classes a week, Blaine found that her knee pain had vanished. Today, at 42, she still sounds as if she cant believe her knees are pain-free, calling the result an absolute miracle.

I was looking at a lifetime of being very constrained, says Blaine, who is now an instructor at the Yoga Room in Berkeley and regularly conducts workshops on yoga and knee health. Regaining healthy knees was an incredible relief, she adds.

How To Start Doing Yoga When You Have Arthritis

Yoga Modifications for Bad Knees

The first thing you should do is meet with your doctor to make sure that yoga is compatible with your condition since arthritis can affect joints in different ways. Dr. Steffany Moonaz, a trained yoga therapist and one of the authors of the above-mentioned study, advises beginners against trying to start a yoga practice on their own.

“If at all possible, seek out a private lesson with a yoga therapist who can offer an individualized program for your specific needs and limitations,” Dr. Moonaz recommends. Moonaz’s own organization, Yoga for Arthritis, is an excellent resource for finding specially trained teachers. If private classes are not an option, a gentle class for beginners is a good place to start. Call around to yoga studios in your area ahead of time, describe your arthritis, and ask for information about their teachers. There are so many different styles of yoga and types of teacher-training programs that yoga teachers’ expertise varies greatly. You need to find a teacher who is knowledgeable enough to offer you modifications when necessary. Senior centers that offer yoga are another place to investigate since osteoarthritis is more common in the elderly.

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Practice Context: When Are Knee Injuries In Yoga Occurring

We found a small association between knee injuries in yoga and stage of the pose that the practitioner was in, as well as between lotus injuries and stage of the posture. Knee injuries in yoga were just as likely to occur when entering a posture as when holding a posture . Knee injuries were more likely than other types of injuries to occur when entering a posture. Similarly, injuries in postures with a half-lotus or lotus were actually more likely to occur when entering the posture than when holding the posture .

We also found a small association between the version of the pose and lotus injuries specifically . Of those who reported an injury in a posture including a lotus, 87% were doing the full expression of the pose when they were injured. There was no relationship between version of the pose that a practitioner was doing and knee injuries in yoga in general.

In the case of each of these relationships, the effect size was small, indicating that while there is a relationship, it is not a particularly strong one.

There were also a number of contextual situations that had no relationship to reporting a knee injury or an injury in lotus. This means that respondents were just as likely to have one type of experience as another for each of these variables. For example, respondents were equally likely to have experienced knee injuries in yoga that built up over time as one that happened all of a sudden with no warning.

Ignoring An Injured Knee

If your knee feels sore, give your workout a rest for a few days. Elevate and ice it as needed. Apply a warm compress if need be. Get rid of any inflammation and swelling before restarting your yoga session . Pushing yourself to carry on through pain and swelling is a recipe for disaster. If the pain and discomfort dont abate or if you suspect the injury is serious, please contact a doctor right away.

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Yoga Poses To Avoid If You Have Bad Knees

Although yoga is great for injured and non-injured individuals, some poses should be modified if you have and knees or a knee injury. Childs Pose, Hero Pose, One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, Yogi Squat and Bound Angle Pose should all be modified for bad knees because of the strain that is put on your knees.

You dont want to cause future injuries. Luckily with each yoga poses there is, a modification exists. These poses can still be done if you have bad knees, just be sure to do the modified versions.

Dont Just Focus On The Knee Itself

Yoga for Bad Knees

One of the key factors in using yoga as part of the therapeutic process after a knee replacement is that youre not just bringing your focus to the knee itself. Strengthening all the muscles that cross the knee will greatly help towards a successful recovery. This means working with the whole area from the hips down to the feet to make them stronger in their supporting role.

Strengthening your quadriceps and hamstrings will be highly beneficial, as these are often weakened in surgery and recovery. And if you have tight hips or hamstrings make sure that you modify the pose to allow these areas to properly open and stabilise, preventing strain on or incorrect movement patterns in the knees.

Standing poses if carried out mindfully can help to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, but make sure you take them slowly and pay special attention to alignment. If taken in small steps these standing poses will help maximise a full range of motion in the knee. Any poses that require deep flexion of the knees can be propped or you can use a chair or wall to help take some of the weight out of the pose or avoid these poses altogether whilst recovering. Poses that strengthen the hips and ankles will help to further stabilise the knee joint.

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