Yoga poses for knee pain relief

4 min read

I just spent two weeks skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho. I have pretty strong quads from all of my Warriors and standing poses in my yoga practice, but after hitting the bumps hard for days, I sure felt my knees.

Many of my students have had knee surgery or complain that they can’t perform certain poses. These postures will help you if you have bum knees or need to relieve knee pain. They can also help you with your everyday life.


Yoga can be very helpful for those with weak knees and pain in the knees. Certain postures can help strengthen and stabilize the muscles of the knee, including the vastus medialis muscle, which runs along the inner quadriceps and extends the leg. Yoga helps to stretch muscles that pull on the knee. This is mainly hip flexors and outer hips.

We are more aware and focused when we focus on our breath. This helps us to avoid over-stretching.

Each of these poses should be practiced three to four days a week. Hold each Pose for at least five breaths and stop if there is any discomfort or pulling in the knee.

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose can be a great posture to relieve knee pain. It teaches us to track our legs evenly and how to engage leg muscles in an isometric way.

Start by standing with your heels and big toes together. Stretch your fingers towards your toes while engaging your lower abdominal muscles. Take deep breaths and open your chest. Bring your attention to your feet. Spread your toes evenly and press them into the floor.

Imagine lifting your inner arch from the ankle to the knees. Lift your legs energetically above the kneecaps by engaging your quadriceps. If you feel your knees are locked, you can micro-bend them.

Draw the muscles up instead of squeezing your legs.

Triangle Pose

The triangle stretches the hips and hamstrings and strengthens the abdominals and quadriceps.

Open your legs one leg length apart on the mat, starting in Mountain Pose. Turn your right toe 90 degrees forward and your left foot 75 degrees. Place your hand on the upper thigh or leg or the ankle, shin, and upper thigh of your right leg.

Bring your hips back into space and imagine you are between two narrow walls. Draw up the inner thigh and kneecaps by actively engaging the legs. Switch sides after holding five to eight deep breaths.

Warrior II

Warrior poses par, particularly Warrior II, are safe for people who have knee problems. Warrior II is a great way to strengthen and stabilize your knee.

Stand sideways with your legs at least three feet apart or the length of your leg. Turn your right toe 90 degrees and your left toe 75 degrees. Your right knee should be directly above your right ankle.

You can use your leg muscles and keep the knee in place. Keep bringing your knee towards the side of your foot where the pinky toe is. As you hold this Pose for 8 to 10 breaths, the quadriceps and inner thighs will be strengthened.

Turn your feet in the opposite direction to the other side.

Hero’s Pose

Hero’s Pose can be a great way to relieve knee pain, but it is also intense. My old teacher used to swear that holding this Pose every day for five minutes completely reversed the injury he had sustained while running. You can use as many blankets, blocks, or towels as necessary to support your knees if you feel the pull.

As you kneel, pull your calf muscle out to the side and place your hips in between your ankles. Pull the buttocks back, and then pull on your knee.

If you can, hold for 5 to 8 breaths.

Dogs that face downward

From Hero’s Pose, you should immediately push into a downward-facing dog to stretch and track the leg in the correct direction. You want to make sure that your feet are hip-width apart and then walk in your heels until they touch the ground. This will allow you to feel Mountain Pose in Downward Facing Dog.

You can feel the stretch behind your knees and in the hamstrings by lifting the kneecaps. Lift your shoulders away from your ears and press firmly on your hands.

Hold 8 to 10 breaths.

These poses can have a huge impact on the health of your legs. Always stay connected to your breathing and back off if any sharp pain occurs.

Yoga helps us to recognize discomfort and breathe through it rather than allowing pain to take over. Pain is bad for our bodies. We need to maintain our knees in a lubricated state so they are strong and flexible. Yoga helps us move pain-free and enjoyably while also listening to our bodies and protecting them as best we can.

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