Knees are one of the most important and, unfortunately, one of the more vulnerable joints in our body. Knee pain is common and can hamper freedom of movement.
Many runners and other athletes turn to yoga specifically to help overtaxed knees. The following for poses will help you build strong knees. If you’re healthy, dive right in. If you have an existing knee problem or concern, be sure to seek professional advice and guidance before attempting these exercises.
Mountain pose (Tadasana)
This is one pose anyone can safely try. In Tadasana you stand with your weight distributed evenly on both feet, aligning your whole body with calm mindfulness. As you do so, focus on grounding yourself and gaining awareness of your body. Simply standing and breathing in this posture is a great way to warm up for your practice, or to gently build stamina before moving on to any other standing pose.
Awkward pose (Utkatasana)
This is a great pose to strengthen the knees, and a wake-up call to major muscle groups including quadriceps, abs and calves. Building these large muscle groups improves support to your knee, helping prevent injury. Key posture points are to keep your feet parallel in the shape of an 11 (don’t let your feet turn in or out), and to keep your abdominals tight throughout.
Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This asana builds the large lower body muscles such as glutes and quads that support the knees. Lie on your back to begin and draw your knees up with your feet flat on the floor, about hip width apart. Press up from the four corners of your feet, engaging the legs and buttocks to lift the hips higher. If your knees start to splay gently bring them together to maintain hip-width distance.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Eagle pose is a great posture to stretch the knee joints, while also strengthening the lower body muscles and core. Focus on pressing the back of your top leg into the top of your standing thigh for firm support. Keep your gaze relaxed and fixed on a point directly in front of you. Sink into the “chair” keeping your hips aligned. Ground the weight in your standing heel to maintain balance.
Questions or thoughts? Please share in the comments!