If you want to protect your knees during exercise, and even give them some good therapy while you’re at it, yoga is the perfect practice. It can be done no matter where you’re at in your journey of health – starting now and into your golden years. As opposed to other forms of exercise (i.e. running, lifting) yoga gives your body a total body workout, without being hard on those precious knee joints. So many of us suffer from knee pain, and you’re not alone if you feel stuck when it comes to your exercise routine due to knee maladies.
Here are 3 of the best yoga poses to keep your entire body (knees included) strong, supple, flexible, and relaxed.
Many of us experience knee pain due to years and years of hyperextension, which is no good on the knees. Even the most seasoned yogis hyperextend their knees in certain poses, and one of these poses is triangle pose, or trikonasana. When done correctly, triangle pose can actually be very therapeutic for the knees, as it both stabilizes and strengthens your knee joint. When you come into triangle pose, be sure to create the action of keeping your thighs back and knees forward, while maintaining a little microbend in the knee. This is a good rule of thumb for all yoga poses to prevent hyperextension. Triangle pose is a wonderful asana to include in your daily exercise regimen to support healthy knees now and for the rest of your life.
It’s really important to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joint, and the quadriceps and hamstrings are two of the largest. When these two muscles are supple and strong, your knee is more protected. These muscles support the health of your knees, and they too need exercises that help keep them flexible. For this reason, hero’s pose is a great one, and if you have the length in your quads to lie down into supine hero’s pose – even better. If you can’t lie down, don’t worry. Classical hero pose, also known as virasana, is the perfect pose to love up your lovely knees.
Downward Facing Dog
Downdog is excellent for proper knee alignment because it lengthens your calf muscles. Tight calves are one of the culprits for knee pain, which is why you’ll want to stretch and strengthen them on a daily basis. While in downdog, try pedaling your feet, so that one calf gets a good stretch and then the other. This works to loosen the calf muscles even further. Keep a slight microbend in the knee while also pulling up on your quadriceps. In this way, you’re protecting the knee joint while strengthening your quads and elongating the hamstrings.
Your lifetime yoga practice can help you prevent and even heal painful knee problems, while keeping your entire body, strong, supple, and relaxed. Always be mindful of your knees whenever you practice yoga, and whenever you do any form of exercise, for that matter. When you give these precious joints the love and support they crave, you’ll experience less pain as you age, and the ability to move your body freely and joyfully for many years to come!
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