Yoga Therapy for Healthy Knees
Burhani Natural Science
Yoga Therapy for Healthy Knees:
Our knees are a vulnerable joint in the body and stability around the knees is crucial when practicing yoga and participating in many of our daily activities such as walking, getting in and out of a seated position and climbing the steps. The knee is a hinge joint, and like the elbow, it only moves in two directions, flexion (bent) and extension (straight). Unfortunately many injuries occur when the knee is impacted from the side and the knee twists which puts stress on the meniscus, the disc between the femur bone of the upper leg and the fibula and tibia of the lower leg, or the ligaments that hold the knee together. This week we will discuss how stretching the calves and hamstrings and strengthening the quadriceps can help to build strength around the knee. You will also learn some tricks on how to deal with arthritis knee pain and hyper-extended knees while practicing standing postures in yoga.
Vyana Vayu Mudra (Marma Mudra)
Right Hand: Touch tip of thumb and ring fingers together, extend all others
Left Hand: Touch tips of thumb and middle fingers together, extend all others. Rest hands with palms up.
Benefits: Draws energy into the joints
Practice Tips: Good for arthritis
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)
Lie on the back with the legs straight.
Variation I: Draw your right knee into your chest and lengthen the left leg onto the floor. Wrap a strap around the ball of your right foot and extend the leg into the air. Reach the hands up the strap until the elbows are straight but the shoulders are still grounded.
Variation II: Hold the strap in the right hand and place a block on the outside of the right hip. Externally rotate your leg and as you exhale, lower the leg directly out to the side so that the outer thigh rests on the block. Extend the foot into the strap and reach the left arm out to the side keeping the left hip on the floor. To release, use the inner thigh to draw the leg up to center.
Variation III: Hold the strap in the left hand and slowly bring the leg across the body as you twist the lower body, keeping the shoulders on the floor and the right arm out to the side. To release, drop the right hip into the floor and allow the leg to follow. Hold each variation for 10-20 breaths.
Virasana (Hero Pose)
Sit on block or blanket between heels. Ground front of feet and shins, thighs and sit bones into earth. Lift up through belly, heart and crown of head.
For Ankle Pain – Kneel on folded blanket with crease of ankles at edge of blanket).
For Knee Pain – Sit higher so knees do not have to bend all the way.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) Variation
Stand facing the wall and step the right foot forward and placing block between shin an the wall, bend the knee into the block. Step left foot back turning toes slightly back keeping hips width distance between feet.
Press hands into wall at chest height and then either bring hands to the heart or rasie arms overhead. Hold for 10 breaths, then change sides.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) Variation
Stand with feet wide apart and turn right foot in and left foot out. Roll up a sticky mat and place it between the left lower leg and the wall as you bend the left knee and press knee into the rolled mat (rolled mat drawn in purple). Inhale and lift the arms to shoulder’s height and hold for 5-10 breaths, then change sides.
For Arthritic Knees: You may place a yoga wedge under the ball of the front foot so that the front of the foot is tilted upwards. This propping will take some of the pressure off of the base of the knee and allow the quadriceps muscles to work a bit more to hold you in the position (wedge drawn in purple).
Dr. Idris modi
Dr. Fatema mandviwala