Yoga is for everyone. Including those with injuries, ailments, stiff joints, super tight muscles, or bad knees. The key is to make your practice work for your body. So even if kneeling is off the cards for you, that doesn’t mean that yoga is. Let’s dive into yoga without kneeling and how you can make your yoga practice work for you.
Why Practice Yoga For Bad Knees Or Injuries?
There is a misconception that to practice yoga, you have to be flexible, fit, lean, and strong. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoga isn’t all headstands, downward dogs, and complex-looking inversions. There are poses that will work for all bodies at all levels.
When you’re recovering from an injury or sensitive knees, you might think that stopping working out altogether is the best option. But that’s not always the best solution.
Stopping rigorous exercise, like HIIT, that could lead to injury is probably for the best. However, a gentle practice like yoga can be beneficial for your joints.
Yoga can improve mobility, posture, reduce stiffness, and reduce pain in those who experience chronic knee pain through arthritis. Yoga also has a ton of mental benefits like reducing stress and anxiety. Plus, it makes for the perfect self-care activity!
Yoga allows you to practice movement in a safe, gentle way without risk of further injury. The key, however, is to know which yoga poses are suitable for your body.
The Best Yoga Styles For Sensitive Knees
When you’re experiencing knee pain, some yoga styles will be better suited for you than others. We advise not to practice any yoga style that will put too much pressure on the knees. Styles like Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, or Bikram yoga should be avoided.
Instead, opt for more gentle, restorative yoga styles like Yin yoga, Restorative yoga, Kundalini yoga, and beginners Hatha yoga.
Yoga Props For Knee Pain Or Injury
Before we dive into the best yoga poses for kneeling, let’s talk about what you’ll need to get the most out of your practice.
Firstly, we recommend a thick yoga mat to provide cushion and support for your body. If you work your way up to kneeling, the cushioned mat will ensure your knees are supported, lessening the chance of pain or injury.
Yoga blocks are a must-have for those practicing with injuries or new to their practice. Yoga blocks bring the floor closer to you, making poses more accessible and easier for beginners to get the hang of. If you haven’t purchased your yoga blocks, a cushion or rolled-up blanket will do the trick in the meantime.
A yoga strap not only helps you get an incredible stretch, but it also helps improve posture, flexibility and work on proper alignment. Want to get started with your practice, but you’re waiting for your yoga strap to arrive? Grab a long belt or a rolled-up towel to use as your makeshift yoga strap.
The Best Poses For Yoga Without Kneeling
There are a ton of yoga poses you can explore that don’t involve kneeling! Here are some of our favorite poses that strengthen the knees and the connective tissue to provide better joint support.
Tadasana or mountain pose may seem easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t strengthening your muscles!
To practice mountain pose, stand tall with your feet together planted firmly on the ground with your weight evenly distributed through both feet.
Put your hands together in a “prayer pose” and relax your shoulder muscles down while opening through your chest.
Then, engage your quadriceps (the front of your thighs) to lift your kneecaps. Feel free to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Stand in this pose for as long as it feels good or for a few rounds of breath.
Legs Up The Wall
This pose is super relaxing yet beneficial for tight muscles. And, it involves nothing more than laying with your legs up the wall!
Place your yoga mat against a wall and grab one of your blocks (this will go under your hips for support.) Place one side of your hips on the yoga block, then swing your legs slowly up the wall.
Modify your position by moving closer to the wall or adjusting your yoga block to where it feels comfortable. Your hips don’t have to touch the wall, and your legs don’t have to be straight. A slight bend is perfectly fine.
Relax your head and shoulders onto the mat with your arms by your side with your palms up. Settle into the pose and stay here for 5-10 minutes or however long feels good for you.
To come out of the Asana, bend one knee at a time, then roll onto your side. You may feel your legs tingling but don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.
Bound-Angle Pose/Butterfly Pose
Butterfly pose provides a light stretch for the knees while also opening the hip flexors, groin muscle, and inner thighs.
To practice this pose, sit on your yoga block with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your legs and draw the soles of your feet together. Bring your feet close to you while your knees fall open.
Use your hands to open your feet like a book while gently folding over your legs. Stay here for a few rounds of breath.
Those new to this pose should begin with their legs as far away from them as they like. The more you practice this pose, the more you’ll notice you can bring your feet closer to your body.
Yoga Without Kneeling – The Takeaway
Yoga without kneeling is certainly possible, but it’s super important to listen to your body when practicing yoga with knee pain. Your yoga practice should feel good, and if you experience any discomfort, that is your sign to stop.
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