4 Yoga Mistakes that Can Cause Knee Pain

Yoga is accepted worldwide as having miraculous healing powers which completely transforms your mind, body, and spirit. Nonetheless, it is still practically a physical exercise– which often gets quite vigorous. If performed incorrectly, the results can be disastrous, causing pain and major injury. Ruptures, tears, pulls, and herniated discs are some of the common problems stemming from this ancient practice.

Yoga Mistakes

The knee joints, in particular, are sensitive to any strategic pulling or their placement in any wrong position. This article will explain the most common yoga mistakes that instigate knee pain and how they can be avoided, so you can continue yoga with ease.

Yoga Mistakes
Yoga Mistakes

Loosening up the knees

Before you begin your yoga practice, it is crucial that you warm up first with three to five reps of the Core Sun Salutation. Don’t forget to breathe deeply and slowly through the nose throughout the practice.

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4 Poses for Eliminating Knee Strain

1. High Lunge

Applies to: Standing positions requiring stepping forward with the knee bent; Warrior I and II, Reverse Warrior, Side Angle, Eagle, and the Chair Pose.

  • As you place your one foot forward prior to a lunge, ensure you hit these two alignment points immediately:
  • The foot should be in step with the same corresponding thumb on the hand, not the center between hands.
  • Your fingertips and toes should be aligned in the same line so that your foot is not lagging behind your hands.
  • When you come up to your starting position, the front leg bent will ensure that your knee hovers back towards the body or above your heel, and not jut out above the foot, which causes pressure on the front of the knees.

2. Warrior I

Applies to: Anchored-foot standing poses like the Warrior I and II, Triangle, Side Angle, Parsvottanasana, and Malasana. In this pose, the key rule to observe for knee health is that your knee, toes, and center of the hips must all be facing the same angle.

With the back foot placed at a 45-degree angle, if you attempt to turn your hips more than 45 degrees, the knee joints will take the twist. Although twists are essential in yoga at times, in this case,e the twist in the knee can cause serious tweaks and chronic damage.

So, the next time you are doing Warrior I, roll open the back hip enough so that the center of your thigh and the hips are allowed to be in the same angle as the knees and toes. For example, with your right foot forward, the hips should be facing diagonally to the right. Then from the diagonal hips, rotate your upper body forward, from the heart, ribs, shoulders and head, and not the pelvis. More muscles will be activated in your back and core all the while sustaining space and flexibility in your hip and knee.

3. Triangle pose

Applies to: Straight leg poses that exert weight, like Warrior III, Parsvottanasana, ½ Moon, Standing Splits and Tree Pose.

With straight-legged poses, the front knee is especially vulnerable. It’s easy to:

  • Lock the knee joint instead of working the leg muscles for stability and support.
  • Press too hard against the joint, causing overstretching or hyperextension at the back of your knee.

To combat this, allow a microbend to be present in your front knee, so the joints are not getting jammed back into.

4. Pigeon Pose

Applies to: Poses requiring external rotation of the leg, like Ankle to Knee, ½ or Full Lotus, Gomukhasana, Flying Crow, Janu Sirsasana and Supine Pigeon.

Such poses require the turning out of or external rotation of the front leg, putting a significant amount of pressure on to the knee. Three frequent mistakes and their solutions are:

  • Flexing your foot – A flexed foot potentially causes the lower leg to stop its external rotation, which again causes the knee joint to receive the brunt of the twist. A better way to do this is to ‘froint’ your foot- meaning to point the foot outwards but drawing the toes back, instead of pushing through with the ball of the foot. Think of it as if you’re wearing high heels.
    This will allow your leg to freely rotate entirely, releasing the knee.
  • Grabbing and pulling the foot forward to make the shin better parallel to the front of the placed mat – The shin is forward but it does not mean that this pose is more advanced. In actual, yanking your foot forward or alternately, hooking your foot by the wrist, means that there is exertion being applied to make the shin get into a certain pose, but at the cost of seriously compromising the health of your knee joint.

From now onwards, never ever grab your foot and hold it stable while in this pose. Instead, lean your foot toward the opposite hip and ensure that your hips are level and not rocking imbalanced over to rest on the hip over the bent leg side.

Once you feel that the strain on the knee is minimal, you may deepen the pose by moving your knee into a slightly wider position and scooting straight back your back leg slightly more. The front knee must be either a bit wider or in front of your hip, and you may repeat the adjustment (wider knee, back leg back) a few times.

This way, your fronted foot and shin will move forward naturally without needing your hands for support.

  • Working with the hips too low if the knee hurts – Bending the front knee while in Pigeon can pull the front of the knee and quadriceps for some people, resulting in strained knee joints prior to the hips stretching. If you feel pain in your knees before hips stretch, focus on working the front thigh muscles tighter first by elevating your front hip on to a bundled blanket.

Eliminating these mistakes from your yoga routine will indeed prove to be greatly beneficial. Try it out for yourself and see better results on your way to a better body and better you.

These tips are designed to make sure your yoga routine is as effective and pain-free as possible. Exercise is indeed the best way to get your body in shape and get rid of pain, and yoga should not be something that holds you back!

If you’re still experiencing pain in your knee, then you might still be doing something wrong, or your pain might be related to some other condition. Try out Injurymap, a great app for getting rid of pain through exercise training. If you still find yourself in pain, be sure to consult with an orthopedist! Good luck!