How to keep your knees safe in hip-opening yoga poses

Many people turn to yoga after an injury—with good reason. Some turn to yoga to counteract the effects of miles and miles of pounding the pavement or when an overuse injury prevents them from training the way they usually do.

Yoga is good for our body, but we need to be careful.

In hip openers, it is easy to damage the knee joint as the knees are often asked to twist (for want of a better term) or move strangely. To help you, we have compiled a few tips and tricks for hip-opening poses.

Warrior II

While technically a standing position, Warrior I can be a wonderful hip opener and strengthener. If the front leg is misaligned, this posture can cause pain and tension. This is a great pose for strengthening all the muscles around the knee, which are crucial to maintaining a healthy knee joint on and off your mat.

As you begin the pose, look down at your front leg and place it directly over your front ankle. Your kneecap should be in direct line with your second foot. If you are just learning, you can use your hand to demonstrate the correct alignment of your kneecap.

As we tend to rotate internally, adjust the kneecap to the outside edge of the toe.

Reclined Pigeon

Flex your toes towards the knee of the leg you are using. Find your perfect body angle today. If your knee is sensitive, try angling your leg slightly backward.

You can play with the direction of your stretch if you don’t want to. By adjusting the pressure in the stretch, you can find the perfect balance between ease and effort.

Pose of the One-Legged King Pigeon

Don’t let your ego interfere with using blocks to achieve proper alignment. To prevent the knees from being overloaded, the weight must be evenly distributed between the two hips. It’s also important to determine the correct angle of the front leg to prevent injury.

Flex the front toes toward the knee. As needed, adjust the angle and positioning of the front foot. Most knee pain in this position comes from the front ankle.

Bring the front ankle in closer to your pelvis if your hips feel tight. If your hips feel open and flexible, you can adjust the angle of the leg and move the ankle of the foot in front closer to the wrist on the other side. The ankle movement is what causes the angle of the knee in front and, therefore, most of the discomfort associated with the posture.

Close your eyes, and imagine pulling your knees together. It may sound a little strange, as you have one knee bent forward and the other extended behind you. But pull them energetically together. It will make your hips take on more weight and help you to square off your legs. This allows your knees and feet to melt into the mat.

The extended leg can also cause knee pain. In this case, you can tuck in the toes on the back foot. This will help relieve the pressure and take up more weight. Be sure that the leg is pointed straight back.

Cow Face Pose

This hip opener is one of the most popular, but it can be uncomfortable if you don’don’te into it. You should avoid this pose if you are experiencing knee pain. Try using props to find the sweet spot if you are sensitive but not in pain.

Lift your hips to the level of your knees using a blanket, block, or bolster. Test different heights and see which one feels best for you.

You can also straighten one leg before working on the other to keep your knees in good shape. When the hips are open, it may be easier to work both knees simultaneously.

If there is too much space between the knees, you can place a blanket or block under the top thigh.

Basic Tips and Tricks to Knee Safety

Feet is a great indicator of alignment.

The kneecap is usually in line with your second toe. This is especially true in standing positions. If you draw an imaginary line from your kneecap and another up from your second foot, they will meet.

The knee will usually line up above the ankle.

Props can be your best friend. Blocks, blankets, wedges, and your sweaty towel will help you align your body properly and thus ease your knee pain.

Asana can cause knee strain if you don’t have flexibility first in your ankles and hips.

Being present is almost a must with yoga. But the more in tune you are with your body and the more aware you will be of when you push the knee joint too hard, the better.

As the knees won’t let you know if you have gone too far, tune your inner frequency to the legs and pay attention to even the smallest signals.

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