3 knee strengthening exercises for yogis

Knee strengthening exercises: yoga chair pose
Chair Pose

Chair pose strengthens your knees by targeting your quads and hamstrings, which, if tight, can lead to knee pain or even injury.

To sink into your imaginary chair, start in a standing position with your feet together and your arms at your sides. From here, bend your knees, sink your hips, and sweep your arms overhead. Gaze down from your chair position and be sure that you can see all 10 of your toes. If you can't, pull your knees back further. Stay low in chair pose for 3-5 breaths, then exhale and release to a forward fold position. 

Yoga for strong and healthy knees: bridge pose
Bridge Pose

Bridge is a beneficial yoga pose for helping you to become mindful of knee alignment.

To get into bridge, start lying on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet directly underneath your knees so that you can graze that back of your heels with your fingertips. Exhale out all your stale air, and on your inhale life your hips off of your mat. Shimmy your shoulder blades underneath your heart. Relax your glutes and instead use your legs to press your hips higher. Avoid letting your knees splay out; keep them hips-width distance apart. 

Knee strengthening exercises: Reclining Big Toe Yoga Pose
Reclining Big Toe Pose

If you are very flexible, you may be able to grip your big toe of your lifted leg in this posture, but most yogis find it more accessible to utilize a strap in this pose. Using a strap allows you to stretch and lengthen your entire leg to strengthen the knee. Reclining Big Toe is so beneficial that physical therapists actually use this pose when working with patients with knee problems. 

To get into this pose, begin lying on your back with your legs extended flat on your mat. Draw your right knee into your chest and loop a strap around the arch of your right foot. Press your left leg into the earth as you straighten your right knee. Imagine you have paint on the bottom of your right foot and you are trying to make a footprint in the sky. Breathe here, pressing your upper body into the earth as you walk your hands up the strap, eventually straightening your elbows. After a few breaths, carefully draw your right leg back into your chest and repeat on your left knee. 

Knee strengthening exercises: yoga chair pose
Yoga for strong and healthy knees: bridge pose
Knee strengthening exercises: Reclining Big Toe Yoga Pose
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