Hey! Im Complex!
As the knee is the largest hinge joint in the body, it is easily damaged just through general wear and tear. The knee is a complex structure. Shock impact or irregular movement of the joint can also cause lasting damage, but if you have poor posture, this too can add additional stress to the joints. Preventative measures to protect the knees are useful, promoting flexibility and health, but also ensuring that the supporting muscles are strong.
Can we Yoga, Can We?
To help prevent injury, it’s useful to add some yoga postures to your regular exercise routine and this can help to keep the knee joints healthy. If you already have a knee injury, the gentle postures can help to improve the joints but care should be taken not to strain by moving into positions that are too extreme. Yoga works on the whole body. It’s beneficial because the postures all serve to bring the body into balance with certain postures strengthening and stretching the muscle groups that help to keep the knee joints strong. Regular yoga practice can also increase healing, helping to repair any physiological damage, and reducing inflammation.
Don’t Use Me, Lose Me
If you have injured your knees, you will know that you are often advised to rest the joint. Long -term rest and immobility is not always good for the joint itself. Reducing any weight-bearing stress may well be beneficial but stiffening of the joint can quickly set in if it is not kept flexible and moved regularly. A reduction in the synovial fluid, inflammation of the joint, muscle weakness or cartilage erosion are all common knee problems, which fortunately can respond well to a regular yoga practice.
Nothing But the Best for Me!
If you are not experienced with yoga, it is important to have the benefit of a qualified teacher. Yoga is suitable for complete beginners, irrespective of current flexibility but correct alignment of any posture is vital, this is far more important than the need to extend the body into more advanced positions. Yoga is non-competitive; the only person that you should be concerned with is your own health. Focus on how yoga makes you feel and not how far you can move.
4 Poses to Nurture Me – Your Knees
There are many yoga postures that can help to increase flexibility and health within the knee joints including:
1. Supported Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana)
Try the supported warrior pose against a wall. It is an excellent posture to help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, care should be taken not to extend over the knee. It stretches the chest, shoulders and neck, opening up the lungs; and strengthens the ankles, knees, thighs as well as the back, arms and shoulders.
2. Supported Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
The supported triangle is a wonderful pose and can be successfully incorporated into your practice by using a wall for alignment purposes. It strengthens the knees, thighs and ankles and stretches the spine, chest, hamstrings, hips, groin and calves. The triangle pose also helps to relieve stress and to improve digestion.
3. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Depending on the extent of the injury, it can be beneficial to kneel on a mat or cushioned surface so as to take the pressure away the knee joint. The camel posture provides an excellent stretch and strengthening pose, serving to stretch the abdomen, chest and throat, while strengthening the back muscles and knees. The camel pose is also beneficial for improving posture and for working the ankles, thighs and groin.
4. Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
The lotus pose is calming, and stimulates the pelvis and spine while stretching the ankles and knees. It increases flexibility in the hip and knee joints but the half lotus should be practiced to increase flexibility in the first instance. This is an advanced pose but the preparation stage is greatly beneficial for working the knee joint and for increasing movement, patience is required if there is a limited flexibility.
Give Me a Rub!
When you injure your knee joint, it’s easy to see how much it impacts your life. Preventative measures are advisable ensuring that the knee joints stay as healthy as possible. Massaging the joints, using the breath to release any inner tension and practicing inverted postures all help with any inflammatory injuries and promote inner healing. Don’t take the health of your joints for granted, the negative effects are far reaching, fortunately, yoga postures are gentle but greatly beneficial so it should be possible to regain full motion for most people.