Yoga Poses to Avoid For Knee Injury

Contraindication is the medical term quoted by yoga teachers and practitioners to indicate a condition that poses adverse condition for practicing a particular Asana. In the previous blog, we took a look at various yoga poses for knee strengthening. This article talks about a set of yoga poses to avoid for knee injury. If you have a knee injury, listen to your body and avoid or modify these yoga poses without compromising on their benefits.

8 Yoga Poses to Be Careful If You Have Bad Knees

  1. Virasana and Vajrasana

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Hero pose and thunderbolt pose should be avoided by individuals with bad knees. Both the poses involve bending the knees backward that offer a deep stretch the upper portions of the legs. In the advanced version of these poses that involves reclining, the whole back rests on the floor. In both the cases, the knee experiences a deep pressure that could be harmful especially if you have a meniscus or ligament injury.

Modification: Practice the Half version by folding one leg at a time. If the pain is excruciating, please avoid the posture.

  1. Malasana and Pasasana and Squatting for Arm Balances

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Malasana [Garland Pose] and Pasasana [Noose Pose] involve complete squatting that could aggravate knee injuries and cause swelling, especially if there is pre-existing ligament or meniscus injury. The knees get stiff after being injured. It is good to stretch them mildly and not for too long. Circulation is important to healing.

The case is the same while doing arm balances such as Bakasana where you have to squat before leaning forward and lifting your feet away from the floor.

Modification: Use a block or cushion under your heels to reduce the strain on your knees while practicing these postures.

  1. Balasana

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The Child Pose is a great way to stretch the knee joints and back. But an injured meniscus or posterior cruciate ligament could prevent the backward range of movement of the spine, restricting the boundary area. There is a subtle tension involved that’s ideally good for knee health, but any excess tension is a warning.

Modification: One could practice the wide-legged version of the posture or use a bolster to rest the torso to lift the tension away from the knees.

  1. Padmasana

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Lotus pose is not for those individuals who have knee pain. Your hips and groins should be flexible enough; not to forget your hamstrings and the external rotation potential of your knees. Lack of adequate preparation before Padmasana could also set the stage for undesirable injuries.

Modifications: You might practice Ardha Padmasana till your body is open for this advanced pose. Half Butterfly is a great way to open hips.

  1. Parsva Konasana and Warrior Poses

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Side Angle, Revolved Side Angle, Warrior I and Warrior II require the front knee to be bent. The feet should about five feet apart with the front foot turned perpendicular to the body. Ideally, all these postures require your hips to be squared, sinking them closer to the floor so that the front thigh is parallel to the floor. Meanwhile, there is an attempt to keep the back foot grounded to the floor and keep the back knee straight. In this attempt, there is a chance of knee hyperextension. This could create undue pressure on the front and back knees, making the poses a bad experience for those with knee injuries.

Modification: Avoid Lunges, including Ashwa Sanchalanasana, until your knee recovers. If the condition is a chronic one, try to maintain a microbend on your back knee while pushing the front knee out slightly to lift the pressure away.

  1. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

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One-legged King Pigeon is an excellent hip and back opener, but not one of the yoga poses to avoid for knee injury. The external rotation of the front leg puts a good pressure on the knees. Also, the meniscal cartilages are vulnerable in this posture. In such a scenario, the slightest movement of the bent leg further forward creates additional pressure on the knee, worsening the pain and stiffness. So, if you have tight inner, outer, and front thighs, avoid this pose to keep your knees safe.

Modification: Move the knee into the midline. Balance on your elbows for support. Rest the arms and forearms down on either side of your knees to reduce the strain on the knee yet stretch your hips.

  1. Trikonasana, Parsvottanasana, and Prasarita Padottanasana

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All the three postures require keeping your knees straight while holding the forward bend. And, in the process, it is very easy to lock your knees or exert unwanted pressure on the posterior cruciate ligament. In the process of keeping your knees straight, your forget to keep your thigh muscles activate, leading to hyperextension of the knees. This could lead to ligament strain and other knee injuries.

Modification: Maintain a microbend on your front knee (Trikonasana and Parsvottanasana) [both legs in case of Prasarita Padottansana] and engage your thigh muscles. Push your hips back and lengthen your spine and then fold forward.

Applies to: Any straight front leg pose that bears weight, like Parsvottanasana, Uttanasana, and Prasarita Padottanasana

  1. Balancing Poses

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Poses such as Vrkshasana, Garudasana, Virabhadrasana 3, and Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana require balancing on one leg that could prove to be tumultuous if you lack proper support. In addition, if your hamstrings are tight, you might find it tough.

Modifications: Use a prop wherever you need to prevent knee instability and lift away excess pressure. A wall is a good prop you could use until you are flexible and strong enough for balancing.

Maintaining a slight bend on your supporting leg could also ease the pressure on your knees, especially if your hamstrings are tight.

Avoid the balancing postures if your knees are paining or there is inflammation.

Last but not the least, Avoid Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga as both involve powerful Vinyasas that could worsen your knee.

Knees are powerful joints but in fact the most neglected ones. Take it easy. There is no rush. And, why not when the basic principle of yoga is to listen to your body and follow the practice accordingly.

Keep in mind these yoga poses to avoid for knee injury and have a wonderful practice.

Image Source: Pixabay

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