The fact that yoga generally involves a great deal of movement and flexibility often means that many people avoid it when suffering from knee or joint pain. However, the truth is that having bad knees shouldn't stop you from enjoying a relaxing, and beneficial method of getting into shape. In fact, using the right yoga exercises, combined with tips for knee pain relief can help to improve the comfort of your lower joints over time.
Performed properly, the fluid motions used in yoga allow painful or swollen joints to move smoothly, increasing strength and mobility without excess discomfort. With the go-ahead of your doctor, yoga can actually be a safe alternative to weight-bearing exercises that could worsen your current pain problem.
The following tips for knee pain relief and yoga form should help you get more from your workout, while ensuring that your exercises work to strengthen the muscles around your knee joints.
Don't Ignore Pain
This first step might seem pretty obvious, but it's actually something that's overlooked by a lot of people. Many of us struggle with a lot of things when it comes to exercise, but when it comes to yoga, you really shouldn't be feeling pain in your knees. Anything, including a little twitch under the kneecap, is a sign that you need to stop, realign, and start again. The best tips for knee pain relief involve recognizing and responding to discomfort when it arises. For some people, this will be the day after a workout - which is a sign that you've overworked the joint, whereas for others, pain might occur during a particular stretch.
Remember to Warm Up
You may not have been aware of the connection, but knee pain can often come as a result of our hips lacking flexibility. Because of this, warming your hip joints prior to yoga or any other exercise is crucial to good posture, and good health. Try a few low-impact dynamic stretches, and remember to place a comfortable mat on the floor, as your knees can suffer when they come into contact with the cold, hard floor.
Use Accessories for Comfort
Following on from the yoga mat suggestion above, it's worth remembering that investing in accessories can be one of the best tips for knee pain relief. Using a pair of knee compression sleeves to help hold the joint in place and provide support during a workout can reduce your risk of injury, while improving circulation for better flexibility and recovery. At the same time, modifying your workout by placing rolled up blankets under your knees could help to reduce the amount of strain you place on the knee cap.
Know How to Use Your Feet
Finally, paying attention to how and where you place your feet is essential in looking after your knees. Place your feet carefully, and follow instruction during classes to keep your muscles properly engaged at all time, whether you're standing, sitting, or laying. Remember, even lifting and spreading your toes during a standing pose can be enough to protect the ligaments in your knees by engaging the muscles in your lower legs.