Top 5 Yoga Poses for Knee Pain Relief




Knee pain affects approximately 20 million people in the United States alone. And that number is going up.

One of the most common reasons I hear from people about why they think they can’t practice yoga is because they have “bad knees.” Arthritis, prior knee injuries, knee surgery or replacement are just a few of the reasons for knee pain.

Similarly to back pain, knee pain can cause significant discomfort and even prevent sufferers from being mobile. This means no exercise.

I, like all the other teachers here at MyYogaTeacher, believe yoga is for everyone – even people who have knee pain or extensive problems with their knees. As a matter of fact, the right yoga poses help relieve knee pain.

Because I know that there are so many who suffer from pain in and around their knees, and it negatively impacts their life, I started a Yoga for Knee Pain class at MyYogaTeacher for yogis of all levels and with various different types of knee pain.

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Now, let’s go over the top 5 yoga poses for knee pain relief! You may choose to use some props like a foam roller, bolster, blocks, and/or straps.

Bridge Pose

1. Bridge Pose

One way to alleviate knee pain is to strengthen the muscles around the knee, as well as the muscles that support the bulk of your weight (like your glutes and hamstrings). Bridge pose does both of these!  

This yoga pose also helps realign your spine and pelvis, as misalignment of those areas can cause knee issues.

Set up for bridge pose by lying on your back, feet flat on the floor about hip’s distance apart, knees up. Then follow the instructions below:

  • Place a yoga block between your upper thighs

  • Squeeze the block with your inner thighs

  • Lift your legs and core, not by pressing your lumbar spine into the floor

  • Continue to squeeze the block, and hold for 10 breaths

  • Repeat several times

  • Do not turn your head in bridge pose! Keep head and neck in a neutral position

Chair Pose

2. Chair pose

This is another pose that helps strengthen the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, which will relieve some of the pressure placed on your knees by your total body weight.

While you’re in chair pose, remember to breathe deeply and keep your knees behind your toes and over your ankles.

  • From standing, bend your knees, and sit your hips back, weight in your heels. 

  • Reach your arms up toward the ceiling, palms facing each other. 

  • Lift your torso away from your thighs as you lengthen. 

  • Maintain the natural curves in your spine. Don’t over arch or tuck your spine under.

Forward Fold

3. Forward Fold

Forward folds are sometimes hard for people with knee problems because they don’t do it correctly. But when done with proper guidance, forward folds are a great way to stretch out the muscles in the backs of your legs and release tension in the ligaments and tendons surrounding the knees. 

Forward fold also has many adaptations and doesn’t require a lot of flexibility to do.

  • Standing up straight, slowly fold the body in two at the hips.

  • Roll your spine forward until you’re hanging staring at your shins. 

  • Let your knees bend generously if needed. Do not lock them or tighten your quads.

  • Bend the spine as much as you can, using a chair for support if necessary.

  • Stay there for 10 breaths. Repeat if you want to.

Modified Tree Pose

4. Modified tree pose

Another aspect of alleviating knee pain with yoga is improving your balance! There are tiny muscles around your ankles and feet (as well as your knees) that don’t get the same amount of exercise and strengthening that some of the bigger muscles do. Balance postures help those muscles and improve balance.

Additionally, balance postures help strengthen your hip muscles, which are also important for supporting your knees.

  • From standing, slowly begin to shift weight onto one foot. 

  • Place the ball of the opposite foot on the ground or a block, and turn the knee out so the heel can rest on your ankle or shin.

  • Press into your standing leg and keep the hips level.

  • You may keep your hands at your heart, by your sides, in the air, or use a chair for support.

  • Eventually, you may work to bring the foot up higher on the leg, but never place the foot directly on the knee joint.

Supported Child Pose

 5. Supported child’s pose

Everyone’s favorite! Child’s pose can be hard on the knees if not done using support from a block, bolster, and/or blanket.

When modified, child’s pose stretches out the quads and muscles around the knees, releases tension in the hips and back that may cause misalignment, and improves circulation to the knee area.

If you have knee pain from injuries, surgeries, arthritis, or for any other reason, I encourage you to try these poses! And, if you need more guidance I’d love to have you in my Yoga for Knee Pain class on MyYogaTeacher!

Not a MyYogaTeacher member? Whether you’re interested in teaching yoga, starting yoga, or growing in your yoga journey, MyYogaTeacher is a great place to do it!

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  • Yoga teachers who become friends, who truly care about you!

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