Yoga squat is a posture that involves the stretching of the ankle, calf muscles, and thighs. It tones the buttocks and knees area while building strength in the hamstrings. For people with bad knees, the balance involved in your squats can be hazardous for their injury. This poses a dilemma on whether they should do yoga squats or not.
The knee is a hinge joint that can move in three different planes. This means it moves forward and backward, as well as up and down. Your knee’s stability comes from four major ligaments on each side of the knee, two cruciate ligaments, which are inside the knee and cross each other, and two collateral ligaments, which are outside your knee. The knees have cartilage to provide cushioning when they touch each other or rub against a hard surface.
The most important thing with yoga squats is to be mindful of how you perform them. It is crucial that you do not force your legs into a straddle position if you have bad knees. If going for advanced yoga squat poses seems too risky for your injury, you can opt for the preliminary ones. Start with standing with your feet together and lower yourself so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, without putting too much pressure on your knees.
As always, it is advisable to talk to a yoga instructor or fitness expert before attempting any exercise routine especially if you have bad knees. This way they will know what level of yoga squats will be appropriate for you. This also means they would guide you accordingly on the type of exercises that are good for building strength around your knee joints. You should not engage in rigorous physical activities or weight training if your doctor has advised against it. Yoga is known as one of the safest forms of exercise but this does not mean you fight fire with fire by forcing yourself to do workouts that are strenuous. Be mindful of your surroundings and most importantly, listen to your body.
Yoga Squat with Bad Knees – The Best Yoga Postures for You
If you have a bad knee or any kind of knee injury, you might wonder if yoga is possible for you at all. Rest assured – there is a wide range of yoga poses that will work perfectly well, whether you need to take it easy on one or both knees or if you can do advanced postures without hurting yourself. Here are the most important things about doing yoga safely with a bad knee:
1) Always talk to your doctor before beginning any sort of exercise program and ask what exercises would be best getting started and how much pressure you should be putting on your knees so as not to hurt them.
2) Do not go for deep knee-bending postures or forward bends – stay away from these until you are absolutely sure that you can do them without pain (generally speaking, if you can sit in a regular cross-legged position on the floor with good balance and no wincing, it’s safe).
3) Feel free to do some standing poses like triangle pose (trikonasana), warrior II (virabhadrasana II), side angle pose (poravakrasana), and one-legged standing forward bend (prasarita padottanasana).
4) A large number of yoga poses work very nicely for bad knees. Below are links to several of them, categorized by how easy/difficult they might be. You can also look for poses that will work nicely with a yoga block for extra support under the knee.
Yoga Squat Poses – Easy/Moderate
These are nice and gentle postures that will stretch your legs and open up your hips. If you have a bad knee or limited mobility then these may be a great place to begin working on balance.
1. Tree pose (vrksasana)
2. Warrior I (virabhadrasana I), modified with hands on the wall.
3. Extended side angle pose (utthitha trikonasanas)
4. Modified standing forward bend (uttanasana)
5. Standing wide-legged forward bend (prasarita padottanasana)
6. Triangle pose (trikonasana), side view
7. Warrior II (virabhadrasana II) with hands on wall, side view
8. Tree pose (new version) with arms in front for more of a stretch across the lining of the hips and inner thighs
9. Seated wide-legged forward bend (upavishta konasansa) – modification with knees bent to 90 degrees or hip-width apart; legs touching; head supported if you need it
10. Half pigeon pose (ardha rajakapotasana) – warning: do NOT attempt this if you have knee problems. It should only be done by people who are very flexible and have the support of an experienced yoga teacher – the pressure on the knee joint is deep and poses a high risk of injury
Yoga Squat Poses – Moderate/Difficult
These are knee-deep postures that will stretch your legs, hips, and back. If you have a bad knee then it is best to do these postures with a yoga block under the knee for support. Do only as much as you can without pain. You should not feel any pain at all in your knees during any of these poses.
1. Extended triangle pose (utthita trikonasana) – try going deeper by placing one hand on each thigh or two blocks parallel to each other directly under the foot
2. Half moon pose (ardha chandrasana) – warning: there are several adjustments that will make this safe for people with bad knees; discuss them with your yoga teacher before attempting the pose
3. Revolved side angle pose (parivrtta trikonasana)
4. Pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana) – warning: do NOT attempt this if you have knee problems. It should only be done by people who are very flexible and have the support of an experienced yoga teacher – the pressure on the knee joint is deep and poses a high risk of injury
5. Thread the needle (hard variation)
6. Revolved triangle pose (parivrtta trikonasana) – modification with arms extended in front for more stretch across the hips and for better balance; head supported if needed
7. Half Lord of the Fishes pose (ardha matsyendrasana) – variation where one knee is bent in front of the body; arms can support head
8. Warrior III (virabhadrasana III) on a block or on two yoga blocks for more support under the knees
9. Standing split (uttanasana) – standing wide-legged forward bend on a block, on two blocks, or with another prop under your hands to support your trunk and spine as you lean forward 10. Balancing the hero’s pose (natarajasana) on a block, on two blocks, or with another prop to support your extended hand if needed.
Other Info on Yoga:
Yoga Squat Poses – Difficult/Very Difficult
These are deep challenging asanas that will stretch your legs, hips, and back. If you have a bad knee then it is best to do these postures with a yoga block under the knee for support. Do only as much as you can without pain. You should not feel any pain at all in your knees during any of these poses.
1. King dancer’s pose (natarajasana) – variation 1: holding arms out to the side or doing this pose on a wider base leg; variation 2: holding a prop, such as a yoga block, between the hands for more stability
2. Extended triangle pose (utthita trikonasana) – advanced variation where one hand is placed behind the back on the floor or on another prop for more of a stretch
3. Warrior II (virabhadrasana II) on one leg with head supported or lying down for a restorative version
4. Revolved triangle pose (parivrtta trikonasana) – variation where one arm is outstretched past the ear and the other wraps around the back of your waist, clasping hands together behind your body
5. Bent knee revolved series: a) revolved triangle pose b) extended side angle pose c) extended angle pose d) revolved half moon pose e) half pigeon pose f ) thread-the needle g ) revolved thread-the needle h ) twisting bound angle posture
Yoga squats pose safely for bad knees because if performed under the supervision of a qualified yoga teacher and depending on the goals and abilities, they can be modified to accommodate people with knee problems. One should never do any yoga pose that causes pain in any part of the body. If you have severe knee problems then you should avoid all forward folds, especially down dog pose. Doing simple standing poses without putting too much pressure on your knees is great for stretching your legs, hips, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, and back. You need not put pressure on your knees while doing these postures by placing one or both feet on a yoga block or rolled-up towel so that your feet are elevated off the floor which will take the weight off of your knee joints and reduce the pressure on your knees. Also, doing yoga squats pose with a wall is helpful in maintaining balance and stability for knee pain. You should avoid a yoga squat pose that puts too much pressure on your knees such as any variations of the king dancer’s pose and extended triangle pose where the forward leg is straight. Finally, do some research on the pose you are interested in doing to make sure you know all of the modifications and assistance needed to perform the pose with proper alignment.
Yoga Squat Poses – Difficult/Very Difficult are deep challenging asanas that will stretch your legs, hips, and back. If you have a bad knee then it is best to do these postures with a yoga block under the knee for support. Do only as much as you can without pain in your knees during any of these poses.