Overcoming Yoga Knee Pain
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Hello & Happy Wednesday!!
As much as I love my yoga practice, I find the practice to be more challenging during the cold winter months. First and foremost, it’s hard to organically find the motivation to hit the mat when it requires you to put on yoga pants in frigid cold temperatures, but once I get into the studio I find my zen again and regret even contemplating not going.
For others whom are not yoga instructors nor experience that same pull to get on the mat it may be even more of a mental hurdle just to get on the mat. Believe me when I say, although I love my practice I totally understand and identify with the struggle. I too experience periods of “yoga droughts” where you won’t see me in a studio for weeks, and that’s perfectly ok! Sometimes that drought can stem from not wanting to get out in the cold coupled with issues of joint pain.
I never experienced discomfort in my yoga practice, but as I’ve become a well seasoned yogi the aches and pains become more frequent especially amidst the fall and winter months. My knees in particular will become achy, so much that it has the ability to create limitations in my poses and even prevent me from staying in the moment during class.
Whether you realize it or not, yoga has the ability to offer more than just a work out, but it can be a chance to regain your sanity(especially during the holiday months), remove the day’s worries and allow us to arrive in the moment. When I’m in any pain, I don’t gain the full experience of my practice. I use essential oils, tea, get regular massages, but sometimes I have to opt for alternative options such as ThermaCare® HeatWraps and Advil® Tablets.
I recently tested ThermaCare® HeatWraps and although its something I wouldn’t typically use, it worked seamlessly to mitigate my knee pain pre and post class. The wrap is comfortable, doesn’t leave any residue on your skin, provides heat for 20-30 minutes, and can even be worn during a class or while you’re running errands due to the thinness of the product.
Many natural pain creams have minimal ingredients, with mint being a main component, but the products don’t have the ability to mitigate pain to make anything you’re doing more manageable. I found ThermaCare® HeatWraps to be a great alternative that provides ample heat versus the typical pain creams through the use of patented heat cells that penetrate deep to increase circulation and accelerate healing. When experiencing pain post yoga class, I use a Thermacare knee patch and supplment with 2 traditional Advil®Tablets if warranted as nothing is stronger on tough pain among OTC pain relievers. Use as directed.
Everyones approach to managing pain is a personal preference, but with these two items I’m able to continue with my regular practice, with no side effects and can even wear the band during class if needed.
Find these products at your local Walgreens
Reclining Hero Pose
This is one of my favorite poses I use to wind down after doing a lot of knee focuses poses. It aims to relieve any lingering tension in the joint and stretch the muscles so the pain is minimal post class.
• Come into Virasana. Exhale and lower your back torso toward the floor. First lean onto your hands, then your forearms and elbows.
• Once you are on your elbows, place your hands on the back of the pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks by spreading the flesh down toward the tailbone. Then finish reclining, either onto the floor or a support blanket or bolster.
• Use your hands to press your front ribs down slightly and lift your pubis toward your navel. This should lengthen your lower back and lower it toward the floor. If it does not, raise yourself onto a higher support. Then lay your arms and hands on the floor, angled about 45 degrees from the sides of your torso, palms up.
• Do not, however, allow the knees to splay apart wider than your hips this will cause strain on the hips and lower back. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
• Gradually extend your stay to 5 minutes. To come out, press your forearms against the floor and come onto your hands. Then use your hands to lift your torso into Virasana. As you come up, lead with your sternum, not your head or chin.
If your front ribs jut up sharply toward the ceiling, its a sign of tight groins, which pulls your front pelvis toward your knees and causes your belly and lower back to tense
• Stretches the abdomen, thighs and deep hip flexors (psoas), knees, and ankles
• Strengthens the arches
• Relieves tired legs
• Improves digestion
• Helps relieves the symptoms of menstrual pain
If you have any serious back, knee, or ankle problems, avoid this pose
Pigeon Pose with Revolve Variation
When you’re pain is minimal, this post is perfect to stretch the muscle to be more limber for other poses that heavily involve the knees. I like that it has the ability to stretch the muscles surrounding the knee and with other muscles involved it lessens the weight burden on your knees.
• From downward facing dog, bring the left leg up into a down dog split. (pictured above)”
• Bend your left knee and bring that knee to the floor outside the left hand while releasing the front of the right leg to the floor. The left shin may angle back towards the right hip or be more parallel to the front of your mat, depending on your flexibility.
• Square your hips towards the front of your mat.
• Bring your torso down into a forward bend over your front leg.
• Continue squaring your hips and breathing into the tightness. Make sure the top of your back foot keeps pressing down into the mat and pointing straight back.”
• Release your bent leg curl your left toes under and step back to downward facing dog. Repeat pose on the other side. Keep a folded blanket under the hip of your bent leg to make the stretch more manageable
• Bring bent leg more parallel with the hips
• Begin to drop from the waist up over your bent leg eventually with arms stretched out.
• Deepen the twist by threading the arm of the same leg that is bent under the other arm”
• From Pigeon Pose, bring your right elbow to the outside elf your left knee, palms together in prayer position, and twist to the left from deep in your belly.
• Come out of the twist, and repeat on the other side.
• Knee injury, meniscus or ligament injury.
• Sacroiliac joint injury – due to the opposing action of the legs in this pose which may increase strain across the joint.
• Increases external range of motion of femur in hip socket
• Lengthens hip flexors
• Prepares body for backbends
• Prepares body for seated postures
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Use as Directed.