Yoga Poses to Protect Your Knees

Adina Crawford smiles as she demonstrates Fire Log pose

If you struggle with pain or discomfort in your knees, you’re not alone. Your knee joints withstand a large amount of pressure from running as well as regular daily activities.

According to The Berkshire Independent Hospital, Runner’s Knee is one of the most common sources of pain and discomfort in runners and is thought to be caused by an imbalance in the muscles that support the knee.

Studies show that yoga can reduce pain and stiffness in your joints while improving mobility and posture. Some research demonstrates that a regular yoga practice improves walking speed in older adults by improving overall mobility.

To lessen or reduce knee pain, try these five yoga poses to help strengthen the knee area and support muscles around the knee joint.

 Adina Crawford demonstrates toe squat pose

Toe Squat


Strengthens your ankles and feet, and provides an overall excellent ankle stretch.

How to do it:

Begin in a tabletop position, with hips over knees, shoulders over wrists and a flat, neutral spine. Your hands can be spread wide like pizza slices.

Bring your feet together. Slowly walk your hands back towards your knees and lift your knees while shifting your weight to the balls of your feet.

Press into the ground with equal pressure from your pinky toe to your big toe.

Move your hips towards your heels. Place your hands on the outside of your feet. Hold for one to three minutes.


If you have achy knees, place a blanket under your knees for added support.

 Adina Crawford demonstrates chair pose

Chair Pose


Strengthens the hip, knees and ankles and helps to protect the knee joint.

How to do it:

Stand tall, and bend your knees, keeping them over your ankles. Shift your weight into the back of the heels, keeping your spine straight, squeezing the thighs together.

*optional lift the chest, engage the core.

Reach the arms up with palms facing each other. Draw the shoulders down and back. Bring your gaze forward.

Hold the pose for one to two minutes


Bring the arms parallel to the floor or place the hands at heart center.

 Adina Crawford demonstrates firelog pose

Figure four (on your back)


Hip mobility, strengthens the hip joint and knees.

How to do it:

Begin by laying on your back. Keep your head and neck long and your gaze up toward the ceiling.

With a slight bend in the knees, lift the right leg up and extend to the ceiling, flexing the foot.

Place the left ankle above the right knee (never on the knee).

Engage the abdominal muscles for stability.

Rotate the bended knee out away from the body for a deeper opening in the hip area.

*Optional: place the arms overhead for a deeper stretch.


Instead of extending the right leg up toward the ceiling, place the right foot on the mat and place the left ankle above the right knee. Bring your arms down by your side.

 Adina Crawford demonstrates fire log pose

Fire Log Pose


Opens the hips, strengthens the hips, legs and calves.

How to do it:

Begin by sitting in a comfortable seat with both sits bones holding equal weight.

Keep your hips parallel to the edge of the mat with your chest lifted and the spine long. Begin to sit cross-legged and slide the right shin forward.

Bring the ankles over the knees, perpendicular to the spine.

Bring the right foot across the top of the knee, and flex the foot. The hands are placed on top of each thigh, palms face up. Hold for one to two minutes. To come out of the pose, extend both legs long in front of the body.

Switch sides by repeating the pose on the left side. Hold for one to two minutes.


If the pressure is too much on the hips simply come into a comfortable seat with the legs crossed with a block under each knee for added support.

Adina Crawford demonstrates legs up the wall pose

Legs up the Wall


Improves circulation in the legs, reduces inflammation and reduces stress on the knees.

How to do it:

Begin by laying on your back. Elongate your body, with your head and neck relaxed on the mat.

Draw your knees up to your chest, then extend the legs up toward the ceiling. Flex your feet and engage your core.

Interlace your hands behind your legs, and bring the legs closer to your torso. Bring your gaze up to the ceiling. Hold for two to fifteen minutes.

You can also complete this exercise with your legs resting against a wall.


Use a strap under the feet for support. Take each hand and hold the end of the straps. If you have lower back concerns, fold a blanket and place it under the lower part of your back.

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