Yin Yoga for Knee Health

Select one per category (front, back, inner and outer leg lines).  Begin holding the shape for 1 minute.  Work up to a 3 or 5 minute hold. 

Yin is about coming into a shape, relaxing the muscles as much as possible, and holding in stillness for a duration of time.  This will give you a deep muscle stretch along with a healthy stress for the fascial tissues as well, making them stronger.  In turn this will increase the stability around the knee joint.

Remember to use props to help you hold the shape for a longer time.  The more comfortable you are, the easier it will be to relax the muscles and the longer you will be able to remain still in the shape.    

Practice this along with light exercise like walking or my favorite rebounding (mini trampoline) along with strengthening with one-legged balancing, squats and usage of the resistance band (lateral band walks).

Outer Leg Line

  • Reclined Figure 4 = Rest on your back with your knees bent and feet a comfortable distance away from your hips.  Take one leg and rest the ankle on top of the opposite thigh, just below the knee.  If you do not feel any stretch sensation in the raised leg, add a block under the grounded foot to elevate it.  Repeat on the other side.
  • Wind-shield Wiper Legs = Begin resting on your back with your feet wider than hip distance (if using a mat, take feet out to the edges of the yoga mat or just slightly off the mat).  Drop your knees over to one side.  Support one or both knees with folded blankets or blocks under them.  If your knees went to the right side, the left leg will be the one receiving the outer hip stretch.  Repeat on the other side.

Inner Leg Line

  • Butterfly = Wide diamond shape with feet away from your body.  Add blocks or pillows under knees for support.  It is your option to stay upright or lean forward.
  • Single-legged Butterfly = Extend one leg out at a time, relax the entire leg (you will see the foot turn outward as the leg releases any effort).  Take the other leg into a butterfly position.  Again, stay upright or fold forward.

Back Leg Line

  • Caterpillar = Sit on some height under your pelvis.  Extend your legs forward and relax them.  If knees are not comfortable, roll up a towel or thin blanket and place under knees for support
  • Saddle with rolled blanket = Position blanket as close to behind the knees as possible and sit back on your heels or sit on a block positioned between your feet.  After a duration, move the blanket a little further back to get more into the calves. (https://yinyoga.com/yin-yoga-for-the-knees/)

Front Leg Line

  • Side-lying quad release = Set up props to help hold your thigh parallel to the floor as you grab hold of your foot/ankle or use a strap.  The hip is in extension, so the knee travels behind you as you increase the stretch of your heel to your glute.
  • Lizard = Your front foot is turned outward slightly and positioned wider than your shoulder.  The back knee is supported so you can sink your hips down comfortably to feel the release in the hip flexors. 
  • Supported bridge with legs extended straight on the mat = More relaxed version to get into the front of the thigh.  Start in a supported bridge shape (block or stack of blankets under pelvis) and straighten out one leg at a time.  If you do not feel the release in the front of the hip, increase the height under the pelvis. 

Looking for a guided video? I have yin and also yin yang fusion videos available for rental! https://carolbaileyyoga.com/yogavideos/