If you are like me, stuck in an over-strained body with multiple sports and body injuries at an young age, read on!
Knee injuries is probably one of the most common sports injury. I have a torn menisus and torn ACL hence running long distance and on uneven/slope-y terrains gets quite painful for me. Yoga is great in this case, as it is really versatile – you can adjust the poses accordingly to suit your body conditions, and it is really holistic too – it exercises your full body and the different parts of the muscles which you can’t achieve entirely while running or pumping weights in the gym.
What is meniscus?
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage located between your shinbone and thighbone. Each knee has two menisci. A torn meniscus may cause pain, swelling and stiffness. If certain yoga poses are performed without proper alignment, your meniscus is at risk for injury. Specific poses, meanwhile, may speed up the healing process after you suffer a torn meniscus.
What is ACL?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the key ligaments that help stabilize your knee joint. The ACL connects your thighbone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). It’s most commonly torn during sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction — such as basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.
Here are some of the poses which you can do to strengthen your quads, inner thigh (adductor), outer thighs (abductor) and hamstrings, and without straining your knees.
1. Warrior Poses
To come into the pose, step your feet wide apart, while extending your arms out to either side. Your feet should be roughly beneath your wrists. Turn your left foot in about 30 degrees and your right leg out 90 degrees. Keep your torso upright as you bend your right knee. Make sure your knee does not go beyond your ankle and toes: Keep the shin vertical while striving to bring the thigh parallel to the floor, so the leg is bent at a right angle. If the knee goes beyond your ankle and your weight shifts into your toes, widen the distance between your feet. Turn your head to look out over your right fingertips.
Proper alignment of the knee in the warrior poses automatically gives the vastus medialis a healthy workout. Now you can apply these same actions to the straight-legged poses like trikonasana, in which working the vastus medialis consciously is more challenging.
3. In general – Standing Poses
Standing poses in yoga that are performed with one or both of the knees bent can strengthen the areas surrounding the menisci. Lunge positions where the knee is bent halfway and aligned with the ankle will reinforce the cartilage, ligaments and tendons around the knee.
Do note not to lock or hyper-extend your knees when doing any of the poses. Other than that, while strengthening your leg muscles and be aware of your alignment while doing the asanas, have fun and remember to smile 😊