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Yin Yoga for Knock-knees (valgus)

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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1117
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 12:48 am    Post subject: Yin Yoga for Knock-knees (valgus) Reply with quote

Recently I was asked the following questions:

I have recently begun the practice of Yin Yoga and found your site very helpful. Thank you for sharing and putting it together. Its a great resource! My personal practice is Ashtanga Vinyasa and I have been practicing regularly for three years. I have slight knock knees and have now developed mild degeneration in knee joints. Doctor says the degeneration is not so much as to cause pain but its too much practice and pressure on mid line, and owing to my bone structure I experience this pain. I could sit in padmasana and now I find Janu shirshasana also difficult! My inner thigh is extremely tight- I can still not get my head down in a pra sarita padmottanasana...which is surprising given the flexibility of the rest of my body. My external rotation of hip due to my bone structure is also poor.

I have been trying frog recently regularly and developed a pain in my legs feeling it on the side of hips and in my shin bone even more...staying in hot water bath tub helped relief and after 2 days I was okay.

I would like to know what you would recommend to someone with knock knee:
1. Is frog safe for me (My shin bones after a little while hurt in this pose).
2. Is there any other way for me to also open my inner thigh and groin?
3. Could my knee pain be related to too much stagnant energy in this groin/ inner thigh region?

Many Thanks, S

As you know, S, everyone has their own unique anatomical shape and it is the shape of our bones that ultimately dictate how far we can go in any posture. The curve in your legs which cause your knock-knees (technically called valgus) is not something that yoga will change. Given that, it is up to you to change your yoga to fit the reality of your body. Awareness of your uniqueness is the start and you have already taken that important first step.

Your doctor has already made you aware that, due to the alignment of your knees, you will tend to compress the medial (inner) knees a lot, especially in standing postures. It makes sense to try to counteract this constant compression inward with stressing the knee in the opposite direction, so postures like Frog are a good idea. However, since Frog is painful for you, I would suggest either modifying the posture so your shins do not hurt, or trying other postures. There are always other ways to work a targeted area. On this website you will find a description of Frog Pose which includes some variations you can try to allow your shins to stop hurting. Soft blankets under the knees may be helpful as well.

Like you I had great difficulty with the Prasarita Padottasanas: but I found after a few months of Yin Yoga, and specifically the Straddle Pose this became available to me. I think that you will find Straddle Pose is very valuable for your knees: you may experience a nice tugging along the medial collateral ligaments on your inner knees and as long as this is not painful, it may help to counter the constant compression that you have been experiencing there. So, you do not need to only do Frog! Add the Straddle. It will also help you to open your inner thighs and groins. You can sequence the Butterfly and Half-Butterfly into your practice before trying the full Straddle.

Another option is to try a Yin Yoga form of restorative yoga for you knees which I have described in a Newsletter Artcile called Yin Yoga for the Knees. This may also help to rehabilitate your knees.

I hope these ideas work for you. Let us know how it goes.
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Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your reply. I will definitely try your suggestions and let you know if I observe positive changes.
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