How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

Oooooh the knees, such a sensitive topic for myself and SO MANY others.

Whether you practice yoga, avidly run, bicycle, or simply walk (which we all do), the knees are the center of attention. They literally work in almost every moment – bending, stretching, supporting, moving, and grooving.

And because they play a vital role in all that we do, it’s imperative that we protect, nurture, and love our knees…..

Don’t you agree?

As someone who’s genetically prone to sensitive knees, I find myself OVERLY protecting them during a yoga practice. I’m the girl who either has a blanket, extra mat, towel, two blocks, possibly a foam roller…. yup, that’s me, the yogi with a small fortress built around her mat.

…..the more props the merrier in my practice!

It wasn’t always this way though.

Related: Back to Yoga Basics – How to Use Yoga Props

In the beginning of my yoga journey (only a mere 4 years ago), I attempted to shy away from my knee sensitivity by not acknowledging the aches and pains. I figured since no one else in the studio used props, why should I break down and use them?

Sadly – I believe many new yogis experience this same thought process.

Like what the hell are those weirdly shaped objects, where do I put them, how do I use them, and can’t I just focus on making the foreign yoga shapes? 

I get it.

Props are weird (at first).

But once you get over the checking each other out stage, I URGE YOU to move into the dating stage with yoga props….especially when we’re talking knees!

Below are 6 opportunities to protect your knees during your yoga practice. The options for knee support are endless and only confined to your imagination, so please incorporate props whenever they touch down.

In the pictures below I’m using two helpful props:

  • The Sukha Mat – incredibly efficient, super supportive, and easy to roll up into your yoga mat.
  • A blanket – versatile, super supportive when folded correctly, and doubles as a blanket for naps.

1. Low Lunge

Low lunge or Anjaneyasana is a wonderful all-over posture – it works on flexibility, balance, and strengthening all at the same time. But the one catch is – your knee is down!

Regardless of how thick my mat is, my knees still feel it during this pose! Does anyone else experience this?

Anyway, whether you’re simply holding low lunge, taking a twist, or moving into a quad/lizard stretch, the knee should be protected here!

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

2. Tabletop Postures

Tabletop postures like cat/cow, sun-bird, heart openers, and core work are very common in yoga classes…. like across the board every yoga class.

In this instance, either both or one knee supports the weight of your body.

Support your precious knees by either placing a blanket, extra towel, or a prop (like The Sukha Mat) underneath them.

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

3. Camel Pose

Oh camel pose, I have such a love/hate relationship with you.

One moment you’re cracking open my heart, helping me release tension, and overall making me feel like a badass….. and the next moment I’m experiencing shortness of breath, lower back cramping, and knee aches!

The struggle is real.

While we can’t solve the shortness of breath or back cramping in this post, we can easily solve the knee problem.

Related: Camel Pose Yoga Practice – Build Your Confidence in Backbends

If you’re not a prop lover or your studio doesn’t own any, I recommend folding your mat over and doubling up on support. Simple as that yogis!

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

4. Child’s Pose

Child’s pose or Balasana is a univeral posture that is practiced in almost every yoga style, yoga culture, and yoga location.

It’s THE POSTURE we all know and love. 

It’s become a second home to me, a space where I instantly feel safe, where I can let it all go, where I catch my breath, or where I reconnect and refuel my soul.

But when the ground beneath me is hard as hell and my mat is thin as hell…..can you guess the next scenario?

My child’s pose is no longer a sacred space, it’s now uncomfortable and a bear to experience.

Cue the props yogis and your knee problems can be solved! Now to soften and open those hips of ours, then we can start melting into the ground beneath us.

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

5. Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose is another class favorite and a posture that people can instantly feel the results (whether it be delightful or a bit painful – LOL).

In this pose, we ask and expect a lot out of the front knee – it’s bending at an extreme angle, it’s supporting the base of the posture, and then we lay our chest down on top of it….

Seems a bit unfair, but so it goes. 

To help ease the knee experience, either place a blanket, towel, or The Sukha Mat underneath it.

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

6. Frog Pose

And lastly but definitely not least in the knee supportive department is….. FROG POSE!

First off, this yoga pose is an INTENSE hip opener, like rip your legs apart and stretch your inner workings out type hip opener. And the last thing you or I need in such an intense moment is knee pain (ain’t no yogi got time for that)!

For this pose, I have two tips:

  • Fold your blanket like the below picture so both knees are supported.
  • If a blanket is inaccessible, fold both ends of  your yoga mat into the center to create double padding.

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

How to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

Yogis – I hope your knees are starting to feel the LOVE. And if you’re still scratching your head, my main takeaway is – USE PROPS.

Never be afraid or too shy to build a fortress of support (both in the studio or at your house). Yoga props have one purpose – to help your body better experience a posture. So please, let the props do their jobs!

Until next time – xoxo.

Hey! I’m Allie.

I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.

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If your practice has waned, if your yoga journey feels lonely or you like the way I share yoga’s teachings, then this is where you need to be. Join me once a month, for free, to practice yoga as a community.