How to Relieve Knee Pain with Yoga Blocks

This entry was posted on Aug 27, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.

Yoga Blocks Alleviate Knee Discomfort

Having spent most of my yoga teaching life in Utah, the place that touts the “greatest snow on Earth,” I’ve hosted a lot of dedicated skiers in my classes with various knee issues. Movement restrictions tend to fall into two camps: those whose knees don’t flex very far and those whose knees feel painful when the knees are flexed and the thighbones are externally rotated in seated poses, as in Sukhasana (Cross-Legged Pose). I’ve observed that if someone experiences one type of knee pain, they usually don’t have a problem with the other.

In the first case, sitting on Yoga Blocks, Yoga Blankets and Yoga Bolsters to elevate the pelvis in seated poses where the knees are in simple flexion, usually does the trick, because their knees can bend less. I’m going to focus on the second case here.

As with the first case, alleviating knee pain from flexion and external rotation is pretty simple. Most of my students respond to well simply to placing blocks under their knees, as in the photo. Elevating the knees lessens the pull of the Sartorius muscles on the inner thighs and knees, and can relieve what I believe to be stress on the anterior cruciate ligaments that can cause knee pain in some seated poses.

If you find that blocks help relieve knee discomfort in Sukhasana (pictured above), here’s a list of other poses that could benefit from the support of a block or blocks under your knees:

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Bound Angle Pose)

Janu Sirsasana (Head-of-the-Knee Pose)

Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus)

Can you think of any? Please let us know how you’ve used blocks to support cranky knees.

If you’d like to see more uses for Yoga Blocks, as well as how to use Hugger Mugger’s other premium props, please visit the Yoga Props Guide.

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

One response to “How to Relieve Knee Pain with Yoga Blocks”

  1. Avatar Perry Towle says:

    In this article you asked, “Please let us know how you’ve used blocks to support cranky knees.” I have some wedge shaped leg blocks that support my knees and hips nicely, but I find that I have to sit up at least 4 inches off the ground so my hips are higher than my knees.

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