We've heard many people ask, "Is it safe to do yoga with my knee problems?"
Whether the knees are arthritic or injured, Bikram yoga will definitely
help. Bikram Choudhury actually healed his knee, which was crushed by a 300 pound
weight, with his guru's help doing yoga. You must move the knees to get
circulation to them, and Bikram's yoga helps you do both.
Make sure to listen carefully to the alignment instructions in each
posture. When you are told to keep your feet parallel in standing
postures, please do so. A half inch in either direction away from
parallel has its effects all the way up the knees and into the hips.
In standing balancing postures, it is also important to keep the
standing foot straight and the standing knee pointing straight ahead. If
your knee bows back (hyperextension) you should bring the weight
forwards towards the toes so as to engage the quadriceps muscle ("lock
the knee") and lift the kneecap upwards. This action brings the leg into
one line and brings true strength to the knees.
When you are bending your knees in any of the standing postures, keep
the knees pointed over the toes. This will ensure that the knees and
hips are strengthened evenly inside and out.
In triangle, when you are told to push your hips forward as you bend
your front knee, this will keep your hip in line with your knee in line
with your foot. This is also good for even strengthening of hip and knee
In some of the standing postures, it might be very difficult to bend
your knee to a 90 degree angle. So do the best you can without creating
pain. Better to keep proper alignment bending 1% than to go 100% in poor alignment.
In the floor poses (fixed firm, half tortoise and rabbit), it might be
difficult for you to bend your knees enough that the hips sit on the
heels. To test your knee flexibility, keep lots of weight in your hands
and bend the knees gradually to the point (but not past) of pain. You
must be able to relax and breathe in the posture, holding it steady, for
anything to happen. As the pain decreases and you start feeling more
comfortable, you can gradually take the weight out of your hands and
allow more pressure on the knees. Eventually you'll be able to go all
the way into the posture, and you won't even remember the time when you
couldn't even sit down!