Yoga for Tight Hips and Knee Injuries

Gwen Lawrence by Gwen Lawrence | June 28th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

Mother, father and daughter doing yoga

If your hips are tight, it makes sense that you increase the likelihood of injuring your knees. Running, jumping, pivoting and acrobatic endzone catches or goal shots put a lot of pressure on the hips.

Let’s stop and think for a moment: If you get hit on the football field, for example, the energy of the body hitting you has to be absorbed somewhere in your body. And if your hips lack suppleness and don’t give in to this energy at all, then the energy will go to the point of least resistance — the very vulnerable knee joint.

A flexible hip will not always avoid a devastating knee injury, but it will help a lot! So let’s talk about keeping the hips open and a safe for long life for your knees.

The yoga poses I recommend below will:

  • open the hip in external rotation, which will also involve the glutes
  • work internal rotations to help avoid medial (MCL) strain
  • stretch the groin and inner thigh
  • address the hamstrings
  • elongate the quadriceps
  • deepen the elasticity of the hip flexors

Tight thigh, hip and calf muscles are possible causes of overuse knee injuries. We want to open the hips and release an essentially locked-in pelvis to relieve the knee. Aside from protecting the knee, having open hips will free up your stride and improve your form for more efficient movement on the field, court or mat. Also, let’s remember the formula for power yoga for sports: strength + flexibility = power. So strengthen these muscles of the hips, too.

Yoga poses for hip flexibility:

Finally, here’s a helpful mantra I always tell my players: Sports create imbalances in the body because they are one-side dominant, so it is your job as an athlete to tune in and address your imbalances every day!

Practice yoga with Gwen Lawrence on!


  1. Thanks for sharing wonderful information related to yoga poses. Its will be really helpful.

  2. After doing Iyengar and some vinyasa yoga styles for 16 years then on and off yoga at home (but not consistent) I found a great school in my area that offered what I thought was a well rounded yoga class: yoga, meditation and philosophy. Within 2 months of taking 2 to 4 classes per week I noticed a knee injury. The school is big on not hyper-extending the knees so I don’t feel this was the problem. 3 months later the injury had not gotten better and prevented me from doing Balasana, Pigeon Pose, low squats, Virasana and some other poses. I did notice my hips seemed extremely tight and started wondering if having very tight hips could cause such an injury. It seems my medial meniscus has a slight tear according to my doctor. Do you have any thoughts on whether this could have been the result of my tight hips? I think I need to hold hip opening poses longer just to get the same result other students get. Thank you for your time:)
    Peace, Kerry

    kerry | January 2nd, 2015 | Comment Permalink

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