Rehab therapists working with knee injury patients can use yoga training to rehabilitate and to maintain their patients' strength and flexibility even when they cannot stand. View a demonstration of these techniques in this free video on yoga positions and therapy.
Hi there, I'm Jennifer Parker, Owner and Director of Fluidity Dance and Yoga. And today, I'm here to teach you some rehab steps that use Yoga positions in order to rehabilitate people that might not be able to stand yet or to rehabilitate people that might need some help with knee injuries. Depending on what you're going through rehabilitation for, you'll need to adapt these exercises as needed. Now, if you or your patients are able to stand, then, this is a really great Yoga routine to help strengthen the knees and the legs as well as elongate the spine. First, have your Yoga patient start off by dropping their chin as they inhale. Then, drop in the shoulders and slowly going through the spine to look at the knees. They'll exhale as long, as soon as they get here and they're forward fold. Now, if your patients can't reach all the way down to the floor, that's fine. You can always touch wherever it's most appropriate. Obviously, we don't want to overdo these, we're going through rehabilitation. So, just go to the limits of your body. Now, from this forward fold position, there's several poses that you can do that are beneficial for strengthening the knees in particular. The first one is a Triangle Pose where we'll inhale and walk the hands forward with one of the feet and stretch another one of the feet back. And as we exhale, we'll look at the knee that's in front of. Now, if your patient isn't flexible enough, they can bring their hands down by their feet. You can always bring your hands up here to your knees or your leg. If your patients are more advanced, they can always try for a flat back, kind of this pose where you can bring your arms out in front of you or even clasping your arms together. Now, when we're going to get out of this pose, we can just walk right back into our forward fold and exhale. From our forward fold, we can also go into the Chair Pose. We'll inhale, going through a nice flat back and as we exhale, we'll push our hips back, bringing our arms forward so that we make a squatting position or it looks like we're sitting on a chair. We want to feel a nice oppositional fold between our fingers and our hips. Now, to practice deepening your Chair Pose, you can inhale, touching the palms and stand up nice and tall and as we exhale, going back down into our Chair Pose. Now, depending on you or your patient's level of ability, you might not be able to stand yet. So, you might need to use some basic Yoga practices to work on being able to stand. So, let me go down to the mat to show you how some of those might work now. So first, a very basic Yoga position would be the Corpse Pose where you're essentially just lying with your feet slightly apart, with your hands nice and easy down by your hips. From here, patients can start to work different parts of their body and or just lengthen their spine and start to work up the muscles they need for walking. They can start by inhaling, bringing their hands above their head and exhaling as we feel a nice bolt between our feet and our hands which lengthens the spine. And then, we'll inhale, bringing our hands back and exhaling to relax our shoulders down on the ground. We can also inhale bringing a knee into the chest for our wind releasing pose and then of course, we want to try it on the other side too. So, we can inhale, releasing one leg; as we would exhale, bringing the other knee to our chest. And now, if your patient is able to sit up, I would recommend using the sitting up forward fold and that could be done in several different ways. You can first bring your patient's arm above their head as they inhale and then, as they exhale, point the toes as we fold over the legs. This is just one of many sitting forward folds. You can also flex the feet, bring the hands down by the side and try for a nice diagonal position for a flat back. Also, you can take the hands up high above the head and as we exhale, just bring them to the outside of the feet as the feet are flexed for a forward fold this way with the shoulders nice and rounded. All of these move are great move to help strengthen the back of the knees as well as to improve flexibility and muscles of the legs. Now that you know just a few poses that are great for focus needing rehabilitation, I encourage you to seek and explore and modify other Yoga poses. Yoga is a great way for re, to rehabilitate the muscles and the joints. I'm Jennifer Parker with Fluidity Dance and Yoga. Namaste.