Today’s question comes from Joe via Email
First off, thank you. I discovered your videos on YouTube and am a fan. I was doing yoga with you for a bit and found out I would need knee surgery. I tore both meniscus and the ACL in my right knee.
I had surgery on the 27th of March and it seems to be going well. I wanted your advice on when I could do yoga again or if I could do it with avoiding certain postures. The breathing, the movements, everything about it helps me calm myself.
If you could come up with something or give me your guidance it would be greatly appreciated.
First of all you know that I am a Ph.D. and not an M.D. so of course you will need to get the advice f your surgeon on when you can return to yoga and physical exercises. Your surgeon will also be able to tell you which movements are good to do and which ones are contraindicative – in other words which ones you should avoid. If your surgeon has not told you this you can ask your surgeon this at your next follow up. Rather than asking about yoga just ask about what movements are good for exercise and what movements to avoid during exercise because they may not know anything about yoga!
Once you have the OK from your surgeon then we can talk about your injuries and moving forward. The ACL is the joint on the inside at the front of your knee. It prevents your knee from bending too far forward. Meniscus create shock absorption and cushion the thigh bone. They allow for gliding between the upper and lower leg bones rather than grinding. Menisci can be damaged from trauma, overuse and degeneration. Usually it is the medial meniscus that gets damaged more than the lateral. This injury is usually referred to as “wear and tear” of the knee. If you are experiencing pain going up and down stair and clicking with pain – this is cartilage moving against bone. Both the ACL and meniscus benefit from strengthening the muscles around the knee.
One exercise I like for strengthening the muscles around the knee is squatting with attention to alignment. Place a yoga block between your knees so that your ankles, knees, and hips are in a straight line. Sit back as though you are sitting down into a kindergarten chair. Make sure you are bending from your hips, not your knees and that you can see your toes. This will strengthen the muscles around your knees and teach you proper muscle mechanics.
I currently have a short video on yoga for knees (20 minutes) and I’m working on a longer one right now with even more exercises!