Just Tried This Yoga For Knee Pain Workout – Here’s What Happened

If knee pain is slowing down your exercise routine, this 20-minute yoga practice might be your answer to a stronger set of legs and knees. My annoying knees jumped (well, almost) when trying this at-home yoga class, and I wasn’t disappointed. The routine comes from YouTube sensation Cat Meffan, yoga teacher and founder of Soul Sanctuary (opens in a new tab)and aims to strengthen and stretch the knees, glutes and hamstrings in a compact class.

“From my personal experience as a yoga teacher and someone who has had their fair share of knee injuries, I know all too well how yoga can both benefit and hinder your knees,” says- she. “When we think about strengthening the knees, we need to strengthen the muscles around them. The knee joint is surrounded by many big and beautiful muscles, but two of them will help your knee to become stronger and more stable: the glutes and hamstrings.

Find out what causes knee pain and the best knee strengthening exercises and what happened when our fitness editor tried this yoga for beginners with the Adriene workout. Or, read on while I plant on one of the best yoga mats, channel my inner yogi, and try this yoga for knee pain workout.

What is Cat Meffan’s Yoga for Knee Pain Workout?

This 20-minute yoga flow is short and sweet. Over time, the stronger your glutes, hamstrings, and quads become, the more stable your knees will feel. Yoga may not promise pain-free knees, but it can help relieve pain and strengthen the muscles around the knee joint.

“This video can also relieve back pain,” says Meffan. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to what you should or shouldn’t do, but as a general rule, in the event of an injury, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a medical professional.”

You can find the full workout via Meffan’s YouTube channel below, with step-by-step cues and alternatives for each asana, but I’ve summarized some key points to follow, which should paint a picture.


This routine begins as many yoga classes do – in a child pose. If you find it difficult to bring your butt to your heels, you can place a yoga prop or cushion underneath, then rest your forehead on the floor. This is the perfect opportunity to slow down your breathing and connect the breath and the body (a key principle of yoga). Meffan then guides you to a tabletop position, instructing you to kick back for a slight calf and hamstring stretch before generating heat using Pilates-Esque gluteal pulsations.

Then, a must down dog. Not only does this activate the back of your legs, but it also provides a gentle stretch in your upper back and shoulders. Meffan adds pedaling through the heels before going through some balances to challenge your core stabilizer muscles (including your glutes) and general lower body strengthening; it involves going through a series of warrior III(and again) by adding a few pulses to the mix.

Throughout the course, you can expect a similar series of strengthening exercises (like Goddess Posesimilar to a sumo squat), followed by short bursts of pulses and gentler, lengthening stretches. Yoga workout for knee pain ends with a forward seated fold, straight legs. If it is uncomfortable for your back, you can lie down. Meffan then invites you to close your eyes and focus on your breathing – lovely.

Just Tried This Yoga For Knee Pain Workout – Here’s What Happened

Yoga for knee pain has generated a lot of interest, with research – like this study in Frontiers (opens in a new tab) — indicating that yoga can improve muscle strength, flexibility and functional mobility. As we age, knee pain will likely get worse if left untreated, so yoga could be the low-impact lifesaver we all need.

Although this routine is lunge-free, Meffan warns that lunges are a common trigger for knee pain in yoga. While great for stretching the hip flexors and quadriceps, it also adds pressure on the knee joint. She recommends extra padding and accessories if you plan on doing them and adds, “push the top of the back foot down into your mat, activating the glutes and taking weight and pressure off the knee.”

What’s my verdict?

To be honest, I expected yoga for knee pain to be a bit boring. I had (somewhat prematurely) assigned a restorative class to involve lying on my back in extended stretches while scrolling through my phone. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how difficult it was.

It is fluid and dynamic, incorporating leg and glute pulsations to improve strength. Knee and lower back pain often stems from tight hamstrings and weak glutes, so I was happy to see the focus on isolating the knee and, instead, stretching and working those underused muscles. Plus my quads and glutes were on Fire — Warrior III’s one-legged balances are a slow, endless killer.

Could this class build the legs of my dreams? Maybe. I felt mentally calm and physically flexible after this yoga class for knee pain, gliding around my apartment with noticeably energized and flexible legs and open hips. Regular practice will definitely improve strength, but if the goal is to have toned and sculpted legs, I recommend adding regular resistance training and a healthy diet into the mix for good measure.

Next: We tried Kim Kardashian’s glute workout, here’s what happened, and these are 11 of the best abs workouts.

Meffan Cat

With a 600 hour qualification under her belt, Cat has additional expertise as a sound healer, breath coach and retreat facilitator. She is also the founder of the online platform Soul Sanctuary.