Practicing yoga asana is a great way to get the physical body strong and flexible, stay fit, as well as foster mind-body balance amongst many other benefits.
There are many ways to make the physical yoga practice more accessible; using props like blocks, straps, and bolsters is one of the most common ways to adapt the yoga practice, but we can also find other creative ways to do so.
Keeping the practice closer to the ground is a wonderful way to bring the practice to people that may have challenge with standing up or staying balanced, and kneeling poses are a great option to achieve this.
In this article, we want to share with you 16 kneeling poses that you can incorporate into your practice to not only make it more accessible, but to find new ways to explore and have fun when practicing yoga asana.
In this article we will share:
- Considerations before practicing kneeling poses
- Props to support you in kneeling poses
- 15 Kneeling poses to try
- A practice with kneeling poses
Let’s dive right in!
Considerations before practicing kneeling poses
Kneeling poses can be a great way to keep the practice closer to the ground and make it more accessible to those that may have challenges with their equilibrium or in order to create a more grounding, relaxing practice by staying closer to the floor.
It is important to also mention that being on the knees may not be possible for all folks, especially for those with knee sensitivities or problems.
If you’re a yoga teacher, get creative and consider other shapes that can benefit your students without having to be on the knees, and also consider some of the props to relieve knee pressure in the section below.
Props to support you in kneeling poses
If you would like to practice some kneeling postures yet you notice that it isn’t very comfortable for you, try these options and props to relieve some of the sensation, and perhaps allow you to practice kneeling poses with more comfort.
1# Using a blanket
An easy way to alleviate pressure on the knees is by placing a folded blanket underneath them, folding it as much as you’d like.
2# Using a towel
If you don’t have a blanket handy, consider doing the same with a towel in order to give your knees some support in kneeling poses.
3# Buying a thicker yoga mat
If you’d like to invest a bit of cash, there is a wide variety of thicker yoga mats (they are usually 5 to 6mm as opposed to the traditional 2 or 3mm mats) in the market that can bring you the comfort you need when practicing on your knees.
4# Double-folding your yoga mat
Another easy way to diminish the chances of painful knees when performing these yoga poses, is by simply double-folding the mat on itself, and placing your knees on the thicker area.
5# Using a kneeling pad
Nowadays you can either make your own DIY kneeling pad from an old fitness or yoga mat, or you can purchase one of these to find comfort when practicing yoga postures on the knees as well as for a wide variety of other purposes.
15 Kneeling Poses to Try
When you’re ready to practice some kneeling postures, here are some for you to get started!
1# Balasana (child’s pose)
Child’s pose is a kneeling posture that is grounding and lengthens your spine while opening your hips at the same time, relieving tension in your pelvis.
2# Bharmanasana (table top pose)
Table top pose is also known as hands and knees pose, and is often practiced as an alternative to downward facing dog pose for those wanting to stay closer to the ground.
3# Uttana Shishosana (puppy pose)
Puppy pose can also be an alternative to downward facing dog. This kneeling pose stretches the entire spine, upper back, shoulders, and arms. It also opens up the front body and abdominals.
4# Dandayamana Bharmasana (balancing table pose)
To challenge your balance in a playful way, explore balancing table pose: from table top, extend your right leg back and hover your toes, creating a straight line from your hip to your heel.
If you feel steady, extend your left arm forwards and floating it off as well, breathing for 3 to 5 breaths.
5# Anjaneyasana (low lunge pose)
Low lunge is a great kneeling asana to release hip tension, stretch the hamstrings, quads, and groins, and builds strength and flexibility in the legs.
You can use Anjaneyasana as a variation for high lunges and warrior poses, and for extra accessibility, bring blocks under the hands.
6# Parsva Balasana (thread the needle pose)
Thread the Needle opens your shoulders, neck, arms, chest and upper back, making it a complete upper body stretch.
If your shoulder doesn’t reach the floor, try placing a block underneath, bringing the ground up to you.
7# Ardha Hanumanasana (half split pose)
This preparatory pose stretches the back of the front leg, but it can also put a lot of pressure on the back knee, perhaps use a soft support underneath it.
8# Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose)
A quad stretch that also alleviates low back tension and can help calm the mind, this kneeling posture can be made more accessible by placing a block in between the heels and sitting on it, soothing any excessive pressure on the knees.
9# Ustrasana (camel pose)
Camel pose is a front-body opening posture, also known as a heart opener. To keep pressure off the low back, bring your hands right onto it, or bring your hands down to blocks instead of reaching for the heels.
10# Parighasana (gate pose)
A great side-body stretch while also stimulating your lungs and internal organs, gate pose is a kneeling posture that can add some variety to your practice.
Contemplate creative ways to explore gate pose with blocks and other props!
11# Vygharasana (tiger pose)
A balancing backbending position, tiger pose can be very fun to add into your practice.
Keep in mind that grabbing the foot is not necessary, but if you want to play with it, you can also use a yoga strap to bridge the gap.
12# Virasana (hero pose)
Similarly to thunderbolt pose, to add comfort and have less pressure on the knees, practice hero pose by sitting on a yoga block or even a bolster between the heels.
13# Mandukasana (Frog Pose)
Frog pose is a deep and intense stretch for the inner groins, and it can be quite uncomfortable for many yoga practitioners.
To make it more accessible, bring your torso over a bolster or a pile of pillows, or practice half frog pose instead.
14# Kapotasana B (Pigeon Pose B)
This pose is a deep backbend that requires a decent amount of spine flexibility and we highly encourage you to try it with an expert teacher. It can also be practiced with the assistance of a yoga wheel.
15# Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2 with the knee down)
For those wanting to practice warrior 2 in a way that is more accessible and closer to the ground, try a variation where, more similar to Anjaneyasana, the back knee remains down, making the pose more stable.
The arms still open up to the horizon in a t-shape.
16# Ardha Chandrasana (half moon with the knee down)
Our last fun kneeling pose for this article is this variation of half-moon pose with the knee down.
To access the pose, come to table top position, and begin to extend your right leg back, keeping your toes on the ground at first.
Pivot your left foot to the left, and ground your right heel to the ground.
From there, start to hover your right toes, and as you breathe and find stability, consider lifting your right arm up toward the sky, stacking the right side body over the left.
Take 3 to 5 breaths before returning to table top position and repeating this kneeling asana on the other side.
A practice with kneeling poses
If you would like to practice some of the kneeling poses shared in this article, we recommend that you try this class with Mercedes, which you can find for free on Youtube.
To get the most benefits out of this practice, have some props handy to explore the variations offered in this 50-minute kneeling poses hatha yoga class.
There are many kneeling poses in the yoga practice that you can incorporate and gain many benefits from.
For those with knee problems or who’s knees have a tendency to feel tender or even hurt, there are props that you can use in order to make these kneeling poses more accessible.
Yoga teachers and practitioners can find creative ways to access kneeling yoga postures in order to adapt the practice to each individual and add fun and new asanas and transitions into their yoga routine.
To learn more about adaptive yoga and ways to make the yoga practice more accessible, check out this article.