12 Kneeling Yoga Poses [Sequence & Safety]
Table of Contents
- 12 Kneeling Yoga Poses For Your Practice
- 10-Min Kneeling Yoga Sequence
- How to Keep Your Knees Safe
- Wrapping Up
Kneeling yoga poses establish the perfect balance of ease, strength, and flexibility, and they are not only versatile but great for beginners. Practice them as your warm-up, cool-down, or stand-alone sequence.
12 Kneeling Yoga Poses For Your Practice
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
You can use this foundational kneeling pose to begin and end your practice. Child’s Pose helps to ground you and brings deeper awareness to your breath while simultaneously opening the back, neck, hips, thighs, feet, and ankles.
If you find yourself straining in this pose, consider resting your forehead, palms, forearms, or triceps on a block.
Table Top Pose (Bharmanasana)
This yoga pose on hands and knees teaches proper, basic alignment. You can use it as a transitional pose throughout any sequence, and it can also be considered a krama (stage) to more advanced postures, including yoga arm balances.
Table Top Pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, lower back, and core.
Cat Pose and Cow Pose (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
The movements of Cat Pose and Cow Pose are a natural progression from Table Top. These two beginner-friendly kneeling poses help to enliven the entire spine while stretching the shoulders, chest, abs, hips, glutes, and pelvis.
Use these poses to reset the body in between intense postures, just as you would a connecting vinyasa.
Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
Low Lunge Pose allows you to focus on one side of the body at a time from a kneeling position. With the back knee on the ground for stability, this pose provides a deep stretch that helps to open hip flexors while improving mobility.
Puppy Dog Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
This kneeling asana with forward lean adds a stretch component to Child’s Pose by reaching the arms forward and elevating the hips.
Puppy Dog Pose helps to improve your posture by lengthening the spine and stretching the shoulders and chest. You can rest your forehead or chin on the mat, depending on the flexibility of your neck.
Balancing Table Pose (Dandayamana Bharmanasana)
After finding proper alignment in Table Top Pose, challenge your balance with this posture that will work your arms and legs while strengthening your core. Practicing poses on one knee helps you build deep strength in the whole body.
You may choose to embrace stillness in this pose or test your balance even more by pulsing the lifted arm and leg up and down.
Thread the Needle Pose (Urdhva Mukha Pasasana)
Thread the Needle is one of the most satisfying yoga poses on your knees. This posture helps to stretch and strengthen your back, neck, and shoulders, which can hold tension due to stress and day-to-day activities.
Your hips, glutes, and thighs will also benefit from this simple twist. Add intensity and challenge your balance by extending one leg and lifting it off the ground.
Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)
Also called Half Monkey, this kneeling pose is typically more accessible than full splits. It invites a deep stretch through the hamstrings, hips, and low back.
You may flex the front foot for a more intense stretch in the calf. Use blocks underneath your hands to help maintain spinal extension as you deepen the forward fold.
Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)
A popular choice for meditation, Thunderbolt pose involves quietly sitting on your knees to calm the mind and align the body.
This posture is great for both new yogis and long-term practitioners. It stretches the feet and ankles and serves as a foundation for more advanced variations of kneeling postures, such as Ustrasana. Explore other seated yoga poses to diversify your practice.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
This intermediate-level, kneeling backbend can be easily modified by placing the hands on the lower back to support the spine and minimize any straining. Camel Pose strengthens your back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes, while stretching your shoulders, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, and quadriceps.
Gate Pose (Parighasana)
This kneeling lateral stretch opens the entire side body, including the muscles in between your ribs, for deeper breathing and better posture. Gate Pose challenges your balance and is great preparation for side planks. It also deeply stretches the lats while strengthening the feet and ankles.
Related article: 13 BFF 2-Person Yoga Poses—Try Them With Your Bestie!
Hero Pose (Virasana)
Virasana is considered a more intense yoga pose to practice on the knees. Before entering it, warm up the hips, thighs, ankles, and feet. If your knees are sensitive, sit up on a block or firm cushion.
10-Min Kneeling Yoga Sequence
- Child’s Pose — Hold for 1 minute.
- Table Top Pose — Hold for 30 seconds.
- Cat Cow Pose — Alternate between each posture five to ten times (approx. 1 minute total).
- Balancing Table Top Pose — Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
- Low Lunge Pose — Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
- Half Splits Pose — Hold for 15 seconds on each side.
- Gate Pose — Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
- Hero Pose — Hold for 15 seconds.
- Camel Pose — Hold for 15 seconds.
- Puppy Dog Pose — Hold for 30 seconds.
- Thread the Needle Pose — Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
- Thunderbolt Pose — Hold for 1 minute.
- Child’s Pose — Hold for 1 minute.
Use YogaGo, a yoga app to find complimentary yoga sequences that pair perfectly with this kneeling practice.
How to Keep Your Knees Safe
Many people find yoga kneeling poses more accessible than standing postures, but they can still take a toll on your joints. Here are some ways to stay safe while in a kneeling pose:
- Use knee pads, a towel, firm cushion, or blanket underneath your knees and shins.
- Alternatively, you can tri-fold your mat or double it up for extra cushioning.
- Do not put all of your weight on your knees. Depending on the pose, press into the tops of the feet, the toes, or the palms, and engage your core.
- Use a block or bolster to elevate the hips in poses such as Hero, or place one underneath the thighs, forehead, arms, or belly to create space in postures like Child’s Pose..
- Place a blanket or bolster underneath your thighs in a kneeling yoga pose like Thunderbolt.
Use caution or avoid doing a yoga pose on knees if you:
- are recovering from knee injuries or have had recent knee surgery
- have arthritis or severe osteoporosis that affects your knees
- find it difficult to get up from a kneeling position without assistance
- have back, neck, or hip issues, or if you are pregnant, especially when practicing kneeling yoga poses incorporating backbends such as Camel Pose
- Kneeling yoga poses are more challenging than some seated postures but less intense than standing asanas.
- An on-the-knees pose can be passive, like Child’s Pose, or more active, like Camel Pose.
- Use props to make kneeling poses safer.
- Some people should avoid or use extra caution when practicing yoga poses on the knees.