I've been doing some YouTube yoga classes at home during lockdown.

It feels really good but a lot of the classes I've done involve doing the Chair Pose / Utkatasana... and theres something about it that really doesn't agree with my knees.

I don't have any other knee issues and was doing plenty of squats and lunges in the gym before the lockdown.

It may be that I'm not doing them properly (it really doesn't feel natural when Im doing it) so I'd rather just leave them out until I can go to some yoga classes in real life.

Are there any other similar poses that I can do instead that are less risky on the knees? I suppose I could just do bodyweight squats in place of them, but would rather stick to some form of alternative yoga pose if possible.

3 Answers 3


I have the same issue -- lifting up off the heels has made my knees feel better but we might have different knee pathologies. Maybe also try shifting your weight forward or back to emphasize either the quads or glutes, or moving the feet wider/narrower. Perhaps also sit higher or lower.

Other poses that work the same muscles would be any sort of lunge (warrior 2, crescent, etc) whereas a replacement in the flow itself may simply be standing pose or malasana (does that hurt your knees?)

  • Thanks, interesting! I seem fine with lunging exercises like Warrior etc... I'm starting to think my VMOs might be weak (this seems to be a recurring problem for me). I've started strengthening it so will have another go at the chair pose soon and see how I get on.
    – user34523
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 8:20
  • 1
    Good luck! Bad knees are the worst. I did read somewhere that the diagnosis of "weak VMOs" is being replaced by "weak quads" in general.
    – 900edges
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 13:58
  • Ah yeah I've read that too! I do sometimes find though that I can literally 'feel' the VMO being weak though if that makes sense... like when I kneel down on the floor, the muscle feels like it is weak and lengthened but then feels better with some strengthening
    – user34523
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 19:14

This is a really intense pose. For developing awareness of the knee joints, increasing synovial fluid within them, and developing the ability to contract and strengthen quadriceps in a simple way, consider doing the lower body practices of the Pawanmuktasana Series Part 1 as outlined in the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda.

The series guides you to move all joints from toes to hip in a systematic, mindful way with breath synchronization. It helped me during a time where my knees were becoming arthritic and I thought I might have to stop running, yoga, and martial arts.

After the series, I found an immense improvement in my knee conditions and was able to pursue more advanced asanas with awareness and control and resume my martial arts practice, as well.

The APMB reference is available for free viewing on satyamyogaprasad.net or via the APMB app.

  • Are you associated with that site? You are allowing to advertise sites, where it's relevant as an answer, but it's good practice to disclose your association, or this might get removed as spam.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 11:30
  • 1
    @SeanDuggan I attended training at the school that maintains the site. It's just a reference site with yoga books and videos. There is no commercial/paid content on it (at time of writing this comment).
    – kaanchan
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 1:11

From when I was working out and doing any sort of movement involving my quads and getting pain around the knees, it was because my quads were tight and I didn't foam roll them enough. I would recommend giving that a try. Foam roll and stretch for like a minute or more at least where you feel really loose in the quads.

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