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Level 1/2
30 min

Manage Hyper-Extension in Knees

Hatha | By Jason Crandell on May 04 2012
Learn to manage hyper-extension in your knees by working more skillfully with your feet, quadriceps and hamstrings. This practice will teach your more than to simply micro-bend your knees when working with hyper-extending knees. In particular, the class troubleshoots some common postures that exacerbate hyper-extension such as triangle pose, pyramid pose, standing forward bends and seated forward bends. Its also a great practice for people without hyper-extension that are want to improve the alignment and strength of their legs.


Learn to manage hyper-extension in your knees by working more skillfully with your feet, quadriceps and hamstrings. This practice will teach your more than to simply micro-bend your knees when working with hyper-extending knees. In particular, the class troubleshoots some common postures that exacerbate hyper-extension such as triangle pose, pyramid pose, standing forward bends and seated forward bends. Its also a great practice for people without hyper-extension that are want to improve the alignment and strength of their legs.


  • Allison Gray     Aug 5th, 2014
    This is very subtle work but also quite revolutionary for me! It made me realize how much I lock back my knees in standing (and even seated) poses. I will definitely keep this in mind in my practice going forward. Thanks!
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 7th, 2014
  • Kelsey Ravlich     Jun 29th, 2014
    My mind has been blown. I have always been a hyper extender but was unable to figure out how to engage other muscles to straighten my leg without the knee. Pushing through the ball of the foot like accelerating in a car was an incredible light bulb moment! Thank you so much Jason!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 11th, 2014
      Sure Kelsey! Glad this helped.
  • chris locsin     Apr 1st, 2014
    This is what I have been looking for. I thought there is no solution for hyper extended knees in Yoga. This made me love my practice even more. Love and gratitude.
    • Jason Crandell     Apr 2nd, 2014
      Glad to hear it Chris!
  • Ashley De Lapp     Mar 28th, 2014
    Thanks so much, Jason! Now I finally know how to feel grounded like everyone else seems to in classes - standing/balancing poses were always such a struggle for me with the hyperextension (although weak arches don't help). I do have one question, though. For poses like triangle pose, is there a particular way I should straighten my back leg? I guess it would kind of be the same technique as for the front, right?
    • Jason Crandell     Apr 6th, 2014
      Ashley - So, so sorry for the delay. I managed to miss this question. And, yes, the answer is the same as the front leg. That said, its less common for the back leg to be problematic b/c it doesn't bear nearly as much weight in the pose.
  • stacie quinn     Jan 29th, 2014
    finally…thank you
    • Jason Crandell     Jan 29th, 2014
      Glad you enjoyed this one Stacie, thanks.
  • Tamara Hey     Dec 30th, 2013
    This class was great! I have been concerned about my hyper-extending knees and couldn't figure out on my own how to manage them. Thank you so much.
    • Jason Crandell     Dec 30th, 2013
      Thanks Tamara.
  • MyLinda Morales     Sep 27th, 2013
    Jason this knee class rocked! I am soooo borrowing this info for ASY and YogaU.
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 27th, 2013
      :) Thanks MyLinda!
  • Emily Fitzgerald     Sep 8th, 2013
    Amazingly helpful! The way you approach this and the thought of pulling not pushing would have saved me years of headache as a dancer when I was young. I can't wait for it to help me be a better yogi now!
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 9th, 2013
      Glad you found this helpful Emily. Thanks!
  • Ariele Stromberg     Jul 8th, 2013
    Brilliant, as always! So helpful to think of pulling and lengthening the leg straight rather than pushing the knee back.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 8th, 2013
      Thanks Ariele. Glad this was helpful.
  • Ariele Stromberg     Jul 8th, 2013
    Brilliant, as always! So helpful to think of pulling and lengthening the leg straight rather than pushing the knee back.
  • heather peroni     Jul 2nd, 2013
    thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! awesome reminder.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 2nd, 2013
      My pleasure! Thanks Heather.
  • Kaity Kaity     Apr 5th, 2013
    I am happy there is a way for me to straighten my knees that is healthy. Before I took this class, I noticed how much I liked balancing on one foot, feeling really grounded, and wondered why this could be bad for my achy knees. Now I realize I was probably doing something similar to the instructions you offer.

    Your nuanced instruction gives me some homework I actually want to do, in addition to the physical therapy strengthening work, which always seemed lacking in holistic understanding. Thank you Jason.
    • Jason Crandell     Apr 6th, 2013
      Glad this gives you some fun homework Kaity!
  • Andrea Freely     Mar 29th, 2013
    Excellent instructions here. Do you have any advice for bow legs or knock knees? Thank you!
    • Jason Crandell     Apr 1st, 2013
      Andrea - Working with bowed and knocked knees is pretty different from working with hyper-extension. Hyper-extension being much easier--and, probably more important to work with. This forum is a little cumbersome to describe the work, but I'll try to do an upcoming post that works with it. But, again, I think the curvature of the legs is not something to worry much about.
  • Ann Rago     Nov 5th, 2012
    Thank you for such detailed descriptions! After doing yoga for the past 12 years, I feel like your instruction brought my awareness to a new level. I've never felt my legs work that way before, and I was shocked at how intense and strong it felt. I'm always afraid to push down through the big toe because I don't want my feet to over pronate; however, your guidance concerning the ankles gave me an entire new way to identify what my toes, feet, and ankles should be doing.
    • Jason Crandell     Nov 6th, 2012
      Hi Ann - glad the instructions were impactful and helped you to practice with a newfound awareness. thanks for the comment
  • Maria Buxton-Smith     Aug 21st, 2012
    Jason, thank you. I have a heel spur and some associated problems with my achilles, in addition to hyper-extension of the knees. Triangle pose became a bit of a nemesis for me as it put pressure on my achilles and caused pain around the heel spur (heavens, I do sound like a very deformed person!). I tried this class and felt no pressure or pain. I shall keep practicing this class now.
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 22nd, 2012
      Maria - Yep, each of those things--let alone all of those things at once--can make you wince at the thought of triangle pose. I'm glad that this helps!
  • Jason Crandell     Jul 20th, 2012
    Jennifer - Managing pain may requires a diagnosis that I'm not qualified to give. I can, however, give you a couple pose-specific thoughts that may or may not affect your friends comfort level. She can explore pressing down through different parts of her feet in order to change the weight distribution. She can also experiment with different strides--most likely, she may want to shorten the distance between her feet. She may also explore practicing on different surfaces to if the density of the floor makes any difference. Good luck!
  • Yogui Roots     Jul 19th, 2012
    hi..really nice helpfull...i dont know if you can help me..i have a friend which is very flexible and usually have pain doing standing poses on the soles of the feet..not on fascia but usually on metatarso..any suggestions?what it might be??she always complains on class an she have to stop the pose...thank you..we will wait :)
  • Jason Crandell     Jul 16th, 2012
    Karla- thank you! I'm thrilled this was helpful for you on those levels. Thanks for passing your learnings on.
  • Karla Hoover     Jul 15th, 2012
    This video was not only helpful as a practitioner but as teacher. Jason was able to clearly explain many of the concepts that I try to impart to my students in simple language that anyone can understand. I feel I'll now be more successful at teaching my students how to improve their alignment and leg strength while avoiding hyper-extension.
  • Jason Crandell     Jul 11th, 2012
    Susana - no need to apologize! The IT band affects the knee and the knee affects the IT band, but I wouldn't make a causal link between the IT and hyperextension. I could geek out here a little bit, but, regardless, I don't think that I would make a strong link between the two.
  • susana faria ponte     Jul 10th, 2012
    I need to apologize in question will show how little I know about there a connection between the it bands and hyper extension. Your directions were brillian and helpful..I felt that as I extended the ancles, the lifting up helped my it...out hip region..thank you.
  • Jason Crandell     Jun 17th, 2012
    Rachel - yes, these actions apply pretty well to the back leg in both viras. Regarding the knee cap tracking issue, I'm hopeful that this class will help you. In fact, this is very similar to what I would focus on. Gibpve it a little time and see if it does the trick!
  • Rachel Ridley     Jun 13th, 2012
    Incredible class. So simple but so powerful. As a hyper-extender with knee pain this was so welcome. I assume the same actions - push into the ball of the foot, draw the thigh bones up and pull rather than push the leg straight apply to the back leg in the warrior poses etc?I would love it if you could do a therapeutic class for those of us with knee pain due to problems with the knee cap tracking. Or point me in the direction of some!!Many thanks Jason for sharing your skill and expertise. Namaste
  • Jason Crandell     Jun 12th, 2012
    Colleen - sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't have one handy.
  • Colleen Silan     Jun 12th, 2012
    Wish you had a student with hyperextension--would have been much more helpful
  • Jason Crandell     May 31st, 2012
    Ana- glad to hear this rocked your world! Especially excited this helped you to get more into your body by addressing hyperextension safely
  • Ana Maria Kleymeyer     May 31st, 2012
    Wow! This rocked my hatha yoga world! I've been struggling with pain and alignment issues because of hyperextension for years and have tried a number of adjustments from different sources. None have helped as much as this class. The awareness series at the beginning was brilliant, and I agree with others that pulling up on the ankles and the block behind the calf are genius. I was able to tap into muscular strength and balance that shifted the alignment all the way up to my neck - in part because I was no longer panicing about the tweeks in my knee and hip coming in and out of this posture. I am so grateful and my students will be too - thank you!!!
  • Jason Crandell     May 23rd, 2012
    Bea - Glad this helped you. I can probably address elbows in an upcoming segment, but it will be a few months. That said, you can really treat the elbow very similar to the knee--except, your knee and your elbow face opposite directions. So, usually, you can bring more weight onto the heel of your hand, slightly bend the elbow and pull up through your triceps (triceps are to elbow what quad is to leg.... sort of....).
  • bohyun k     May 23rd, 2012
    This was so helpful - I had difficulty in the back leg in triangle and pyramid to engage both legs not to hyper-extend but the instruction of pushing down the big toe and pulling up through the thigh made perfect sense to me.

    Could you maybe do another similar class on hyperextending elbows too? Thank you!
  • Jason Crandell     May 21st, 2012
    Ellen - this is great! happy to hear you're feeling the subtlety of the quads engaging. best, J
  • Ellen Brindley     May 20th, 2012
    Thanks so much! I can now start to feel that my quads are engaging and the pulling up action/sensation is so helpful. Great sequence!
  • Jason Crandell     May 15th, 2012
    Sarah - thanks!
  • Sarah Hon     May 15th, 2012
    Excellent, thanks Jason.
  • Jason Crandell     May 14th, 2012
    Erica - Yes, you can definitely play with grounding more deeply through the ball of your back foot in trikonasana. If this doesn't fix the challenge, feel free to bend it slightly--just imagine that the back of your knee gets a little softer and this may do the trick!
  • Jason Crandell     May 14th, 2012
    Kelly- happy you found this helpful! Thanks
  • Kelly Feenan     May 12th, 2012
    Thanks so much! Excellent tutorial on leg work even if you don't hyperextend!
  • Jason Crandell     May 9th, 2012
    Hilda - I can relate to the wonky-ness! very happy this was helpful for you. best, J
  • Erica Struble     May 9th, 2012
    So incredibly important for the hyper-extension in my knees. I really liked the description of pulling "up" through the ankles. The block in the calf - utter genius! I had a question regarding the back leg in triangle and pyramid pose. Should the action be the same as the front leg? (pushing the ball down, etc.?) I still feel that I am hyper-extending a wee bit and am wondering how to rectify that. Thanks, Jason. Love this practice. Into the favorites it goes. Om shanti.
  • Fuji      May 8th, 2012
    I have wonky feet, ankles and shins and this practice was so helpful! The focus on the base of the big toe is such a very useful cue, thanks so much!
  • Jason Crandell     May 8th, 2012
    Julie - thanks from me and Kim! Glad you like the outfit. I'll try to wear it more :)
  • Julie Brooks     May 8th, 2012
    Great class. Kim was adorable, a very good sport and very helpful with her movements. Also, Jason, you are wearing my favorite outfit of yours! :)
  • Jason Crandell     May 8th, 2012
    Abby - glad you liked the block in the calf! it's a great tool, right? thanks for practicing.
  • Abby Takarabe     May 7th, 2012
    Trikonasana - block in the calf - genius! Loved the sequence Jason. I delight in your teaching of refinements.
  • Jason Crandell     May 7th, 2012
    Shona- very glad to hear that you found this helpful!
  • Shona Andrew     May 7th, 2012
    I don't hyperextend but thankfully did this class anyway, it's hugely helpful for anyone with any knee trouble.
  • Jason Crandell     May 5th, 2012
    Dar - delighted the blueprints work in your body and mind. best, J
  • Jason Crandell     May 5th, 2012
    Sharon - I'm glad this helped minimize your knee pain. best, J
  • Jason Crandell     May 5th, 2012
    Evelyn - great! happy this helped. best, J
  • evelyn jauvart     May 5th, 2012
    Thank you Jason, having knees with hyper extension, your class was so helpful to me!
  • Sharon Gollman     May 4th, 2012
    Thank you Jason! I am experiencing knee pain not from hyper extension but this practice taught me how to go through the most difficult poses knee-wise, without pain!
  • dar carman     May 4th, 2012
    Thanks Jason, love the blue prints you give us for the body.