Here are some knee essentials I synthesized from years of study and practice for or those who have had a knee injury, suffer from over use and or want to enjoying walking for as long as you live! Especially good for high tech professionals who sit most of the day.
The knee is a hinge joint and not meant to move laterally. Please remember key actions to stabilize your knees in all yoga poses and as you move through your days.
Practice these 5 exercises everyday.
1. Foot Flexing –
Sit in a chair
Flex your right foot on your inhale.
Point your right foot on your exhale.
Repeat twenty times.
Do the same with your left foot, twenty times.
2. Knee Alignment Exercise 1
Sit in a chair – with knee and toes face straight ahead.
Place R hand on upper outer R shin, close to the knee.
Place L hand on upper inside of the R thigh, close to the knee.
Spread your 4 & 5th toes to activate your outer shin and knee.
Use the webbing of the thumb and index finger to press your hands and the muscles to the center of the leg.
Takes 3 slow deep breaths.
Repeat on your left leg.
This exercise reinforces lateral stability in your knees. Please think about these actions in your yoga practice and in your day.
3. Knee Alignment Exercise 2
Stand in Tadasana aka Mountain Pose
Bend the knees slightly.
Press the balls of the feet down.
Lift and spread the toes and press back into the floor.
Engage calf muscles and keep the back of the knee muscularity engaged.
Move shins energetically forward
Straighten your legs.
Lift up through your spine
Take your shoulders back
Open your heart to more miracles and love!
This is to assure good alignment front to back, so as not to hyper-extend or collapse in the knee joints. This can be practiced almost anywhere, any time.
4. Utkatasana, aka Skier’s pose –Variation
Bend your knees.
Place your hands on your outer upper shins and press your shins in.
Energetically take your inner thighs apart.
Press the balls of the feet down, spread the toes, and engage calf muscles.
Lift your shoulders up and back.
You want to have the inner and outer thighs engaged.
Breathe and feel for 5 slow breaths.
With proper alignment you are also working the muscles of the outer thighs, hips, abdomen and upper body, quad and buttocks muscles.
Utkatasana is a big powerful pose, with big powerful benefits. Please be patience, find fun and enjoyment during the awkwardness of it all.
5. Garudasana, aka Eagle Pose –
Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and cross your left thigh over the right.
Wrap or hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf.
Balance on the right foot.
(Optional – Cross your arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows.
Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left.
Raise the forearms perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should be facing each other.)
Stay for 5 slow even breathes and unwind.
Repeat for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed.
*You can practice by a wall or counter to touch or clutch on to as your gain more balance.
Standing poses require balance, focus and alignment so you don’t fall down. Standing poses with correct alignment are excellent ways to build stability in your knees. In time your body will hold the strength and intelligence in the tissue of the legs and your whole body.