Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Yoga & Your Knees

            Yoga is great for building even leg strength v.s uneven leg strength, which is what you get when you  constantly do the same excersise strengthening the same muscle groups. Evenly building leg muscles keeps joints healthy and properly alignes them for stability. To acgieve this Yoga is the perfect task to gaurd against injury and disease or regain strength and flexability after and injury. 

         According to Sandy Blaine, a preventive health consultant, health and wellness writer, and expert yoga instructor, " Yoga is fantastic for the knees especially for people recovering from damaged ligaments.
         Rolfer and Yoga Instructor Michael Salveson explains "Yoga postures strengthen the inner and outer thigh muscles, so they exert an equal pull on the ligaments. This increases the stabilizing action of the leg's big muscles and keeps the kneecap in alignment", notes Salveson in "Yoga Journal." 
Consult a certified Yoga teacher before expairamenting with postures for the knees.

          Julie Gudmestad explains in her Yoga Journal artical "On Your Knees"
"Yoga can either strengthen your knees or blow them out. It all depends on your alignment."
"Yoga poses practiced with conscious good alignment of the leg bones and joints can be a wonderful 
tool for building strong, healthy knees." "Standing poses done with improper alignment can put great 
strain on the knee. The best indicators of knee alignment in standing poses are the relative positions of 
the foot and kneecap. The foot acts like a pointer showing the rotation of the shin and lower leg, while the kneecap shows the rotation of the femur."  Hip joint flexibility can add to the embetterment of the knee joint, the more rotation available to you in your hip sockets the less the knee has to work to find alignment. The hip socket instedcan absorde more. For example: From laying on your back: "Hold your hands behind the left knee and gently pull the legs toward the chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of the right hip, not at the knee. Because the muscles and fascia (connective tissue) of the hip joints are so strong, it may take months of work to improve hip flexibility enough to do Padmasana without knee strain."

She also Advises:
"All these cautions may sound alarming, but you really only need to keep a few simple principles in mind: Always check your alignment, and if you ever feel strain in your knees, back out of the pose and experiment until you feel the stretch in your hips or groins instead. Practiced with care, asanas can contribute to the long-term health of your knees by strengthening your quadriceps, opening your stiff hips, and teaching your body improved alignment and movement patterns that transfer into your everyday activities."
7 Ways to Protect Your Knees in Yoga  From  Catherine Guthrie "Knee Deep in Yoga"

1. Avoid Hyperextending: When joints are overly mobile and flex too far back, they're hyperextended. In the knees, hyperextension often occurs in poses in which the legs are straightened, such as Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), putting an unhealthy tension on the ligaments. If you're prone to hyperextension, keep a slight bend in the knees during standing poses and keep your weight evenly distributed among the four corners of your feet. In seated forward bends, place a rolled-up sticky mat or towel under the knee of the extended leg or legs.
2. Start With Your Feet: Proper alignment through the feet is the key to building strength evenly in the ligaments on both sides of the knee; when all the ligaments are equally strong, the kneecap glides effortlessly up and down and the cartilage doesn't get worn down. Separate your toes and press actively through the four corners of your feet in every pose, even inversions. If your feet are out of alignment, your knees are going to suffer.
3. Keep Your Knees in Line: When moving into deep knee bends, such as Virabhadrasana II(Warrior Pose II) and Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose), first align your bent knee over your ankle, then draw your kneecap in line with your second toe. Maintain awareness in your back foot, pressing down evenly, while lifting up from the arch of your front foot. "If you let the arch drop, the knee falls inside the big toe, and you're set up to suffer a number of different kinds of overuse and acute knee injuries," says Angela Smith, a professor of orthopedic surgery.
4. Tune in to Subtle Signals: "Oftentimes, the knees don't give immediate feedback," explains Iyengar teacher Joni Yecalsik. "Only later do you realize you've gone too far. When it comes to the knees, the sensation that would normally proceed the red flag is the red flag." If you feel achiness when you come out of a bent-knee pose, you may have worked too hard.
5. Build Strength by Balancing: Balancing poses, especially those that require moving through a bent standing leg, such as Garudasana (Eagle Pose), are especially beneficial. "Very dynamic balancing protects the knee against future injury by training the functional alignment, not just working the muscle," Smith says.
6. Be Prop-Friendly: When it comes to seated asanas, nothing makes a tight knee happier than a bounty of props. In Virasana (Hero Pose), try raising your seat with blankets or a block. Anytime the knees are deeply bent, such as in Balasana (Child's Pose) or Marichyasana III (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi III), pressure can be relieved by placing a rolled-up washcloth as far into the knee pit as possible before bending the joint.
7. Warm Up With Hip Openers: "If your big joints aren't open, your small joints will always take the stress," yoga instructor Sandy Blaine says. "Many people hurt their knees doing Lotus when their hips aren't ready." She recommends warming up with hip stretches like Baddha Konasana(Bound Angle Pose) and Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose).

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/388510-yoga-postures-to-help-bad-knees/#ixzz2TvuDsxCk

Catherine Guthrie Knee Deep in Yoga

Julie Gudmestad On Your Knees