For the hero inside of you and for healthy, happy knees.
Hello again…well baby boy is napping again…which feels like a miracle…and speaking of miracles a wonderful article was contributed to the True Yoga Blog by Christian Leeby…the developer of miracleofyoga.com. Thank you, Christian, for this insightful and very informative article.
I know from being pregnant last year that extra weight on the body, plus stairs, can cause issues with knees.
So, what pose have I been practicing to help with relieving any knee issues and promoting overall health to the tendons and joints of the knee? Vajrasana or Hero Pose. It’s in incredible pose and it is one of the 26 poses Bikram Yoga recommends to restore and maintain the health of the knees. If you have suffered from any type of knee discomfort, there is hope and relief, and, it’s not in meds or surgery. It’s in the healing practice of Yoga…a practice that won’t wear out your body, but, will restore your body and self to optimal health and well-being.
Here is the article…I hope you enjoy it...
Yoga is made up of hundreds of postures, or asanas. These various postures are categorized into groups, according to what movements they emphasize in the body. There are standing poses, twists, forward bends, backward bends, inversions, etc. In each category you have easier poses and more difficult ones. Ideally in the beginning we start by learning the easier poses and over time work into more advanced ones. That is a smart, methodical way to learn Yoga.
In each category of Yoga poses, there are easier postures that are better for learning and practicing the important movements for that category. Learn the correct alignment points, movements and actions in a fundamental pose well, and the more difficult poses will eventually come better.
In the category of seated Yoga poses, Vajrasana is a fundamental postures that should be considered important to master. Vajrasana means thunderbolt, and it is the classic kneeling position with the hips sitting on the heels. Although it is clearly a basic pose that raw beginners should practice, it is considered impossible by many yogis who have knee and ankle problems.
If the ankles are your issue you’ll know because you may be able to sit back onto the heels, but you won’t be able to completely sit straight and upright. When you sit straight you have all of the weight of the upper body pressing on the feet, which emphasizes the stretch of the ankles. Many people are tight in ankles, and it’s easily overcome. Simply roll a blanket and place it under both ankles. If you still can’t sit straight make the roll fatter until the feet are comfortable when you sit. Here’s a quick video showing you exactly what I mean.
For those of you who have knee problems the answer is equally simple. Put folded blankets on the heels. Stack them up as high as you need to be able to sit back on the blankets, sit completely upright in the spine, and be comfortable.
Having addressed the two solutions that will help almost anybody get into Vajrasana, let’s look at the other basic actions to learn and practice.
Sit straight. Look ahead at eye level so the head and neck are straight. Be aware of the crown of your head and align that point straight over the tailbone. Take your time, adjusting the trunk so the spine is as straight as you can make it. Then notice the sitting bones. This is more subtle, but nearly every time you kneel in Vajrasana one sit bone will be heavier than the other. That’s because of basic imbalances in the hips (pelvis) that everyone generally has, all of the time. Make the buttock bone that feels lighter descend, so both sitting bones have exactly the same pressure on the heels. Lift the spine all the way up through the crown of the head. Roll the shoulders away from the chest, so the top chest gets wider, broader, and descend the shoulder blades down the back.
Kneel in Vajrasana for 1 – 10 minutes. If you do have knee or ankle problems take your time and work with the modifications you need. If you can’t be in this pose comfortably after trying both of my suggestions then you shouldn’t do the pose. A poorly practiced kneeling pose will only hurt already unhappy knees and ankles. But if you can get the pose comfortable then it is absolute gold for nearly all issues with the feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, and thighs. You can sit quietly in the pose and enjoy the silence available in a simple seated posture, or you can do various arm positions like gomukasana, urdhva hastasana, garudasana arms, and paschimanamaskarasana.
When you come out of Vajrasana take your hands to the floor in front of the knees. Remove all props from around and below the legs. Then tuck your toes under, bring your hands next to your knees, and stand in Tadasana the Mountain Pose (standing straight). If your feet are asleep after kneeling in a comfortable Vajrasana, that’s normal and experienced by everyone who sits in the pose for longer than a short while. In that case lay on your back and stretch the legs away from the trunk while extending the arms overhead, and within no time you’re feet will be refreshed.
Christian Leeby is an expert on the correct alignment in Yoga poses. Visit his website at www.miracleofyoga.com