Healing the knees with yoga

I’m in my third phase of P90X2, and the P.A.P. Lower routine has a lot of explosive movements that have been putting a bit of stress on my knees.  So I’ve done what any good yogi would do, and turned to yoga to help the problem before it got out of hand.

I learned how to do this from Brad Waites during my last yoga conference in Toronto in 2012.  The workshop was called healing the hips and knees with purna yoga, or something to that effect.

What you need:

  • 1-1.5″ dowel rod
  • yoga mat
  • blocks (optional)
  • blanket or towel (optional)

Start on your yoga mat, and stand on your knees.  Lean forward slightly, place the dowel rod as much behind your knees as possible, and then sit back toward your heels.  If this puts too much pressure on your feet you place a blanket on the mat for extra cushion.  Using your hands or blocks for support, bear as much weight as you can stand on the dowel rod.  Take nine deep breaths in this pose, and then come up.  Roll the dowel rod about an inch further down, and repeat for another nine breaths.  Repeat that process once more, being sure the dowel rod stays on the calf muscle at all times.

I’ve practiced this myself a couple times this week, and in my Monday and Wednesday classes so far.  It’s amazing how light and airy your knees will feel while walking after this.

For the second asana you’ll need to place the dowel rod at the top of your mat, and roll the mat all the way up.  Then head to the wall, and sit in janu sirsasana a with the mat underneath the knee of the straight leg.  Adjust your distance from the wall so that the ball of the foot is touching the wall, knee bent, and the heel is away from the wall.  Place your hands next to your hips, inhale, and then exhale engaging your quad, straightening your leg as much as possible, and driving the back of the knee into your mat.  Do that nine times total on each side.

You won’t really feel a stretch in either pose, so don’t think you’re doing it wrong if you don’t.

It’s always best to listen to your body to know your limits, but on occasion our ego can get the best of us.  Sometimes we reach a little too far to get into a pose, and we ignore the pain in our knees.  It’s not good, but it happens.  Try adding these couple poses to the beginning of your practice, and let the healing begin.

If you’d like to see the yin yoga variation, check out this article from Bernie Clark.

As always, consult your doctor if you’ve got some serious knee issues going on before starting this.

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