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Flex or Point?

 
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Yogatoko



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:48 pm    Post subject: Flex or Point? Reply with quote

In my teachertraining I have learned that flexing your foot (for example in Pigeon) saves a lot of trouble in your knees. Yesterday, I went to Bikram yoga where they said in Danurasana to POINT the feet in order to save a lot of trouble in your knees...

What are your experiences?

Kim
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:39 am    Post subject: What's the point? Reply with quote

Hi Kim - Sorry for the delay in responding: better late than never!

I am not a Bikram teacher and am not familiar with that style of teaching, so perhaps some Bikram teachers out there can explain the rationale for that particular piece of advice? I can offer some ideas as to why you may want to flex the foot, however, while in certain hip opening poses such as Pigeon.

In an article I wrote recently (see Nurturing Knees) I talked about how when the knee is bent (flexed) the lateral ligaments become lax which allows twisting of the tibia with respect to the femur. Flexing the foot tends to tighten the knee joint which adds some support, reducing the amount of twisting possible, thus diminishing the risk of damage to the knee. Try it yourself and see: Sitting on a chair, hold the knee and repeated flex and release the foot and see if you can feel the engagement of the muscles and the tightening around the knee. Then, try pointing to the foot and see the difference! For me, when I flex, I feel the knee joint becoming tighter, especially along the sides, but when I point the foot, I don't feel any change there.

My personal preference in dhanurasana is grabbing the ankles and flexing the foot over my hands so that I can engage the legs more firmly. Many beginners or less flexible students, however, can not grab their ankles and so must grab the tops of the feet, which means they have to point their toes - they don't have a choice. In the more advanced version of dhanurasana, urdhva dhanurasana (aka: upward facing bow) the feet are fully flexed, so why not work towards that in the regular version?

Cheers
Bernie
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