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Post by vincent »

Are there yin postures to work the knees?
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Post by Bernie »

it depends what you mean by "work the knees".

The knees are a hinge joint (technically, they are condyloid joints, but let's just say hinge joint for now) and are not designed to move in any other direction. However, when the knees is bent, the ligament are lax and there can be some twisting in the knee. This twist will disappear as the knee straightens BUT! if the knee doesn't untwist as the leg straightens problems can occur. One of the reasons we spend so much time paying attention to alignment of the knee in yoga is so that the knee is not twisted when we go to straighten the leg.

Yin Yoga will not increase the degree of twisting that the knee can do. We do not want the knee to move in that direction. As a hinge joint, most people already have enough range of motion in the hinging direction. This is the only direction that the knee should "open" and it usually is open enough.

What may masquerade as a knee issue is usually a manifestation of tight hips. If the hips are tight and a student tries to go into an external rotation (such as found in Lotus or Pigeon/Swan poses) then the pressure goes into the knees. The knee tries to rotate to make up for the tightness in the hips. If there is too much rotation in the knee, the student may end up crushing her meniscus. Not good! Any knee pain is a sign to come out of the pose right away.

If you want to work the knees, work the hips! This can be done with the hip openers mentioned above, or simply by living on the floor at home. Sit on the floor as often as you can. Read on the floor, watch tv on the floor, eat your meals at your coffee table. Living on the floor will open the hips and strengthen the back. Don't worry about how you sit on the floor; move around a lot.

There is one pose that can target the inner knee ligaments (the medial collateral ligament) and that is the Straddle. But, again, if you feel pain in the inner knee, modify the pose.

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