Monthly Focus - The knee (tibiofemoral joint)
- Exploring the relationship of the upper and lower leg in yogasana.
- Create stability and alignment of knee joint in yogasana.
- Techniques to stop hyperextension of the knee joint.
- The knee joint allows for flexion, extension and some internal/external rotation.
- Hamstrings flex (bend) the knee and create hip extension.
- Gastrocnemius, the bulging part of calf, flex (bend) the knee and plantarflex the foot.
- Quadriceps extend (straighten) the knee. One quadricep (rectus femoris) also creates hip flexion.
- Stability of the knee joint is directly related to the strength and flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue that cross it.
Questions to Ponder
- How can I get my hamstrings and quadriceps to engage simultaneously?
- Can I get all the muscles above and below the knee to engage simultaneously?
- Is it possible to both stretch and strengthen the hamstrings at the same time? Is this true for other muscles? All muscles?
- In the relationship between my calves and hamstrings which muscle group seems to dominate the other?
- If my knees hyperextend does the weight fall more to the ball or heel of my foot in standing asana? What happens at the knee if I press more with the ball of foot? The heel?
- What can I learn about the knee and it’s function by exploring the elbow and muscles above/below it?
Basic notes for practicing Ashtanga and vinyasa yoga.
- Hold each asana for 5 - 10 breaths (Inversions should be held longer if comfortable)
- Coordinate breath and movement
- Breathe freely through the nose
- Do not force body or breath!
- Enter and exit the poses methodically
- Right side is traditionally performed first (If a single knee is bent that typically designates the right side)