We do not always consider the complexities associated with knees unless you have actually suffered or sustained an injury. The knee is the single most delicate joint of the human body, responsible for our ability to move freely, walk, stand, pretty much everything! In yoga, there are so many postures which affect this area, which if not practiced with awareness and alignment can cause more harm than good. Many of us currently suffer from some orthopedic problem, be it Arthritis, Anterior Cruciate, Meniscal and Collateral Ligament tears, Stress Fractures, Osgood-Schlatter Disease, Runner’s Knee, etc.
Yoga is a wonderful way to help strengthen knees, in that, there is an opportunity to understand your knee anatomy a little better. While practicing, there is a chance to relieve pain, tone the surrounding muscles which attach to the the distal portion of the Femur and Proximal portion of the Tibia and Fibula. The overall make-up of the knee is comprised of a handful of very important ligaments, a floating bone (Patella) and Synovial Fluid to keep the joint lubricated and functioning properly. So when you actually put it together, a few ligaments, some fluid and floating bone, is responsible for our very ability to walk!! It’s pretty mind blowing when you think about it.
Which brings me back to my point…
There is no room for error when it comes to the delicate nature of our knees. In the practice of yoga, there are several yoga postures to help strengthen the knees such as Lunges, Warrior Poses, Standing Balancing Poses, as well as poses to help create flexibility such as Pigeon Pose, Lotus Pose, Fire Logs (Double Pigeon), Child’s Pose and others. There is however, one key ingredient, which facilitates a smooth and supportive experience during practice. And that my friends, is the oh so amazing SukhaMat!
The SukhaMat yoga knee pad is a tool best used to support the knees, in addition to other areas of the body which are bit more superficial such as the ankles, tail bone, cervical bones, elbows, pelvic bones and tops of the feet! The SukhaMat allows you to get “Knee Deep” in beneficial postures such as Lunges, with one knee to the floor, Camel Pose, Child’s Pose, Cobra pose, and other’s, in which the knee is directly on the mat and hard surface. In addition to the SukhaMat, there are other props to use to support ones practice, which includes, straps, blocks, blankets, bolsters and chairs. All of these elements, create a solid practice, rooted in alignment and health of the body along with strength, flexibility and balance.
When it comes to the complexities of the body and nuances of a yoga practice, it best to practice with patience, learn the art of listening to your body, be mindful of your limitations and accept exactly where you are in your current level of physicality and yoga practice. Injuries happen even while practicing yoga, simply because we want to do more than what our body is prepared to do at any given time. One of the main benefits of practicing yoga, particularly if you have a health concern, is that yoga can be used as a healing tool. Yoga can be used as a means of assisting the body in it’s ability to heal.
Practice wisely, use yoga props, be mindful of injuries and accept where you are, so that you may enjoy the growth of your yoga practice!