Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More Knee Pain?

My friend Michael sent me a text message yesterday (while I was watching StarWars: Episode 3--Revenge of the Sith in the theater). He told me that the SITA advice I gave about knee pain a few days ago didn't work for him. SITA stands for "shins in, thighs apart." (You can read that message at http://experienceyoga.blogspot.com/2005/05/get-on-track-to-eliminate-knee-pain.html .)

Of course it didn't work! The fact that it didn't work is not simply bad luck for me and Michael.

It simply means that if you apply a solution in a situation where the cause of the problem is not known, it may not work! That's the bad news. The good news is, there aren't an overwhelming number of causes. The solutions are few in number, too. So, sometimes trial and error is a pretty good way to go. Believe me, if this yoga stuff was hard to figure out, I wouldn't be doing it.

As I mentioned in the first message, I find that if you have pain in the symmetric standing poses, working with SITA often helps right away. But sometimes the pain is more of a problem in the assymetic poses, like triangle pose, warrior 2 pose, and side angle pose.

triangle pose, utthita trikonasana, with ball of foot elevated on quarter-round prop Posted by Hello

If you experience knee pain in those poses, you might want to begin your trial (and error) experiment by elevating the ball of the foot on the side that has knee pain. For example, you can put the ball of your foot on the front leg side, in triangle pose, just a few inches up on a wall.

Or you can elevate your foot on a block, a quarter round piece of wood, or a rolled up sticky mat.

You should try this even if you don't have knee pain because, in the parlance of Anusara yoga, it helps you enhance your "shin loop" and "ankle loop."

That, dear readers, opens a can of worms that isn't easily dealt with in brief written message.

Maybe I'll start a Podcast. Order your iPod now. But until then...

Suffice it to say that motion is different from action. Motion is easily seen. Action, a bit more difficult.

I can create the continuous action in my arm that straightens my arm; but if my arm is already straight, there's no motion to see! I am nonetheless doing something. I am isometrically acting on the bones and connective tissue of my arm to straighten it.

You can create subtle action that descends weight down the front of your shin so that you roll slightly forward on your heel. If you follow this energetic path around the heel, you then draw the calf flesh up the back of the leg and slightly press the top of the shin forward. That's the shin loop.

I'll save the ankle loop for later. But know that ankle loop also draws weight down the front of the shin and makes the front of the heel bone heavier.

Elevating the ball of the foot makes these two loops easier to feel and do.

When I elevate the ball of the foot in a straight-leg pose, like triangle pose, my leg feels longer, and it's easier to retract the head of my thigh bone into my hip socket without hyper-extending my knee; hence, knee pain goes away.

When I elevate the ball of my foot in a bent-leg pose, like warrior 2 pose, I immediately feel a shift in "pressure" from the knee joint to the belly of the thigh muscle. I feel stronger. I feel more space in my bent knee. And I feel confident in my muscle's ability to hold me in the pose.

You won't know if this works for you if you don't try.


Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., What about bridge pose? Do your knees hurt, right behind the knee cap, whenever you lift your hips off the ground in setu bandha sarvangasana? Help is on the way. Read on. Keep reading on. I'll write about this in a Daily Yoga Tip soon.

p.p.s., I give you Daily Yoga Tips, but understand that none of them constitute medical advice - nor do they replace the advice of your physician. Just my two cents, that's all.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


Anonymous Sydney Physio Newtown said...

Hi Kevin,

I thoroughly agree with your statement: "It simply means that if you apply a solution in a situation where the cause of the problem is not known, it may not work!"

Accurate diagnosis of the problem is crucial to identify the source of any pain and to help prevent or reduce damage or aggravation of whatever is causing the pain.

The health benefits of yoga are well known and correct technique is a vital part of maximizing the benefits of yoga.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Luke Forsyth said...

Most athletes experienced knee pain due to their practice or their live games.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Octavio Campo said...

Most athletes experienced knee pain due to their practice or their live games.

10:40 PM  

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