Sunday, October 23, 2005

Forgotten Knee Pain Remebered in its Absence

A few nights ago I taught a yoga class that was primarily focused on stretching the quadriceps and hip flexors. These are the muscles on the fronts of the legs and pelvis.

We explored postures like thunderbolt pose (vajrasana), hero pose (virasana), reclined hero pose (supta virasana), reclined half hero pose (supta ardha virasana), and various lunges (banarasana).

After class I noticed that I had no pain in my right knee. What a great feeling...the absence of knee pain!

[Note: Here's an important instruction. If you experience knee pain while performing any of the poses listed above, you should stop immediately. Make appropriate adjustments so that you can practice these poses without pain.]

So, there's a great yoga tip. If you've got a sore knee, try a good series of poses that warm up the hips and legs, and stretch the quads and hip flexors. You might find out that, like me, the soreness leaves you.

But here's the puzzle that really made me think as I drove home from class:
Why didn't I notice my knee soreness until it went away?
Stump the teacher. I don't really know why. But I'm guessing two things got in my way: lack of awareness and laziness.

I had coffee Friday morning with my Dad. He was talking about a pain about which he said, "I've been living with it so long, I forgot I had it." That sums it up for me!

We humans have a tremendous capacity to sort through ideas and phenomena and immediately ignore the ones that aren't useful or seem to get in our way.

Patanjali says "the posture of yoga is steady and easy." But sometimes I practice yoga poses with ego gratification in the driver seat. When that happens, I'll do anything to accomplish the pose, even if it hurts. That's not yoga.

That's why regular practice of savasana, the corpse pose, is so important. In the absolute stillness of that pose you become more senstive and aware. And that sensitivity and awareness can be carried over into the more vigorous poses and your life off the mat, too.

When you're sensitive and aware, you're more likely to notice your knee pain AND notice that you've been ignoring it, or blocking it out.

I know many really great techniques and tips that are effective for eliminating knee pain. But I'll be honest with you. Sometimes I'm lazy. I know what to do, but I don't do it.

The awareness I gain from yoga also helps me to slow down and see clearly when I'm being lazy, too.

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

Kevin Perry

p.s., Here's my standard disclaimer. I am not a doctor or other health care provider. This information is not intended to be medical advice or diagnosis. You should seek medical advice and diagnoses from qualified licensed health care providers.

p.p.s., I am qualified to help you learn and remember the Sanskrit names of yoga poses. Look at the yoga poses named above. Vajrasana means thunderbolt pose. It looks and sounds almost like virasana, the hero pose. In both poses, your legs are folded under you. In vajrasana, you sit on your heels. In virasana, your feet are wider apart, so you sit on the ground between your feet.

How do you keep it all straightened out in your mind? Mostly by association. You associate new ideas with ones you already know. We'll do lots of that when we get together for the Experience Sanskrit workshop.

Our next workshop date is in Dallas at the Surya Center for Yoga on November 5. It's coming soon. So register at before the price goes up to $60. The four-hour workshop is fun. And you get a 100-page companion course guide to use and take home with you. Register today.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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