Yoga for Healthy Knees. Sandy Blaine.

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I have to admit that when I first skimmed this book, and looked at the poses, I thought there wasn’t much to them. They were all fairly basic, and things that I use in my practice all the time. However, when I took the time to go through each one, reading exactly what she wrote to do and what to think about, I changed my mind. There is a lot of good information, and what I thought were easy poses were actually sometimes quite challenging.

The list of poses is somewhat short so I’ll go through them all here:

  • Staff Pose/Dandasana
  • Not much to say on this one, other than that holding a contracted quad without pressing down on the back of the knee for 60 seconds is not as easy as it sounds. I’ve done this a lot for a few seconds at a time, especially right after surgery, or right after the injury got so bad I could barely walk, but never for 60 seconds.

  • Comfortable Seated Cross-legged pose/sukhasana
  • I did both comfortable seated, and half lotus variations. Before surgery I could do full lotus, but not any more. One hip is obviously tighter.

  • Cross-legged, forward bend
  • Same comments as above. One side definitely needs to be evened out with the other!

  • Half downward facing dog
  • I thought this would be silly since I do full down dog all the time, and really love the stretch it can give on the back of the R knee, especially when bending the left. But this variation, in which the hands are on a wall and you are standing, is really quite good. Just gives different sensations than normal.

  • Seat of Power Pose / Utkatasana
  • This is basically a wall squat — using a wall to support your back. But the number of things to think about with your feet and knees is a lot, and holding it for 60 seconds or more is quite challenging.

  • Tree Pose
  • Not much to say. Standard Tree Pose. I didn’t feel much different than I normally do.

  • challenging balance: eyes closed
  • This is much harder than it sounds. You stand on both feet, hands on hips, close the eyes, and lift one foot slightly. Hold for 10 breaths. She says this is great for overall lower leg support, and I believe it. You can really feel al the little muscles that hold things together firing. 10 breaths is hard!

  • extended triangle/utthita trikonasana
  • Standard Triangle.

  • Warrior II
  • Standard warrior II. But when you take the time to work on all the little things, I can certainly see why the legs/knees will become much stronger and more stable.

  • Warrior I
  • Standard warrior I. Same comments as for Warrior II.

  • Half Frog
  • A simple quad stretch, but I really feel like this is a great knee opener for me post surgery. Sometimes after surgery, the patella tendon can “shrink” or pull in, and I feel like that has happened to mine, since most of my soreness is now under the patella tendon area, on the infrapatellar fat pad.

  • Hero / virasana
  • This is pretty hard for me post surgery. Definitely need a pillow/bolster to sit on. But again, it feels like a great opener on the R knee which is where I had surgery.

  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Just the standard pose, but this is one of my favorites for my knees. It really allows me to see my bio-mechanical deficiensies — the R femur rotating in, the R foot flaying out. I really can work on bringing those back into alignment — at least as much as possible doing soft-tissue work like this.

  • Thread the needle I and II
  • Just a simple hip opener. I’m definitely tight here, and even though these are the basic poses and I often do the more advanced ones like pigeon and 1/2 pigeon, I can tell these are still working for me. And I can again see how much tighter one side is!

  • Reclining Twist Pose
  • Feels great on the lower back to twist at the end of practice, but in this one, you wrap one leg over/around the other, so you get a slight ITB twist.

  • Relaxation Pose / Savasana
  • A time to rest and relax, but also to mentally probe your body to see what sensations you have and what has changed during the practice. :-)

For < $10 off Amazon, this is a good book for anyone suffering knee pain that wants to explore yoga, and for even somewhat experience practitioners that want to learn more about how to use and modify these poses for knee issues, and how they can help your knees.

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