KNEES

SINCE The knee joint bears the whole weight of the body and has no strong muscles for support,
it is most vulnerable to injuries, sprains and osteoarthritis.
All the knee techniques strengthen the quadriceps muscle and the ligaments around the knee joint.
THEY rejuvenate the joint by activating the healing energies.

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KNEECAP CONTRACTION

Gently contract the muscle surrounding the right knee, drawing the kneecap back towards the thigh. Hold the contraction for 3-5s, counting mentally. Release the contraction and let the kneecap return to its normal position. Practise 10 times. Repeat with the left kneecap 10 times, then with both kneecaps together.

BREATHING Inhale while contracting. Exhale while relaxing the knee muscles.
AWARENESS On the contraction and the breath.

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KNEE BENDING

STAGE 1
Stay in the base position. Bend the right knee, bringing the thigh near the chest and clasp the hands under the right thigh. Straighten the right leg, pulling up the kneecap. Keep the hands under the thigh, but straighten the arms. Keep the heel about 10cms off the floor. Again bend the right knee so that the thigh comes close to the chest and the heel near the groin. Keep the head and spine straight. This is one round. Practise 10 rounds with the right leg and then 10 rounds with the left leg.

STAGE 2
This is a strenuous practice and should not be attempted by people with weak abdominal muscles, back conditions, high blood pressure or heart conditions.
Bend both knees together, bringing the thighs near the chest and place the feet on the floor in front of the groin. Hold the backs of the thighs. Raise the feet slightly from the floor and balance on the buttocks. Straighten the legs as much as you can without straining. The arms straighten naturally while the hands continue to support the thighs. Point the toes forward. The hands and arms should support and maintain the stability of the body. Keep the head and spine upright. Remain in the position for a few seconds. Bend the knees and bring the legs back to the starting position, keeping the heels slightly above the floor. Draw the toes back towards the shins. This is one round. Practise 5-10 rounds, keeping the heels off the floor throughout the practice.

BREATHING Inhale while straightening the legs. Exhale while bending the legs.
AWARENESS On the knee bend and associated movement and balance, and the breath.

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KNEE CRANK

KNEE CRANK
Sit in the base position. Bend the right knee and bring the thigh near the chest. Place the hands under the right thigh and interlock the fingers or cross the arms holding the elbows. Raise the right foot from the ground. Rotate the lower leg from the knee in a large circular movement; try to straighten the leg at the top of the upward movement. The upper leg and trunk should be completely still. Rotate I0 times clockwise and then I0 times anti-clockwise. Repeat with the left leg.

BREATHING Inhale on the upward movement. Exhale on the downward movement.
AWARENESS On the movement and perfection of circular rotation, and the breath.

Text: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha
Swami Satyananada Saraswati
Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India
Illustrations: Elly-Lynne Tiburcio