This week we focus on the knees which are involved in almost all of our movements. They support the weight of the upper body and give movement to the the body below. They are hinge joints which should only move in two directions, flexion (bent) and extension (straight). Many injuries can ensue when the knees are strained or twisted. This week we will learn ways to strengthen and align the knees which will affect the alignment in the hips and spine above, and in the ankles and feet below.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Begin in Tadasana. Bend both knees and lower pelvis, grounding thighs. Inhale arms either parallel to floor or overhead and lean torso forward from hips. Hold 5-10 breaths and release.
Therapeutics: Strengthens legs, core and lower back
Right Hand: Touch tip of thumb and ring fingers together, extend all others
Left Hand: Touch tips of thumb and middle fingers together, extend all others. Rest hands with palms up.
Benefits: Draws energy into the joints
Practice Tips: Good for arthritis
On Inhale, "I am receiving courage"
On Exhale, "I am releasing fear"
Practice for the Knees
- Squeeze tennis ball between calf and thigh
- Cow/Child's Pose
- Downward Dog (bend and strighten knees)
- Tadasana with block, toes lifted (with Marma Mudra)
- Standing quadriceps stretch
- Swimmer series: Tadasana, Talasana, Swimmer, Utkatasana, Parsva Utkatasana, Utkatasana, Swimmer, Talasana, Tadasana)
- Warrior I (with block between knee and wall)
- Warrior II (with block between knee and wall)
- Warrior II (moving in and out of pose)
- Triangle (with block under calf)
- Baddha Konasana (press feet together, knees wide)
- Setu Bandha (parallel feet)
- Setu Bandha (wide knees)
- Supta Virasana
- Windshield Wipers
- Savasana (with knees supported)
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I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.