Yoga and Preventing Knee Locks
By Kreg Weiss, B HKin • September 5th, 2008 • 11136 Views
The purpose of Yoga poses is to generate physical vitality so one can proceed through life with positive energy flow and with a holistic connection to what brings balance and harmony. Standing Yoga poses offer these benefits when mindfulness and proper intention is applied. Without mindfulness, some standing Yoga poses present a tendency towards knee locks and hyperextension, which can produce chronic problems in the function and health of the knee joint.
What is knee lock?
Knee lock occurs when the knee joint fully extends. When the knee moves into full extension, the femur (thigh bone) slightly rotates inwards (medially) on the tibia (shin or lower leg bone) and ‘locks' the knee joint into this extension phase.
Some people have a greater tendency towards locking the knees as they have joint structures that promote a hyper extended position when the legs straightened. The legs splay backwards almost like a crescent shape. This hyper extended locked knee position tends to generate a passive stance and allows the body weight to transmit heavily into the ligaments, cartilage and posterior connective tissue of the knees. In addition, this hyperextension and internal rotation creates a line of poor body mechanics including the production unwanted anterior pelvic tilt (promoting excessive lordotic spinal positions) and excessive pronation of the foot.
The ‘knee lock' presents some useful function and purpose in allowing one to stand without using the quadriceps to hold the legs in a straight position. This creates an energy-efficient mechanism that allows you to maintain the knee in extension over prolonged periods of standing without requiring muscular contraction.
However, this ability to lock the knee joint can promote a passive approach for some people in their yoga practice and can encourage some people to shift away from progressively engaging muscles to produce therapeutic benefits. Rather than exploring and using the muscles in the lower body to create lift and space, one can fall into this low energy knee lock and into possible hyperextension, thus reducing the benefits of the standing Yoga poses....