Monday, 21 August 2017
Stop bending the knees!
When your hamstrings are too short.
The truth rely on practice. You can read a Yoga book where all asanas will be well described with the "perfect" alignment and recommendation such as "bending your knees when your hamstrings are too short....".
I have been instructed to do so by some teachers, I have read it on several books, I have seen it during yoga practice and unfortunately I have been doing it and teaching it as well.....
Then when I started to practice with Iain Grysak he told me not to fold my knees in all forward fold (standing and sitting).
I was surprised....
But I listened to him and from that day my all practice drastically changed.
All my forward fold were actually folding deeper, the huge pain I used to have on the back of my legs started to disappear while my upper body was getting straighten and my lower back wide open.
I understood something, for instance in Padanghustasana the "goal" (if there was any achievement to it) was not to keep the chest on the knees or lower, it was simplest, just bend forward and the body will adjust to it.
The goal was not to go into one asana in particular with a specific way but more about becoming the asana itself with the actual ability.
Anatomically speaking we can not give or judge a proper alignment for one asana as everyone has a different body type.
Therefore there is no "your hips has to be facing that way on a sagittal plane and this is the last word", absolutely not. It is okay to have the hips slightly unaligned, it is okay to have a rounding back.
What is happening when we are bending the knees while forward folding?
In order to bend the knees we have to use the hamstrings as they are in charge of bending the legs. While bending, hamstrings are getting shorter so they are not stretching.
What is a forward fold?
Mainly it is a stretch of the back of the legs and lower back, actually it is stretching the all posterior part of the body.
If the hamstrings are too short and not flexible while bending forward it can become uncomfortable, so to ease the movement automatically we want to bend the legs..... by bending them we are not stretching them.... so basically not solving any issue regarding their flexibility.
A tight hamstrings does not help the lower back neither. Sometimes we think we are protecting our lower back by bending the legs while we are not.
Of course if there is any hyper extension of the knee it is advisable to slightly bend it. We should not work with a "locked" knee.
Enjoy your practice!
- Namaste -