Saturday, March 17, 2012

Alignment of knees = more Harmony

In massage school I learned that the joints of the body represent our flexibility in certain areas of our life:
  • Feet: Your ability to move forward in life.
  • Knees: Your willpower.
  • Hips: Your ability to stand and hold yourself up in life.
  • Shoulders: Your ability to handle difficult situations.
  • Hands: Your ability to handle the details in life.
I thought this was interesting. Lately a lot of new students have been coming to my classes with knee injuries as a result of lateral movement or hyper extension of the knee. In my Friday 4:15-5:30 class at The Yoga Center I focused on knees this week. When the knees (or any part of our body) are in pain or discomfort it is distracting and makes it much harder to experience harmony. However by using our will power to align our knees (or any part of body) optimally over time we will experience more and more agreement in our body/mind/spirit.
The knee is a hinge joint and thus only meant for extension (straightening the leg) and flexion (bending the knee). A hinge joint does not assist in lateral moment of the knee. We do not want our inner or outer knees to get flexible, and that is what happens when we move the knee joint medially (to the mid line) and laterally (away from the mid line.)Me and my sister both played a lot of soccer and so many friends have blown out there knees (ACL, MCL..)  In the picture on the left you can see that if the girl in the red kicks or moves the blue players knee to the right that lateral movement will most likely tear her ACL ligament.

One of the many cool things about asana practice is we can use our will power to align our bodies to move in optimal therapeutic ways and practicing these alignment principles over time will retrain the body to function. Harmony is different than instant gratification. Although I often feel a little better and less stressed after a yoga class. I think when we practice steadily over a long period of time with alignment and intention that we expeirence more harmony to our body/mind/heart. For example, taking one yoga class might not make your knees feel instantly better or if it does that feeling wont be permanent, however if you tend to laterally rotate your knees and you work strong Shins In Thighs Out in your practice to stabilize your knees, over time with this your knees will feel better more often and for a longer amount of time. Same goes if you hyper extend your knees letting them bow backwards past optimal extension. If you practice strong Muscular Energy especially in the back of the legs (I like to press into the ball of my foot like I'm pressing on the gas pedal this engages my calf muscles then I isometrically lift and curl my heel up towards my sit bones, the heel doesn't move but the back of my knee and hamstring engage). When the back of the leg is toned you learn to straighten the leg keeping the stability and over time this alignment will probably make your knees feel better more ofter and for longer amounts of time. Since the knees contribute to the positioning of feet, hips, and shoulders all these joints will either find more optimal alignment or less optimal alignment depending on the position of the knees. (this stuff fascinates me) 

When tones, thoughts, or feelings, individually different, combine to form a consistent and pleasing whole, there is harmony. Harmony is deeper and more essential than agreement; we may have a

harmony, accord, concurrence, consistency, uniformity, accordance, conformity, consonance, union, agreement, congruity, symmetry, unison, amity, consent, unanimity, unity, concord
antagonism, contest, discord, hostility, schism, battle, controversy, disproportion, incongruity, separation, conflict, difference, dissension, inconsistency, variance, contention, disagreement, disunion, opposition, warfare

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Remembering my capability

I am going back to massage school on Monday and my husband and I are buying a home (closing in middle of April). I find myself thinking "I don't know if I am smart enough to do school" "I don't know if I will be able to handle school" "I don't know if I will be good at giving my home TLC" "I don't know if I can handle owning a own". I have thought very much about buying a home and going to school. I do really want these, and I am in a great place in my life to go for them, but my silly brain is frequently telling me I am not capable. In fact my brain often has me doubting my ability to do things.

It makes me think of a Hanuman myth: Hanuman had Gods as parents so he was no ordinary child. He was energetic, inquisitive, and super strong. When he was young he created some chaos for example once he mistook the sun for a ripe fruit and leaped into the sky attempting to grab it. The other Gods knew how horrible it would be if there was no sun so they called Lord Brahma to solve this problem. Brahma put a curse on Hanuman removing his knowledge of his powers. His powers are always available to him he just forgets and doubts he has them. Thankfully his friend Jambavant often reminds him which inspires Hanuman to do some pretty awesome tasks like growing big in size and leaping over an ocean, shrinking in size to defeat a demon, carrying a whole mountain on one hand back to Ram....

I like to believe that I have this same curse. That really I have the ability to be SO strong, smart, brave, loving, and patient but this darn curse makes me afraid to apply myself fully because my head fills with doubt. I try to have faith and believe that I really am capable of so much.

I love seeing this in my yoga practice. There have been so many poses that I was just positive I could never do. However, showing up on my mat and continuing to do my best even when it didn't
Definition of Capable:

having ability; able to do things well; skilled; competent
Having capacity or ability; efficient and able
Having the inclination or disposition

Friday, March 2, 2012


shared a wonderful poem, The Way It Is on her blog the other day. I absolutely love this idea of the thread. The thread to me is remembering Grace and staying connected no matter what. In Anusara lingo it could be described as opening to grace and using muscular energy so you don't lose that openness. It sure is a hard task, but no one said it would be easy. All the great teachers who have gone deep on the path have openly spoke about their struggles but they continue to reveal how amazing + profound their experiences are. To summarize Christina Sell 'no one comes back from these deep places in meditation or practice saying "that sucked" they do talk about obstacles they encounter but always say it was worth it!'

To me this is holding tight to the thread. That remembrance of the divine even in the hardest times to hold on to.

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford ~

Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...