Heal Your Knees with Yoga Therapy
Isn’t it frustrating to hear your knees “snap, crackle and bend” with every bend and stretch? Yes indeed, it is frustrating and painful. The crackling sounds accompanied with chronic pain aggravate slowly over time. You need to keep your knees healthy, to walk confidently with head held high. And to do this, you need to strengthen the inner quadriceps or the vastus medialis. The ideal way to strengthen your quadriceps is through yoga. Remember, misalignment of the knee happens when the “rope” of the vastus medialis or the quadriceps exerts a sideways pull on the kneecap “pulley”, resulting in friction in the entire mechanism. You can practice Hatha yoga to correct this misalignment.
How do we get knee problems?
Our bodies are prone to injuries of the extensor mechanism because the hip joints are much wider than the knees when you are standing in a neutral position. The natural Y shaped position to the leg bones aggravates uneven contraction of the quadriceps. The natural imbalances of the knees become worse due to this hyper-extension. Basically, when quadriceps are contracted to straighten the leg, the unevenness of the contraction pulls the kneecap to the outside. The innermost quadriceps counteract this pull. The muscles of the inner thigh tend to be underused and weak, while the muscles of the outer thigh is stronger from overuse. So, you need to strengthen your innermost quadriceps to keep your knees healthy.
Strengthening Your Inner Quad- A Big Challenge Indeed
The yoga instructors often instruct their students to perform straight-legged poses to engage their quadriceps and safeguard the knees from hyperextension. To lift the kneecaps carefully and in a balanced way, you need to increase your focus and start performing small extension exercises. From small extension exercises, you can move on to bent-knee warrior poses to strengthen your quadriceps.
A few yoga poses would help to strengthen your inner quadriceps. One of the most basic poses is the Dandasana or the Staff pose. To perform this pose, you have to support your upper back against the wall as that’s more comfortable. Next roll up a small blanket or sticky mat and place it under your knees to prevent hyperextension while contraction takes place of the inner quadriceps. After this, you need to rotate your right leg out ten to fifteen degrees. To locate the vastus medialis, put your fingers about 1 inch above the inner corner of your kneecap, and then move the finger about 11/2 inch towards the inner thigh. Now you have to straighten your legs slowly; you feel the firm teardrop shaped muscle just under your fingers. You have to hold this contraction for eight to ten seconds and then release. Make sure not to extend your legs hard to feel pinching or locking in the knee. Repeat the same exercise with the left leg. The same exercise can be performed without rotating the leg.
The afore-mentioned techniques for strengthening your inner quad will give you a sizeable lead in the battle to safeguard your knees. As we know, knees form the base for Yoga and therefore, practising these exercises by concentrating on the alignment and working of the legs would ensure that your knees remain healthy for a long time.
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