I’m not sure which was the biggest thrill, being able to slide quite easily into Padmasana and lift myself into Tolasana for the first time or seeing my 13 year old son (left) having a go (also for the first time) and making it look so easy!
I’m certain that years of running have taken their toll on my flexibility and that pushing too hard, too soon into Padmasana has been the cause of the pain I’ve been feeling since mid November at the back of my knee – and it’s deeply frustrating.
I’ve spoken with a couple of yogis about this and the consensus seems to be to back off, so my plan is to really ease back on poses like Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottansana, Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottansana and all of the Janu Sirsanas. I don’t plan to stop doing these altogether, rather just listen to advice and ensure I don’t feel any pain at all whilst in the positions.
It’s quite a weird pain – I feel nothing at all when I’m standing or walking, but it can be quite sharp when I attempt any of the postures above. I’ve tried placing a towel behind my knee and that certainly seems to reduce the intensity of the pain. I’m wondering if I’ve stretched the posterior cruciate ligament?
The illustrations below and excellent article (from Yoga Journal) demonstrate just how much force is placed on the knee in Padmasana and why it’s important to maintain a slow and steady practice and above all, remain patient! The first one shows correct alignment, the second is incorrect.
What does Yoga Journal say?
“The problem starts at the hip joint, where Lotus and its relatives require an astounding degree of mobility. When you move from a neutral, seated posture, such as Dandasana (Staff Pose), to Baddha Konasana, the ball-shaped head of the thighbone must rotate outward in the hip socket about 100 degrees. Bending the knee and placing the foot in preparation for Janu Sirsasana requires somewhat less external rotation, but as a student bends forward in the pose, the tilt of the pelvis relative to the femur brings the total rotation to about 115 degrees. Padmasana requires the same amount of external rotation (115 degrees) just sitting upright, and the angle of rotation is somewhat different, making it more challenging for many students. When we combine the Padmasana action with a forward bend, as we do in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, the total external rotation required at the hip joint jumps to about 145 degrees. To put this in perspective, imagine that if you could turn your thighs out 145 degrees while standing, your kneecaps and feet would end up pointing behind you!”
From the article “Protect the Knees in Lotus and Related Postures” from the Yoga Journal.
So, I’m going to leave Padmasana completely (not even Ardha Padmasana) until my knees touch the floor in Baddha Konasana. Taking a backward step seems tough, but it’s got to be worth it. Knee surgery I do not want!