In many Yoga classes I was asked to pull-up my knee cap (also called locking the knees), during most of the asanas particularly in standing asanas. Pulling up of knee caps involves strengthening inner quadriceps muscles so that knee caps move towards hips. This is considered to be very good to protect knees. If it is supposed to be very good when why are we questioning whether we should do it or not? I have explained how our whole body is connected in my earlier blog Misunderstanding the pain. Keep this concept in mind as we proceed further.
Well, it may be true that it is good to pull up knee caps but whenever I tried to do it my entire awareness was in and around my knees. My whole focus was on keeping that pulled-up position intact. When Yoga is all about developing complete body awareness then how can we localize most of the awareness to one area? Is this the right area to focus on? Instead I tried to focus on stretching the toes of my feet and pushing heel down. What this does is it creates more feeling of connectedness with the ground. Due to which it aligns all the bones and in the process will automatically pull up knee caps just to the extent it is healthy for knees without hyper-extending it. By pushing the heals down we will start working from our core and this will spread the awareness without localizing at one point. Try this but you may need to sensitize your feet and toes for that. For most of us because of constant usage of shoes it becomes really difficult to control the movement of our toes. Try activating them by touching, rubbing, etc.
So stretch your toes, spread your feet in order to ground yourself more in to your heels. This process will pull up the knee caps without you putting any extra effort. But is it always required to pull the knee caps up? What if we don’t do? Well remember that there is no one rule in Yoga. I would like to recollect some parts of famous philosopher, J Krishnamurthi’s statement in this context “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.” Yoga is all about going in search of truth/nature/reality. So don’t get biased by any conditions/rules/guidelines/instructions in Yoga practice. Feel free to explore and enjoy the journey.