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Season 3 - Episode 5

Locking the Knee

5 min - Talk


Engage your muscles to find a sweet balance between Sthira and Sukha or steadiness and ease. Kristin shares a talk on the importance of putting a micro-bend in the knees, and not locking them out in poses like Trikonasana (Triangle).
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Sep 10, 2018
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you might have heard the cue lock your knee in a yoga asana practice let's look at that a little more carefully so we have these beautiful teacup knees that we want to protect and great have great space some sukkah in the joint and shore it up with the sthira the strength of the supporting muscles now in and around the knee we talked a little bit about the hamstrings and the balance of outer and inner thigh front and back of thigh looking a little bit down the road here we have our gastrocnemius or a calf muscle now when we rise up to the balls of our feet or point through our feet we see the gastrocnemius contract the gastrocnemius is a pointer of the foot planar flexor and then it also is a bender of the knee a flexion of the knee component so when we are lacking the knees the muscles don't have to work so hard so those that are kind of standing during their jobs if you have to a doctor a waiter has to stand all day long at their jobs it actually is more muscularly efficient if you were to lock your knees no muscles have to work and you're just kind of sitting on the bones bone-on-bone it takes less effort may not be great long term to do that because the bones like to have their space and support we may not want to employ this in our yoga asanas things like say triangle pose so if we were to take a triangle pose or trikonasana a lot of times we get kind of tired it comes in the middle of their practice and it feels almost easier it is easier if we just kind of lock out the knee and then sometimes we even bring our hand onto our shin somewhere or onto a block and we just kind of let the bones do the work it's understandable but not the best long term so if we can press down through the ball of the foot now the floor is in the way so you're not gonna point your toes but if you press down almost like you're pressing down on a gas pedal you're gonna slurp up the muscles of the shin you're gonna have a little what they call a micro bend in the knee so the difference between locking the knee and just a micro bend just the essence of a bend in the knee now your kneecap can draw up the groove in between those condyles you can engage your quadriceps your hand can be lightly on your shin your shin pressing back into your hand and this is a little bit more balanced action for your lower leg bones so save your knees the drama engage your muscles to find that sweet balance between steara and suka


Lily A
Hi Kristin! I’ve been giving this a lot of thought during my asana practice! I definitely keep a microbend in my knees in nearly all poses. The only yoga pose that I think calls for a “true” 100% knee-lock position is pyramid pose. Is that correct? Are there any others that come to your mind?
Kristin Leal
Lily A I would suggest never "locking the knee" it's possible to have the teeny tiniest micro bend in the knee and then importantly contracting the quadriceps. Locking suggests hanging into the joint with little to no engagement of the muscles which can be degrading to the joint

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