Letting Go of Old Injury or Pain- part 1- Hips/ ankles/ knees

This article is dedicated to our sankalpa for August/ early Spring: to let go of pain/ emotions/ injuries- whatever we’ve been holding onto- that’s ultimately holding us back.  What made me think of writing an article about confronting our pain was a practice I have been recently doing to let go of a “party injury!!:- where I clumsily rolled my ankle while wearing precarious stilletos.

Our lower body is connected with Mooladhara (root) chakra. It’s all things grounding, physical and material. Where we’d like to be in life is guided by our mooladhara chakra. Whether we want to be successful, famous, entrepreneurial, high achieving; or in a loving, nurturing relationship etc… If the energy isn’t balanced in the lower chakra, we are held back from achieving these goals.

Injuries to ankles, knees and hips prevent us physically from moving smoothly and effortlessly forward.. likewise- energetically- we hold onto these pains as we hold on to things that prevent us from moving forward and achieving our goals.

So what’s holding you back? Is it an old injury; someone or something you haven’t forgiven; a fear of moving forward and achieving your goals, something that arises continually to anger, stress or frustrate you; a habit or addiction. Holding on to stuff can manifest in sustained pain or injury in the body, affecting our happiness and relationships.

The following stretches are dedicated to healing “older’ injuries- perhaps 4 months (for mild injuries) to over a year old (for major ones).. Make sure swellings have subsided, and you have clearance from specialist or physio that you can welcome the movement back into your practice. Work towards holding each pose for over 5 minutes (or 3+ minutes per side if relevant).

Let’s start with hips… as many knee and ankle discomforts that don’t come directly from injury come from tight hips. Release the hip issues- then movement in knee and ankle is regained.

Loose bound angle pose (badakonasana)

The full pose The preparation Therapy versions
     
 stay soft and relaxed.  don’t force the hips
beyond their natural
compression point
sit on block. roll blanket
and place under thigh to
relieve any knee tension

cow faced hips (gomukasana),

The full pose The preparation &
Therapy version
   
 I’m actually sitting
on a block. Don’t bend forward
until you feel the hips release.

crescent moon

The full pose The preparation Therapy versions
     
 such a basic movement, however it really requires strength and flexibility. Anyone who has held this posture
for longer than a minute knows you really need to “let go” of the mind’s fluctuations in order to surrender
into the movement.

eka pada raja kapotasana- one legged king pidgeon

The full pose The preparation Therapy versions
     
 this is such a relaxing
posture. it is agreed that
the major benefits of this
posture are gained when
held for a long time- try staying
for up to 5 minutes on each side. you
won’t even know where the time
went!!
 If you struggle with external
hip rotation, then pop a blanket, block
or bolster underneath
the hip of the bent knee

upavista konasana- seated wide angle posture

The full pose The preparation Therapy versions
     
 open up the hips with a bolster
under the seat
if you’re very tight in the hips/
spine, you can even put a bolster
in front of your stomach.

Once we’ve regained movement in the hips, we can progress to some strong openings for knees and ankles

half lotus/lotus

The full pose The preparation Therapy versions
     
 this posture requires
the hips to be very open.
Only then, will the ankles and
knees be comfortable.
 not a a great shot
of half lotus pose
 Sit on an elevation
(block or blanket); Have a Bolster
or blanket under knee. Eventually
work  on the forward bend

virasana/ supta virasana (hero/ reclining hero).

This posture is a great therapy posture. I started doing this about a year after my
knee reconstruction- and it’s the key to my complete healing. I started with my knees
wide apart and seated high up on a block and a bolster. i couldn’t lie down at this stage.
Eventually, i removed the block; then chose a lower bolster, then started to lie back and
stretch the quads and top of thighs even more; I started to bring my knees closer together,
and remove all equipment from underneath until I was lieing flat on the ground.

The full pose The preparation Therapy versions
     
 This is actually
a good therapy version.
I have a bolster under
my back, and belt around the
knees to help bring them
together
 pop your bottom
on a bolster, and place as many
bolsters/ blocks/ blankets under the spine.

* these yin postures are designed understanding that there is a limit to how far we can work a stretch. We understand that ultimately, we have different bone structures- so the deepest level of some poses may be completely unavailable to you due to bone compression. Saying this- hold the posture without your ego telling you to push past your “compression point’ and you will find great relief to muscles, joints, tendons and other connective tissue as you stretch through your tightness and tension.