A Pose for Derrick Rose: Yoga for Dope Knees

I thought long and hard about this post. My heart goes out to D. Rose because his body is constantly responding to what he is most passionate about. As an athlete I know all too well how an injury can challenge season personal goals and team dreams; especially if you are a phenom. Derrick also began to incorporate yoga into his athletic regimen and despite his practice has ended up with a torn meniscus which is a tear in the rubbery part of the knee cartilage, this cushions the shin bone from the thigh bone. A tear comes from forceful twisting or rotation.

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Hyperextension on fleek

So here I am lifting up one of the dopest kids from the Southside and sending him some love all the way from the Chi. I hope his yoga instructor is well too, bodies are dynamic and no matter what we do as instructors we can’t stop a body from being a body. His practice will def change to address injury recovery and balance, strength and rest. With that I hope that as you read this you take deep breaths and send some healing thoughts to our buddy on the east coast.

So how about dem dere knees eh? Well, lets start with some basics.

 Unhealthy tension on your ligaments isn’t a good thing. Hyperextension may look super cute in some wedge boots but can cost you in the future. You may hear lots of teachers say lock out your knees, but what they are saying is not to stand back on your knees. What they are cueing you to do is to lift your knees and support them, use the muscles to stabilize the knee.

When practicing if you have to be on your knees pad them generously. Stop with all the yoga ego yo….you see lots of unsupported yoga pics online and thats cool but seriously don’t let your ego have you folded over in pain. So take a blanket or double your mat. If you don’t have any knee pain sometimes just give your knees a break and pad anyway.

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Double your mat for sensitive knees

I like to double my mat literally or fold my mat over or use a blanket. Sometimes my practice is super messy with lots of props but I like it like that, “gimme gimme mo” while BJ the Chicago kid M.A.F.E. project is blasting writing this LOL….I’m seriously so Chicago!

Anyway the next tip is to maybe stay off your knees period point blank. One of my favorite moments is brining someone to a chair or the wall for a similar pose or a variation of a kneeling pose on their back and watching their minds go boom! It’s ok if there is something going on in your body that require you to do poses reclined or in a chair or on a wall. Why suffer when you can feel good in your practice while you’re feeling pained in your body?

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Chair yoga at Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

Those tips are easy to follow and take a little planning to do if you’re using props or maybe even doing a little investing in reading about poses that are in conflict with your injury. Sometimes we aren’t ready for the reality that a pose isn’t for us, or an activity isn’t for us until our bodies are ready, or accepting………ok I’m going to say it……accepting that the activity we love to do is no longer accessible to our bodies in the way we have enjoyed it. Does it mean you have to let it go?…..maybe some yes and maybe some no. Modification comes in many different forms. But that isn’t what this blog is about…..I will get into mission modify in another blog.

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Bone bruise, knee stitches, 2 sprained ankles, 1 sprained wrist and lots of cute KT tape

But an injury will set limits on healthy ranges of motion. If you have read any of my other pieces you know I was severely injured from a yoga wheel injury. So it was some coconut oil and it all went wrong real fast. Anyway I’m still not fully recovered. I am getting there.

So I do know how it feels to be hurt while having a yoga practice. Protect your knees people! It is such a fragile joint and walking, running, standing, and tip toeing, stepping, dancing all of the things that felt so good that you didn’t realize gave you life are all compromised. Check out the blog I wrote about Intuition from Injury for some of my thoughts that bubbled up during my recovery practices. With that here are a few poses for knee strengthening and flexibility to help you connect with your body for a healthier more stable self nose to toes.

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Yoga is most def a physical practice. You also can hurt yourself with poor alignment or with coconut oil LOL. But it also can be therapeutic for your physical body and your hurt feelings when you’re feeling icky for whatever reason. Check out my guided meditation for injury recovery on Soundcloud. Your practice is just as much internal as it is physical. The breath and the body both deserve some space to flex and move fluidly. For athletes and student athletes an injury can unearth mental and emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. There are an estimated 2.5 million knee injuries a year with people in the age range of 15-24 having the highest injury rate; so yes yoga is a whole body whole mind practice for all ages especially very active bodies.

We are seeing more and more professional athletes and teams turn to yoga for many different reasons. However I would like to offer you a spin on the wellness narrative of my beloved yoga. Intention and purpose do play a role in the energy of the practice. Using yoga in the physical is beneficial but on a subtle energy level can be felt as simply a physical stretch, when your depth of practice is deeper there is a richness that is felt with each inhale and a release of tension with each exhale beyond that of the bodies physical relaxation.

Bringing yoga into your life can come from many places, get to know the practice beyond the poses and you’ll begin to connect with the tiniest parts of yourself that you never knew needed attention.

Be well friends….and everyone lets just take a deep healing breath for Derrick and wish him a full whole body, whole heart recovery to do what he loves.

Namaste,

Mila K.

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