This blog post is long overdue. I was going to write a long, depressing piece on the hassles, struggles and sacrifices of opening your own yoga studio. But I decided to sleep on it and write about my cracking knees instead.
Yes. At age 25, I can feel my knees cracking each time I climb steps or rise up from a squatting position. And while it’s not really painful (yet), I was alarmed at how early I seem to experience *symptoms* of wear and tear. When I first noticed of this *symptom*, I did what any normal 21st century person would do. I consulted with Dr. Google. But every tidbit of information I got points out to one thing: “If it’s not painful, there’s nothing wrong with you.” And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Still I refuse to accept that cracking knees are normal for a person my age. Let alone for someone who does jump-backs for a living.
I stumbled upon a writing by the great guru, B.K.S. Iyengar in his book YOGA: The Path to Holistic Health. In the Iyengar Style of yoga, complete with an array of props, never is the student allowed to bend his knees during a Standing Forward Bend (use a block if it’s impossible to reach the floor, but never bend the knees). I realized I have been guilty of micro-bending my knees when I’m feeling particularly stiff. Apparently, you have to completely engage your hamstrings when in forward fold. That’s kind of the point of the posture. So bending your knees would somehow undermine the the benefits of this posture. Of course, I did not relate my cracking knees to this. At least not right away.
Lately, I have dedicated my afternoons to the practice of Ashtanga Primary Series. Using Iyengar’s alignment in my Sun Salutations has greatly improved the condition of my knees. I no longer feel them cracking whenever I climb the stairs. There’s still some cracking when I rise up from Malasana (yogi’s squat) though. I have to research how to exit the pose safely.
I wish I could spend more time being a student so I can learn about the different styles and methods that work and don’t work for my body. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach but experiencing these things first hand gives me greater insight on what my students could possibly go through. After all, when it comes to teaching yoga, nothing means more to me than keeping my students safe in their practice.