Here is the 2nd part of the Pawanmuktasana Series 1, Anti-Rheumatic Group of asanas, concerning knees and hips. The asanas are very simple and yet they bring great benefits with regular practice (you can do them at home!).
Since the knee joint bears the whole weight of the body and has no strong muscles for support, it is most vulnerable to injuries, sprains and osteoarthritis. All the knee asanas strengthen the quadriceps muscle and the ligaments around the knee joint. Certain asanas in this series help to relieve tension in the inner thigh muscles and to remove tiredness from long hours of standing, walking of running. All these asanas rejuvenate the joint by activating the healing energies.
The full list of benefits and instructions for fulfilling these asanas were described in the previous article: https://alambhttps://alambayoga.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/pawanmuktasana-1-anti-reumatic-group.html
You can find the full complex of asanas in the book of Swami Satyananda Saraswati Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha.
So, here are these 7 practices for knees and hips:
Prarambhik Sthiti (Base Position).
Sit with legs stretched, feet close together but not touching. Place the palms of the hands on the floor to the sides, just behind the buttocks.
The back, neck and head straight. Straighten the elbows. Lean back slightly, taking the support of the arms. Close the eyes and relax.
Practice 5: Janufalak Akarshan (kneecap contraction)
Stay in the base position.
Contract the muscle surrounding the right knee, drawing the kneecap back towards the thigh.
Hold the contraction 3-5 seconds, counting mentally.
Release the contraction and let the kneecap return to its normal position.
Practise 5 times. Repeat with the left kneecap 5 times, then with both kneecaps together.
Breathing: Inhale while contracting. Hold the breath during contraction. Exhale while relaxing the knee muscles.
Awareness: On the breath, mental counting and contraction.
Practice 6: Janu Naman (knee bending)
Stay in the base position. Bend the right knee and clasp the hands under the right thigh.
Straighten the right leg, pulling up the kneecap.
Keep the hans under the thigh but straighten the arms.
Do not allow the heel or toes to touch the floor.
Bend the right leg at the knee so that the thigh comes close to the chest and the heel near the buttocks.
Keep the head and spine straight.
This is 1 round. Practise 10 rounds with the right leg and then 10 rounds with the left leg.
Breathing: Inhale while straightening the leg. Exhale while bending the leg.
Awareness: On the breath, mental counting, stretch in the thigh muscles and synchronised movement.
Practice note: While bending the knee the hands may also clasp the lower shin. The thigh is then pressed against the abdomen helping to release wind from this area.
Pracise 7: Dwi Janu Naman (double knee bending)
Sitting in the base position, place both palms flat on the floor at the side and slightly in front of the buttocks.Bend both knees together, and place the feet on the floor in front of the buttocks.
Straighten the legs and raise the feet so that they are about 8 cm above the floor in the final position.
Point the toes forward.
The hands and arms should support and maintain stability of the body. Try to keep the head and spine upright. Remain in the position for a second.
Bend the knees and biring the legs back to the starting position, keeping the heels slightly above the floor.
Draw the toes back towards the shins. This is one round. Practise 5 to 10 rounds, keeping the heels off the floor throught the practice.
Breathing: Inhale while straightening the legs. Exhale while bending the legs.
Awareness: On the breath, mental counting, movement and balance.
Contra-indications: This is a strenuous practise and should not be attempted by people with weak abdominal muscles, back conditions, high blood pressure or heart conditions.
Practice note: The hands may also be clasped under the thighs as in janu naman.
Practise 8. Janu Chakra (knee crank).
Sit in the base position. Bend the right leg at the knee as described in practice 6. Place the hands under the right thigh and interlock the fingers or cross the arms holding the elbows.
Raise the right foot from the ground. Rotate the lower leg from the knee in a large circular movement; try to straighten the leg at the top of the upward movement.
The upper leg and trunk should be completely still.Rotate 10 times clockwise and then 10 times anti-clockwise.Repeat with the left leg.
Breathing: Inhale on the upward movement. Exhale on the downward movement.
Awareness: On the breath, mental counting, movement and perfection of circular rotation.
Practice 9: Ardha Titaly Asana (half butterfly)
Sit in base position.Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible.
Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.
Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand.
This is the starting position.
Stage 1: with breath synchronisation:
While breathing in, gently move the right knee up towards the chest. Breathing out, gently push the knee down and try to touch the knee to the floor.
The trunk should not move.
Do not force this movement in any way.
The leg muscles should be passive, the movement being achieved by the exertion of the right arm.
Slowly practise 10 up and down movements.
Awareness: on the breath, mental counting, movement of the hop joint and relaxation of inner thigh muscles.
Stage 2: without breath synchronisation:
Remain in the same position with the right leg on the left thigh. Relax the right leg muscles as much as possible. Push the right knee down with the right hand and try to touch the knee to the floor. Do not strain. Let the knee spring up by itself. The movement is achieved by use of the right arm only. Practise 30 up and down movements in quick succession. Breathing should be normal and unrelated to the practice. Repeat stages 1 and 2 and the unlocking procedure (see the note below) with the left kleg.
Awareness: on mental counting, movement of hip joint and relaxation of inner thigh muscles.
Practice note: To unlock the leg after completing stage 2, slowly and carefully straighten the leg. Bend it once, bringing the heel near the buttock. Straighten the leg. This procedure will ensure that the knee joint is realigned correctly.
Practice 10. Shroni Charka (hip rotation).
Sit in the same starting position as for asana 9 with the right leg on the left thigh. Using the muscles of the right arm, rotate the right knee in a circle trying to make the circular movement as large as possible. The index finger may be pointed out and used as a guide to perfection of the circular movement. Practise 10 rotations clockwise and then 10 rotations anti-clockwise. Straighten the leg slowly. Release the knee as described in the note to asana 9. Repeat with the left leg.
Breathing: Inhale on the upward movement. Exhale on the downward movement.
Awareness: on the breathing, mental counting and rotation of the hip joint.
Practice 11: Poorna Titali Asana (full butterfly)
Sit in the base position. Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible. Fully relax the inner thigh muscles.
Stage 1: Clasp the feet with both hands. Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down. Try to touch the knees to the ground on the downward stroke. Do not use any force. Practise 30 to 50 up and down movements.
Stage 2: Keep the soles of the feet together. Place the hands on the knees. Using the palms, gently push the knees down towards the floor, allowing them to spring up again.
Do not force this movement, Repeat 20 to 30 times. Straighten the legs and relax.
Breathing: Normal breathing, unrelated to the practice.
Awareness: on mental counting, movement and relaxation.
Contra-indications: People with sciatica and sacral conditions should avoid this asana.
P.S. Thanks to Carol to demonstrating the asanas.