Form over depth is the mantra and a way of life in the Bikram yoga studio. Not a Bikram class goes by where we do not hear “lock the knee, lock the knee”. Many postures in the Bikram Yoga series: Half Moon Posture, Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow, Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee and Tree, require you to have either one or both legs “locked out”. But what does it mean to “lock the knee”?
“Lock the knee” is shorthand for making the leg stable, strong and firm without jamming the knee joint or hyperextending it. Think of the hip, knee and ankle as three bricks stacked on top of each other. Unlike hyperextension, where the knee joint may be overstretched or bent backward, locking the knee in Bikram yoga means consciously squeezing the quadriceps to protect the joint so that you can safely and effectively straighten your leg. Not only can you feel when your quadriceps is contracted, you can also see the muscle definition form just above your knee. In other words, your entire kneecap will visibly lift up. When you lock out correctly, you provide muscular support to your knee joint, which in turn creates a leg that is strong and powerful enough to support such postures as Standing Head to Knee and Standing Bow.
Improvement in Bikram yoga happens slowly, with persistence, intensity, dedication, clarity of form and with respect for one’s limits and abilities. Join us at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge this Sunday, October 13 from 2 to 3:30 for a Posture Clinic to focus on “locking the knee” and improving your form for some of the more difficult standing and floor postures.
Lynsdey Hemmesch is an instructor at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge in Burr Ridge.