Primary Friday: Appeasing the Knees
I had a really lovely Primary, apart from a fiasco with my knee. The Mysore room was lively, with a large group of beginners on one end and the rest of us on the other. I really admire teacher 'T' for handling the room the way she does, instructing the group of newbies as one and then visiting the rest of us individually. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have so many things going on at once, so many different practices to keep an eye on. Students spread all over the place. Compared to teaching Vinyasa classes where everyone moves as a group, teaching Mysore must be a whole different ball game.
The standing sequence was especially comfortable. Just breathing and observing the heat, observing the sensations. I no longer feel the breath shortening after Parivrtta Parsvakonasana and I was surprised yesterday at how fresh and light I felt during the Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana series, which has always felt like a bit of a slog, a hump to get over before carrying on.
Seated was pretty nice, as well, but I noticed my right knee feeling stiff right away in Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana. I treated it nicely, easing my way into the postures, but every time I came to a lotus or half-lotus position, the knee felt a little less stable. I made it all the way to Karnapidasana without incident. Then came Urdhva Padmasana. Having just recently found the full expression in reach, I was perhaps too eager to take the full pose. As I put the right foot into position, the knee clicked a bit, but didn't feel any differently than it had for the rest of the practice. Then, as I moved to fold the left foot in, the knee made a loud crack, which hurt a bit and seemed to significantly shift the alignment of the lower leg. I was horrified and frozen in a very sloppy rendition of Urdhva Padmasana as I tried to assess the situation. I skipped Pindasana and carried on slowly through the rest of finishing, taking a half-lotus position with the left foot on top instead of Padmasana for the final three postures to aleviate the pressure in my knee.
And now the knee is tender and inflamed behind the joint. There is pain on the lateral side if I try to rotate the foot too far to the left or right, and there is some firm swelling impeding full flexion. Walking and basic, linear movements are okay, but the joint feels strangely unstable. This may be a significant setback. I experienced something similar during teacher training in my other knee and it took a few months to completely heal.
So now the knee therapy begins. I'll be sitting in Virasana for meditation instead of Siddhasana as my first step. I've noticed this pose tends to relieve pressure in the knee joint built up from too much external rotation since the lower leg is (very slightly) internally rotated. And I'll definitely be modifying any lotus postures in my Primary for a while. Any other suggestions for healing the knees?