joint health support 657: knees

Hey hey! Happy new year to you, hope the coming cycle brings the wealth, wisdom, and wholeness for which we all deeply yearn. Today’s post features two exercises for maintaining the health of the knee joints which can be easily incorporated into your current health maintenance program.

For better or worse, as we age some of us become good friends with that dude Arthur. At first he’s an unwanted visitor (uckkhhh…really, you’re here?!) who gets in the way of our daily grind, then a traveling companion we learn to tolerate and even protect and introduce to our friends and family because he just keeps showing up first thing in the morning and hangs around most days:

Arthur…

arthur-itis…

arthritis…

 -itis of the arthro-..

 literally, inflammation of the joints.

As a general rule, the health (overall as well as of our joints) is the product of and thus dependent on multiple factors, including diet, lifestyle (including exercise), mental-emotional states, and co-occurring diseases. In a friendly formulaic format, that gives us:

Joint Health  =  Diet  *  Lifestyle  *  Mental-Emotional States  *  Co-occurring Diseases  *  Other Factors

Examples of incomplete programs: exercising four days a week yet not working on the roots of social anxiety; eating nutritiously solid meals yet remaining in an emotionally toxic relationship; running around like a champ faithful in our duties to job and family yet not committing sufficient resources to put our own house in order.

For those of us serious about the level-up lifestyle, commitment to research, study, and application of right cultivation methods pertaining to all the above departments is a non-negotiable. Keeping things in proper context, then, let’s go on to some exercises:

Exercise: T-plane Knee Rotatives

Method: standing with feet together and parallel, flex slightly at the knee joint; this will also produce a slight flexing at the hip and ankle joints. Place the hands on your lap slightly above the kneecap and, keeping the knees together, describe a circle in space in the transverse plane–that is, the plane parallel to the floor (quite similar to the action of stirring a pot of soup). Perform the decided-upon number of repetitions (see Suggested Dose below) in one direction, then proceed to do the same in the other direction. Keep the feet planted on the floor and be mindful to not let the head droop.

Feeling: the movement is smooth and continuous like the slow turning of a wheel; the mind has the clear intent to describe a circle in space and time; you can think that the air around you is thick and so generate more of an awakened effort in all structures; practice the strength coming from being intent, open, relaxed, engaged, and expansive; avoid generating states of being closed-up, tight, rigid, clenched, stiff, contracted.

Suggested Dose: 4-8x each direction constitutes one set; perform 1-2 sets daily, ideally teamed up with additional ROM exercises. Short sets are appropriate after several minutes of seated deskwork.

Caution: common-sense circumstances calling for caution or cessation of practice include active knee, hip, or ankle injury, cases of actively inflamed arthritis, congenital joint instability; in general, clicking heard/felt during practice is not problematic provided there is no co-occurring pain

Exercise: One Leg Pedals the Bike

Method: Standing normally, lift the left leg and keep the right leg stable with the right foot planted firmly on the ground. Generate a movement akin to pedaling a bicycle forward for the decided-upon number of repetitions (see Suggested Dose below). Repeat on the other side, keeping the left leg stable  with left foot planted firmly on the ground and generating the movement with your right leg. Rest one hand on a wall, tabletop, chair back, etc. for stability as needed.

Switch back to planting your body weight on the right leg, lift the left leg and generate a movement akin to pedaling a bicycle backwards for the decided-upon number of repetitions. Repeat on the other side.

Thus, four movements comprise the complete exercise: left leg pedals forward, right leg pedals forward, left leg pedals backward, right leg pedals backward.

Feeling: The leg and foot planted on the ground (yin) is strong and stable yet not clenched nor rigid, like a healthy tree trunk; the movement of the leg and foot “pedaling” in space (yang) moves smoothly and continuously like the slow turning of a wheel; refer to the Feeling section above for additional information.

Suggested Dose: 4-8x each direction constitutes one set; perform 1-2 sets daily, ideally teamed up with additional ROM exercises. Short sets are appropriate after several minutes of seated deskwork.

Caution: refer to Caution above

*   *   *

As of March 2014, an estimated 4.7 million Americans have undergone total knee replacement surgery, according to a study carried out by the Mayo Clinic. And given the reality of the aging Baby Boomer generation, there’s no reason to think that the numbers won’t continue to trend upward. Now the question to ask yourself is this: do you want to find the best doctor to treat the disease you’ve brought upon yourself, or do you want to align your affairs so as to stay healthy and reduce the probability that you’ll need to undergo the knife (as well as the protracted recovery process inevitably following) at all? I hope you consider this question seriously, dear friends. Sickness is an expense (time, energy, money, emotional) that affects not just you but the ones who love you the most.

*   *   *

Aligning affairs, we flow in more refined states of wealth, wisdom, and wholeness. But just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link:

  • we can only be (materially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) wealthy to the extent we are impoverished (materially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually),
  • we can only be wise to the extent we are ignorant, and
  • we can only be whole to the extent we are broken, fragmented, separated, isolated.

Questions arising immediately herefrom:

Where do states of impoverishedness, ignorance, and isolation exist in you right now?

Given these afflicted states, how committed are you to seeking the cure, the correction of errors that have caused you to deviate from Life’s laws?

Remember, mind and body are heads and tails of the same reality. Affliction in mind, affliction in body; healing in mind, healing in body.

May you cultivate that mix of courage and humility to follow this line of questioning into the deep recesses of the self so that the light of truth, which is to say the light of the real self, can shine down and guide the work of restoration. But do your exercises, too.

See you down the road! Best, J*

Copyright (c) 2019, Justin Jaucian

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