Paris is calling + Bikram yoga: locking the knee..

8 Jun

Hi guys! How you’re having a wonderfull day!

Damn it looks like everyone is getting pregnant lately! There is a babyboooom going on.. ( except for me, I don’t have any maternal feelings yet, I’m actually a lil scared of babies, everytime someone asks me if I want to hold the baby, I’m so scared i’m gonna drop it, they’re so tiny!! :p )

The fitnessista ( announced yesterday that she and the pilot are having a mini fitnessista/pilot.. So happy for them! My best friend from highschool/ college also announced that she’s 10 weeks pregnant ( I just wrote 10 months, damn she’s not an elephant :D) Hurrrrrrrrrray for her as well!!!! :)

Friday I’m leaving to go to Paris for modeling! I hope I get to see the city a little bit, but usually that never happens, gotta love model life ;) Expect a full recap on monday ;)

I also read a super interesting article regarding Bikram yoga and “locking the knee”.. I always have trouble with locking my knee, it seems that my leg just can’t stop shaking.. And if you can’t lock the knee.. you really can’t move forward in the posture..

What exactly does “lock the knee” mean?

In Bikram Yoga, many of the standing yoga poses are characterized by having one or both legs “locked out”.

As this concerns the knee joint (amongst other elements of the leg) and having had an aggravated knee for a while, I thought I’d take some time to debunk exactly what “lock the knee” actually means.

In so doing, I hope you will learn a little more about what steps you can take to:

  • Protect your knee when “locking the knee”;
  • Lessen the effect of previous knee injuries;
  • Reduce potential osteo-arthritic symptoms; and
  • Enjoy a renewed bounce in your walk as you learn to strengthen your large leg muscles and relax the hamstring.

Using your quadriceps to protect the knee joint

Take a close look at the two photos below.

What do you notice?


See how the one on the top does not have the shadow of muscle definition around the top part of the knee joint as the one on the bottom does?


Now the leg in both these photos is actually “locked straight” and both knees are “locked” in the sense that the leg is straight.

However, one is good, the other most definitely not!

So what is the difference and why is it important?

It has all got to do with:

  • The use of the quadriceps muscle;
  • How it acts as a suspension system for the knee joint; and
  • Its relationship when “clenched” with other large leg muscles, such as the hamstring.

Why your quadriceps are important …

As it turns out, it is often not the knee cartilage causing knee issues or knee pain – it is the lack of surrounding support from the large leg muscles – calf, quadriceps and hamstring.

The quads need to tighten to help pull up the kneecap and in turn effectively assist the knee joint to function correctly..

Learn to tighten your quadriceps!

Your quadriceps are your front thigh muscle between your knee and your hip.

You should be able to see some muscle definition around your knee joint simply by tightening the quadriceps (it might take a bit of practice – and can be far easier to practice laying down).

OK good. This is the action that does a couple of key things – especially for your yoga practice …

  1. Your knee will be held in a supportive position
  2. Your hamstring will be forced to relax by a mechanism known as reciprocal inhibition (I had to look it up too. It means that when one muscle is contracting the other cannot be engaged due to a nerve-mechanism in the body. You can take advantage of this!)

It took me a while to realize what was meant by “lock the knee”.

For ages I was simply straightening my leg and leaning on it.

Not good.

So “Locking The Knee” means?

Rather than just straighten the leg in the standing poses, actively engage your quadriceps muscles and you will never have sore knees, your walk will feel lighter, you will be preventing any future issues – and as a side-benefit, your hamstrings will gain more flexibility and lengthen more easily, which is a boon for many of us with tight hamstrings from sitting at desks all day or from sporting activities!



- Do you have many pregnant friends at the moment?

- What is your ideal age to become a mommy? Mine is around 29-30..

- Do you lock your knee properly in Bikram/hot yoga?








6 Responses to “Paris is calling + Bikram yoga: locking the knee..”

  1. VeggieGirl June 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Seriously… the blog world is a pregnancy-filled place! None around here, haha ;)

    I need to lock my knees better, for sure.

  2. simplynutritiouskate June 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    great post I always find myself locking my knees the wrong way and they end up hurting

  3. Nissy June 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi there,

    Nice article on the knee locking (if I understood correctly).

    Allow me to add a benefit of doing it correctly;
    When you do it correctly you allow the quadriceps muscles to remain under tension, this is very usefull because this allows you to actively train the proprioception of your knee joint (proprioception is among other things, the capability of the body to feel the angle at which the joint or limb is at any given time, the balance of a joint, etc ).

    When done incorrectly and with the knees in overextension the knee joint and muscles around it that determine the proprioception are basicly inactive, the emphasis is placed on the ankles.

    I don’t have any pregnant friends at the moment, none that I am aware of anyway :-)

    My ideal age to become pregnant is, never really ;-)

    Haven’t done bikram yet or any other form of yoga for that matter, but when(if) I ever do, I will certainly ask you for some advice and remember this article.

    Hope you get to see Paris, it can be worthwhile.


  4. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! June 9, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    I ALWAYS have trouble locking my knee at Bikram! And in addition to that I am not flexible at ALL so I am shake city when it comes to hot yoga! But thes tips will definitely help! Thanks Natalie!

  5. megan @ the oatmeal diaries June 9, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I just went for bikram for the first time today!! I got really dizzy at some parts, but I have a temporary pass so I’m gonna go a few more times while I can. And I think I’d like to become a mom around 30 too! The twenties should still be full of freedom and fun! =P
    Enjoy PARIS!


  1. Dishin’ Up a Winner « - June 10, 2011

    [...] The Importance of Locking Your Knee at Bikram from Ella Linea [...]

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