Why Not Put a Blanket Under Your Knee?

patella   patella   patella

It can’t hurt to put a blanket under the front of your knee when asking it to support the weight of the body. The patella, or kneecap, a small bone at the front of the knee joint, protects the knee to a degree but you don’t need to put the body on top of it during your yoga practice.

The patella is the largest of the sesamoid bones—roundish bones embedded within tendons. They are usually found in the hand, knee and foot where a tendon passes over a joint. The patella is embedded in the tendon of the quadriceps muscle which functions mostly as an extensor of the knee. The patella aids in the execution of this action because it increases the leverage that the quadriceps can exert on the femur, or thigh, bone.

The patella articulates with the femur, which has a groove that the kneecap slides within. The ends of the femur and the underside of the patella are covered with cartilage that helps the bones glide smoothly over each other.

There are no hard fast rules about putting blankets under the knee. I didn’t do it for the first ten years that I practiced, even with knee problems.

But there are plenty of students I see working on hands and knees, or doing lunges with tight hips and hamstrings, not to mention cores that could use a little help. I think these folks would all be well served by practicing with a blanket under the knees.

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  1. Blanket under the knee….what an excellent suggestion! This reminds me of my modern dance training many years ago. Martha Graham style. Lots and lots of work on the knees–on the hardwood dance floor. Actually being asked to RUN on the knees! Yikes. It was very painful and I hated it. (Not the other parts of the training, just the knee stuff). They used to tell us that if we pulled our weight up off the knees enough it wouldn’t hurt. Yeah, sure…..

  2. I too never practiced with a blanket under the knees. After our car accident I have much more appreciation for those bones and their tenderness. I still marvel that mine are not broken, just still deeply, badly bruised–/four months after the accident! Also wondering if you have any experiencing with people who have patella-femoral syndrome as I definitely do in left leg and the pain is prohibiting me from Pushing the healing I know needs to happen to regain mobility. I’m currently at 115degrees and would love to see knee at 135 again. Love to you dear Jonathan.

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