Is it okay for my knee to pass my ankle?

knee past my ankle

Perhaps you didn’t even know you had this question! The cue to “stack your knee over your ankle” is so commonly heard in yoga classes that it might be one that we don’t even think to question. After all, do a quick search & every picture you see of a warrior 1 or 2 pose has this alignment featured strongly! But is it really the best and do we need to be worried about taking our knee past our ankle?

My position on this is: there is nothing inherently wrong with taking your knee past your ankle joint, and it might even be beneficial. This is a natural range of motion for most people. Moving your knee really far forward is going to add more stress and strain to the joint itself, but it’s not likely to cause injury. Especially since we’re not adding a lot of additional weight.

“Stress” is NOT another word for “injurious.” Stress can mean “increased load”. And we need to increase the load to build strength! When you track your knee forward of your toes, it actually provides the opportunity to strengthen your knee through a greater range of motion.

There is a potential concern during postures where the knee is starting to sneak inward. As it sneaks inwards, then you have forces moving in different directions through the knee joint (aka “torque”); that torque is more likely to increase the possibility of injury. But even that, by itself, doesn’t necessarily cause injury. The repetitiveness of that can be what leads to trouble.

Moving your knee past your ankle is a NORMAL, natural movement that you likely perform daily in activities such as walking up or down stairs, sitting down or getting up.

So, if you have the ability to control where your knee is and it feels stable to you then go for it. If you notice that your knee tends to move in/out or otherwise without your mindfulness attached to the movement then you probably need to spend some time developing the strength to control what is happening to ensure what you are doing during practice is mindful and on-purpose. After all, yoga is a practice of intentional movement.

Practice Strong!

Sarah.

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