For some this pose is a breeze, for others it’s torture. Fixed Firm is a gentle reminder that we all have different bodies, different injuries and different capabilities. While some people easily slide into this pose, others feel it in the knees, ankles or lower back.
Sometimes we are not even sure how tight our knees and ankles are until we do Fixed Firm and the response is pain, so the best thing to do is go slow and listen to your body, especially if you have a history of knee pain, surgery or tears to the knee. In yoga, there should be no pain in your joints what so ever.
Start by sitting with your knees together and feet together and your hips on your heels. This is not possible for everyone, so you may not be able to get your hips to your heels at all, so stay upright as long as you can and use your arms either side of your body to take the weight off your knees and ankles. Take your knees wider apart if you need to. Play around with different things to see what is most comfortable for you. A good stretch is what you are looking for and some slight discomfort in the ankles.
If you can separate your feet, then take them wider than your hips, not too wide, your heels should touch your hips when they are on the floor. Make sure your ankles are straight, you want all of your toes facing the back of the room and you are sitting on top of your feet. Try to get a straight line from your knees to your toes – keep the integrity and alignment 100%.
If your hips touch the floor, you are ready to go back, but only if your hips are touching, there is no pain in your knee joints and your knees are still on the floor. Place the hands on the soles of your feet and go back one elbow at a time. Stay here and breathe, listen to your body – any pain?
If you are okay, then go further, look for a back-bend by lifting up your chest and placing the back of your head on the floor and then your shoulders on the floor.
Raise the arms overhead, latch onto opposite elbows and press the arms and shoulders down, bringing them flat on the floor. With the chin tucked into the chest, press back with the arms and lift the ribs up to feel the chest stretch. Simultaneously ground the knees and feel the stretch along the stomach, hip flexors, front thighs and knees.
Relax deeper into the pose by breathing, bringing the knees closer together on the floor and pressing the buttocks into the floor.
This pose will heal and improve weak or injured knees but remember, the knees must not lift off the floor in this pose. Initially, this may mean not lowering back all the way, but instead just widening the knees.
Breath here and hold for 20 seconds.
Come out of the pose slowly, the same way you went into the posture, using one elbow at a time.
Fixed firm pose is particularly challenging for athletes and those suffering from knee injuries. It is important to recognise that this is an anatomically correct asana, and helps to rebuild a natural flexibility of the joint.
Always maintain correct alignment, heels touching with the hips as this will ensure the ligaments of the knees and ankles are stretched evenly, building balanced flexibility.
Try not to compensate in the posture by changing the position of your feet. Your ankles should be straight, toes pointing to the back wall.
Don't correct the depth of the posture if you feel pain, less is more.
If you are lying down on the floor, relaxed, think about where your heels are and how close they are to your hips, maybe next time you do the pose, you can get them closer? It will change the posture.
If you are very flexible, when you go to your elbows, slide your elbows down to your toes and place first your shoulders on the floor and then the back of your head to increase your back-bend.
Know that this posture will help bring some life back to your legs, increasing circulation, eliminating scar tissue plus helping overworked tendons and ligaments in your knees, ankles and feet.
“Do not mess with the knees, you can mess with the Gods but you cannot mess with the knees” – Bikram Choudhury