Are you kneeling comfortably?
Like all joints, your knees need a variety of movements to be healthy, nourished and functional. But if they never bend further than 90 degrees they begin to lose their awesome range of movement and become sort of chair shaped. Kneeling is one way to gently expand your knees' movement capacity, but the key is to understand how to use support to do that comfortably. If this makes you wince, then read on for different options.
Let's start from the ground up.
Make the ground under your ankles and knees softer and more forgiving by kneeling on carpet or adding a folded blanket or pillow. (No I'm not on a slope, I haven't mastered the whole lining up my phone on the tripod thing!)
You might find that the stretch is a bit much on the top of your feet or ankles, so add padding under your ankles. Experiment with a rolled up towel, mat, blanket or thin pillow. Use the least amount of padding you need. This is a good one if you keep getting cramp in your feet or toes. It might be tempting to tuck your toes underneath to avoid the stretch, but that won't help stretch your feet or to free stiff ankles. I'm kneeling up so you can see where the padding goes.
If your knees hardly ever go beyond a right angle then you may need to pad behind your knees to give them a little more space. If you use something supportive but soft like a rolled up towel or blanket, then you can start to sink into the support as your knees relax. Again, I'm kneeling up so you can see where the padding goes. You might not need as much as this. A thin cushion could do the trick. And of course you could also use the ankle and knee padding above at the same time.
By using more support and padding, you can kneel with almost no pressure on your ankles and only a tiny bend in your knees. Foam blocks with a pillow on top work best. I've used a stack of books, but they do tend to slip and then you slide off. Take care!
Crikey, that camera angle is terrible.
When you sit on top, most of your weight goes through the pillow and stack of blocks instead of through your knees. You can buy meditation stools that have the same effect, but like any fixed furniture, they won't help to expand your range of movement.
I just realised this would have worked best as a video. Let's try that next time.
Wishing you happy knees!