The Yoga Underground is a  Knees Over Toes Studio

At The Yoga Underground, we believe intuition + knowledge > tradition, always.

Like many of you, I have had knee problems since I was teenager.

I’ve torn my ACL twice in my left knee, resulting in major reconstructive surgery both times. My right knee then overcompensated for years through all kinds of sports and athletics and yoga – as a result, both of my knees have had their fair share of trauma and unnecessary wear & tear.

You’re likely familiar with the idea that in a lunge, the knee shouldn’t go past the toes of the front leg. I’ve been told that probably 1000+ times over the 18 years of my movement/yoga journey! Yet this past summer, my brother Luke introduced me to the ideas of Ben Patrick (the Knees Over Toes Guy/@kneesovertoesguy) and it was an absolute game-changer for me.

The whole premise of Ben’s program is that our knees go past our toes all the time in day-to-day functional movement – walking down the stairs, hiking downhill, jumping while playing basketball or squatting down to grab something off the floor – but we never strengthen our joints in this position.

Ben teaches that generally what has scared people about the knees over toes position is the pressure we feel in our knees, so we work to avoid this position. Avoiding the joint is easier short term, but that tells our body that we are no longer using the joint so it sends less synovial fluid (the oil lubricates and delivers nutrients to joints) and then the joint and surrounding muscles weaken and lose mobility.

So we actually need this pressure we’ve been avoiding, to keep the joint healthy and lubricated! A body with less pressure on it ages at a rate of 10 years older than a body with pressure on it. (You should see his 67-year old mom, running and jumping and squatting with the mobility of a 30-year old!)

I’ve been doing Ben’s program for the past eight months, and my knee pain has decreased by at least 75%. It’s been remarkable! I can do things in yoga that used to cause me pain, hike with Rumi, and walk up and down stairs without any worry. I recently met with the TYU teachers to share what I’ve been learning, so we can incorporate these ideas together as a studio. I know that this goes against specific yoga “tradition” – but in my opinion the smartest, best thing I can do as a studio owner is to encourage the idea that the combination of intuition + knowledge should always outweigh tradition. Yes, we love and honor the traditions that got us here and gave us so much – but when we know better, we will do better. This is how things grow and progress and evolve.
So if you’re interested in learning more, check out anything by Ben Patrick! (@kneesovertoesguy) – or join me for a class. The beautiful thing about all of these exercises is they are 100% scalable – no matter where you’re starting in regards to strength or flexibility, we have space for you, and you are welcome.

We’re all on this journey together!