We hear it almost every day. It's spoken to million of students, in hundreds of studies, in every different language, in countries all over the globe.
But what's the big deal about "lock the knee"?
Number one, it's hard to do. It's so hard to do, in fact, that everyone on earth is guaranteed to be unsuccessful when they start practicing it. Standing head to knee is purely an exercise in locking the knee (the other parts are basically distractions), and it is the only "advanced" posture in the beginning series (other than savasana). So it is first and foremost an exercise in patience and determination. And self-control. (Don't cheat.) And concentration. (Don't blink your eyes.) And faith. (It will happen if you keep trying the right way.)
That all sounds great. But is that it?
There are so many interesting things that happen in standing head to knee, especially once it becomes accessible to your body. I've found that the more physically capable I become in this posture, the more of a mental challenge it is. That last stage, the part where you bring your head down onto your knee, really seems to give everyone a hard time, even if they have no difficulty getting their body into that same position when they're sitting on the ground. I always have called it the "ultimate mind-fuck." (Ahem.) Because your mind goes crazy when you start advancing to a new stage (whether it's kicking out, elbows down, or head down).
Lately I'm fascinated by that moment in the posture, because it tells you so much about yourself. What I've often noticed - and I don't think that I'm alone in this - is that I experience a moment of absolute panic when I'm on the brink of success. It reminds me of that famous quote: "Our deepest fear is not that inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." There's this sudden, uninvited rush of doubt - "oh no, I'm not going to be able to do this" - and as soon as that happens, it's all over.
So how do you get through that moment, to find the thing that's waiting for you on the other side? How do you overcome such an overpowering instinct? It's shockingly simple. You fill your mind with one thought only, the one thought that will lead to success, because it drowns out everything else.
Lock the knee.
That's it. And you have to know - not think, but know - that it will work. That you are ready. That everything is in place. You take a look in the mirror and tell yourself, okay, Self! This is it. Just concentrate and meditate, keep fighting for it, and don't be scared when it works!
We've heard it over and over and over: the secret to success in life is just to lock the damn knee. And you know what's funny? I think it's actually true.