BODY-CENTERED COACHING TIP: Knee-Locking Syndrome — And How To Free Yourself

Many of us, when standing upright, bend our knees backward into a rigid position. This can happen when we’re engaged in conversation with others, standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to cross a street and whenever else we might happen to be standing.

Surprisingly, locking your knees can have subtle, yet profoundly limiting effects on your whole body. Equally surprising, unlocking your knees can have profoundly positive effects on your overall state of consciousness and well-being.

From an energetic standpoint, locking your knees can diminish the flow of energy that moves between your body and the earth. If you’re disallowing your energetic connection with the earth, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of your mind and lose touch with your sensory experience of being alive and present in the universe right here and now.

Anatomically speaking, the act of locking your knees causes your pelvis to push upward and put unnecessary pressure on your spine and internal organs, including your lungs. This squishing effect travels through your upper torso and can limit your freedom to breathe fully in and out, while hampering the ability of your organs to function effortlessly.

The easy solution to this problem has two steps. First, simply notice when you’re locking your knees while standing. Then allow your knees to bend slightly forward and soften.

If you’re perceptive, you’ll notice that the act of unlocking your knees can have an unlocking effect all the way up through your jaw and head, and even down your arms, giving you greater awareness and freedom throughout your whole body.

You might also feel space opening in and around your lungs, allowing them to expand in all directions as your breathe in, and relax more easily as you breathe out. At the same time, you may become more aware of the energy flowing in your body and connecting you with the earth.

With soft knees, you can enjoy and play with the gift of gravity rather than bracing yourself against it.

As another experiment, you might also want to explore shifting slowly back and forth between soft knees and locked knees to contrast how each affects your whole body.

With softly bent knees, you can also shift your weight slowly from side to side, feeling the subtle changes in your feet and throughout your body. This gentle movement sends new, sensory stimulation through your nervous system and integrates the functioning of the left and right hemispheres of your brain. As this happens, you think more creatively on your feet and you become an enhanced source of possibilities in the world.

So whenever you find yourself standing, let your knees bend slightly forward and soften, and shift your weight gently back and forth. Although these subtle physical shifts will be virtually imperceptible to people around you, your experience of yourself and the world will change in profound ways.

The Body-Centered Coach is copyright by Greg Newman, and now has subscribers in France, Switzerland, Germany, India, Japan, Canada and across the U.S.A. Since 1995, Gregory Newman, M.S. has coached individuals and couples in body-centered skills that have made it easier for their lives, relationships and careers to blossom. Greg coaches over-the-phone and in-person and can be reached at 608-274-6962 or


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