There's no such thing as a stupid question! Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below, or ask it over on the Yoga Forum.
Question 1: In the recent past I have been struggling with back pain, especially my trapezius, it is knotted and tight. I have tried massages and heat packs and few other methods. But this starts from my job where I sit and work all day, so eventually it always comes back and is kinda unavoidable. Do you have suggestions about any yoga poses that I could practice everyday to have some sort of relief?
Answer 1: Ouch, I know that pain well! We hold a lot of our tension in the shoulder area (top of the traps), so make an effort throughout the day to see if you're relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Doing that will relax the muscle and may prevent further pain. To deal with the current pain you have, I would suggest the neck and shoulders video, as well a nice relaxing bath with epsom bath salts (2 cups per bath) with 10-12 drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender is especially good for relaxation and the epsom salt helps to release tension.
Question 2: I'm definitely getting stronger with consistent practice, but I'm noticing a little joint pain. It's not excessive pain, but it's extremely tender. The first knuckle on my middle finger (if counting one to three, bottom to top of finger) on my left hand is causing me some discomfort. I don't really know how to relieve the pain or how to determine what is causing it. I mainly notice it when I'm doing things outside of exercise. Any advice would be helpful, thanks!
Answer 2: Just double check that you're pressing in all the right spaces. From there, I would suggest taking a little break from yoga any weight bearing poses to give your hand a rest. Maybe now is a good time to focus on a yin practice? If you don't see an improvement after a while (give yourself at least a week, maybe two weeks), I'd suggest seeing a doctor.
Question 4: I hear "lift the knees" often in basic pose. How does one lift bone?
Answer 4: If by basic pose you mean tadasana, which is just standing with the legs together, then the instructor is likely trying to get the students to engage the quads. Sometimes people don't really know how to do that, so the instructor will give a more actionable instruction like "lift the knees". I generally say, "lift the kneecaps" which people are able to do when they engage and firm up the quadriceps. I tried taking a picture but it wasn't working very well - my legs don't have much of a tear drop muscle to show what's going on, so I enlisted the help of my husband who was on board despite his right leg being a bit smaller (he recently had ACL surgery, so he's still working to get the legs even again). Hope that helps!