If you have knee pain, exercises without proper equipment and modification can aggravate your condition and keep you from getting the movement and exercise needed for a healthy body. But, when you find the best yoga mat for bad knees, you will be able to cushion your knees and do the activities you enjoy!
You can still be a yogi even if you have knee pain, as long as you find the right mat 😉
If you’re looking for the best yoga mat for bad knees, here are 5 great options!
Also in this post:
- Causes Of Knee Pain
- 5 Best Yoga Mats For Bad Knees
- What To Look For When Shopping For A Yoga Mat
- Helpful Yoga Accessories
- Pose Modifications
Common Causes Of Knee Pain
Knee pain is actually really common.
According to the Mayo Clinic, pain can be caused by an obvious injury, but some other conditions can also cause discomfort, pain, and make exercise difficult.
Causes Of Knee Pain Due To Injury:
- sprains and strains
- torn ligament, tendon, or meniscus
- cartilage damage
- dislocated kneecap
Causes Of Knee Pain Not Necessarily Caused By Injury
- rheumatoid arthritis
- septic arthritis (comes from an infection)
- bleeding in the joints
- iliotibial band syndrome
- foot or hip injury that has changed the way you hold yourself
No matter the reason for your knee pain, it is so important not to do any more damage during exercise.
One of the easiest ways for you to protect yourself is to get the right equipment!
So if you are a yoga beginner and thinking of starting an at-home practice or taking classes, (or if you are already practicing yoga but are finding that it is causing you discomfort) be sure to find the right yoga mat and accessories to give your knees, joints, and overall body the support it needs.
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5 Best Yoga Mats For Bad Knees
There are plenty of yoga mats out there, but not all are going to be helpful if you need a little more support. But rest assured, these 5 mats are great options!
Beatyovo Yoga Mat
The Beautyovo yoga mat is 8mm thick, so plenty thick enough for you to not feel the hard surface of the floor underneath. It offers cushioning as well as stability and is made from eco-friendly TPE. It is also non-slip, so won’t slide around on the floor when you are trying to balance.
As one reviewer simply put it, “My knees are happy!”
If you are looking for an extra, extra-thick yoga mat, Yoga Cloud is the one for you!
It is a massive one-inch-thick (approximately 25mm)! You really will feel like you’re doing your yoga practice on cloud nine. As one reviewer said, “If your knees are sensitive, this mat is a dream”. While the material is thick, it is also dense and not too soft, which means that your joints will still be supported. It also features a non-slip surface and a bottom that will grip the floor.
I personally have a few yoga mats, but one of my favorites is the Yoga Cloud! 😉
Gaiam Yoga Mat
On the other hand, you might be looking for a yoga mat that is lightweight so that you can take it to class
with you. The Gaiam yoga mat is lightweight but is also a thick 6mm. It has a sticky texture that helps it to
grip the floor and is also non-slip to make sure that you stay stable when doing all of your poses.
This mat comes in so many beautiful designs! So if you want to stand out from the yoga crowd while also making sure that your knees and joints are properly supported, you may want to opt for a beautiful mat from Gaiam.
Ihoming Yoga Mat
The Ihoming yoga mat is made of TPE and is 6mm thick. It is sticky, non-slip, and is dense enough to support your knees.
It also features an alignment design. These are markings on the mat which show you where the central line
is, as well as the other areas of the mat you will need to use for different poses. The alignment marks can be
useful when you have joint pain because you can use them to make sure you are properly centered and
positioned on your mat. This will help you to stay stable and will reduce your risk of falling and potentially causing injury.
Gruper Thick Yoga Mat
You can get the Gruper yoga mat in two different thicknesses – 2/5 inch (approximately 10mm) or 3/5 inch
(approximately 15mm). Either of which will be thick enough to help protect your knees. This mat is also
longer and wider than most yoga mats. That means that your knees will be less likely to end up off the mat
and on the floor, which will help to stop you from slipping, could possibly prevent injury, and will also ensure that your knee is always supported by your mat, regardless of what pose you manage to get yourself in.
What To Look For In A Yoga Mat If You Have Joint Pain
Having a hard time deciding on the perfect yoga mat?
I think I can help!
If you’re searching for the best yoga mat for bad knees and having trouble deciding exactly what you need, keep the following considerations in mind:
Possibly the most important feature you need to look out for is thickness. Standard yoga mats are actually
quite thin, usually around 3mm.
If you have knee pain or other joint problems, a standard yoga mat won’t protect your aching body parts from the hardness of the floor underneath, so kneeling and balancing could be painful or make your knee pain worse.
It is best to look for a yoga mat that is at least 5mm thick.
This is one of those Goldilocks situations where you really need it to be just right.
Your yoga mat should be cushioned enough to protect your knees from any impact but it should be firm and enough to support the joints without giving way.
One of the potential problems when doing yoga, especially if you are attempting a balancing pose, is that you could slip.
Any slip or fall could injure your knees or cause joint pain, so you really need to stay as stable as possible.
Not to worry though, many yoga mats on the market are now made of non-slip materials and have a base that grips to the floor.
Helpful Yoga Accessories
In addition to a thick, supportive yoga mat it is also very helpful to incorporate a few accessories!
Place a kneeling pad under your shins (not your knees) when you are doing a kneeling pose to be sure that your knees are properly supported. A kneeling pad will reduce the amount of strain that you are putting on your joint and will also keep it stable so that your legs won’t slip and slide around which could cause or aggravate an injury.
” rel=”nofollow sponsored” class=”rank-math-link”>Yoga jellies are handy little things. They are small enough to fit in your bag so that you can use them for
your yoga practice wherever you go. Basically, they are two little discs that are filled with gel cushioning.
You use one for each knee when you are doing kneeling poses. They are great for helping you to stabilize
because of their circular sloped design.
Yoga bolsters are not as dense as kneeling pads and can be filled with materials such as cotton or buckwheat.
Bolsters are often used in restorative practice and to help with meditation, but they are also great for
supporting yourself in a way that will protect your knees. When you are doing getting into poses like Child’s Pose,
place the bolster between your calf and your thigh, this will stop you from feeling too much pressure on your
knees which could cause them to misalign.
Sometimes simple really is best!
A yoga blanket can be folded up and used as a cushion or as a bolster. And if savasana makes you super relaxed, you could always pull your blanket over yourself and have a well-deserved nap!
Yoga Pose Modifications
Even with all the right accessories, some yoga poses may not be appropriate for your individual situation or may need modification to feel comfortable on your knees and joints.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t do yoga!
It just means that you need to change the poses a little so that your knees or other joints are protected.
Here are some common poses and modifications that you might find helpful:
Warrior I and II
How you modify this pose will depend on the type of knee problem that you have.
For many knee problems, it would be better not to attempt the full 90-degree bend that is usually asked for in this pose as that could put too much strain on the joint.
However, if you have runner’s knee, a deeper bend could actually be better for you.
It is best to feel out where the angle feels best for you to stop and to make sure you don’t go any further if you start to feel any pain or straining.
If the heel-to-arch alignment in Warrior II stops you from externally rotating your front leg fully, it is better
to move your feet to a heel-to-heel position instead.
This will stop your knee from becoming misaligned and help to prevent it from getting injured.
Tree, Warrior III, And Half-Moon
The problem with these poses is that they ask you to balance on one leg.
This can cause you to wobble which can bring your standing knee out of alignment and could cause injury.
There are two possible solutions to this:
- hold onto a support, such as the back of a chair or a wall
- instead of lifting your leg up, kick it out and use it as a kickstand instead
Tree, Gate, And Triangle
In these poses, try to avoid resting or pushing on your leg with your hand or foot as this can force your knee
out of alignment and could cause you to get injured.
Any Standing Pose
If any standing pose is causing strain to your knees, just flip the pose and try it lying down instead.
You will still get all the benefits of the pose but without the risk of injuring your knee.
For a lot of standing poses, such as Warrior II, you may be asked to square your hips. If you have knee
problems, doing this could force your knee out of alignment which could cause you pain or injury. Keep
your hips as unsquared as you want if it will stop you from getting hurt!
Do what feels good to your body 😉
Dancer, Bow, And Pigeon
Grabbing your ankle in these poses could force your knee to twist, which can place a lot of stress on the
inside of your knee.
If you are straining to grab your ankle in these poses, it is best not to risk hurting your knee.
Instead, keep your arms raised. This will have the added benefit of strengthening your core!
For pigeon pose, you could try reclined pigeon (or thread the needle) instead. This uses the same principles
as pigeon pose but does not force your knee into a twist.
Hero, Bharadvajasana, And Lotus
These poses require a twisting of the knee which is unnatural to many people and if you have pain in your
knees anyway, these could make them worse.
You could try substituting a seated pose instead (e.g. thunderbolt instead of lotus) that does not involve twisting your knees.
Using a bolster or a folded blanket between your sitting bones and your calves can stop any extra pressure on
your knees in this pose.
This pose can put a lot of weight and pressure on your knees, but there are modifications that can help.
Try tucking a tightly rolled blanket into the backs of both knees and make sure it stays in place as you lower
You can also place a block or bolster on the floor to rest your buttocks on.
A Few Last Thoughts About Finding The Best Yoga Mat For Bad Knees
Don’t let pain stop you from being the yogi that you really want to be!
You can still do yoga and get all of the wonderful benefits even if you have sore knees or joints. You just have to go slow, listen to your body, and make a few adjustments.
There are easy and effective modifications to poses (like those listed above) you can try that will put less strain on your knees, along with yoga accessories that can be really helpful!
Before you do any of those things, though, you need to make sure that you get your base right, and that is where your yoga mat comes in.
A supportive yoga mat is essential, especially if you suffer from joint problems!
So, now that you what to look for when shopping for the best yoga mat for bad knees – you can get started on taking your fitness to the next level 😉