Best Yoga Mat for Bad Knees
Before we start – I am no ‘guru’ nor a spiritual expert. I just enjoy Meditation and Yoga and wanted to start a blog from my perspective of trying to create a daily routine that allows me a glimpse of the stillness they can bring. I try to link out to as many reputable sources within these posts as I can, some of these external links enable me to earn a commission which helps towards the running of the blog.
Yoga is more than just exercise; historically it has been a way of life. It embraces a holistic philosophy of mindful living, incorporating movements that positively impact the physical, mental and emotional body.
In short, yoga has plenty of benefits, including managing stress, boosting endorphins, increasing flexibility, calming the central nervous system, improving muscle tone, improving strength, weight loss and it helps lower blood pressure.
It is also an excellent choice of exercise for anyone with aches and pains, particularly in the knees. While some forms of exercise can exacerbate existing pain, yoga actually works to help it, so you should not be put off trying yoga if you suffer from pain in your knee joints, in fact quite the opposite!
Yoga can be very beneficial to those with weak or painful knees through practicing certain poses and postures that help to stabilize the knee and strengthen the supporting muscles, maintaining the knee in proper alignment.
The muscle called the vastus medialis in particular can be strengthened through yoga. It’s the muscle that runs down the inner quadriceps muscle, helping to extend the leg. If you want to keep your knees healthy, strengthening the vastus medialis is imperative.
Physical therapists actually recommend exercises that strengthen this neglected muscle as an essential part of knee injury rehabilitation .
Yoga poses also help by stretching out tight muscles that can pull on the knee, mainly the outer hips and hip flexors. If you complain of chronic pain in your knees, perhaps they hyperextend or click when you bend or straighten them, this could indicate misalignment and improper tracking.
This kind of misalignment is sadly what causes a lot of chronic knee pain, which over time can cause damage to the knee joint. The good news is that the natural and therapeutic benefits of yoga can really help to both manage the pain and also heal the underlying issue through strengthening.
Yoga reinforces that we concentrate on our breathing, keeping us focused and aware of how we use our bodies as we move through different poses. Mindfulness and a present-sense of awareness is a key part of a beneficial yoga practice.
The more we practice this sense of awareness and equilibrium between all parts of our body, the more connected we will be to our body and mind, helping us not to overstretch or put any strain on any parts of our body. Yoga really is the perfect antidote to anyone who spends long periods of time sitting at a desk staring at a computer. It provides a great physical workout and is amazing for boosting your energy, releasing stress and clearing the mind of worries.
If you are someone who suffers from knee pain, embracing yoga could enhance your life in a big way, but you are definitely going to want to invest in a good yoga mat – one that addresses your weak spots and actively helps you to enjoy your experience on the mat further.
What makes a good yoga mat for bad knees?
Choosing the right yoga mat is going to be the difference between an enjoyable practice and one that leaves you worse than at the beginning. If you have sensitive knees and joints you may find that hardwood floors such as those usually found in yoga studios are no friend to your poor knees and finding a supportive mat is paramount to keep you practicing yoga regularly.
Be warned though – a thicker mat does not always equal the best support! What is actually more important to bear in mind is the kind of materials used in the mat. Some materials that go into producing yoga mats are cheap, non-natural and harmful to both the planet and you. Imagine a mat that seems thick but is made of cheap, soft material that dents when you exert pressure on it, causing your knee to sink right through and touch the floor. Density of the material as well as the thickness of the mat is both vital to take into consideration.
Think about choosing a mat made from dense materials like natural rubber, TPE or PVC (eco-certified). Choosing a mat made from one of these materials will ensure that the yoga mat won’t indent so much with pressure and will keep your sensitive joints away from the hardness of the floor. Try to go for a mat that is a minimum of 5-6 mm thick, and made from one of the above dense materials.
Texture is another consideration. Bumpy or raised, ridged textures are good for grip and balancing, but some people prefer a smooth surface. Sticky mats that do not leave a residue are ideal for keeping your form and avoiding any slips.
Your comfort is of upmost importance so we’ve done a little research and have made a guide to what we consider the best yoga mat options for anyone suffering from bad knees or painful joints. Don’t let your pain stop you from practicing yoga, especially when those strengthening positions can be of so much help to your physical body and knee alignment. Having the proper mat will make all the difference and can literally transform your experience of yoga, hopefully inspiring you to roll out your mat again and again.
Best Yoga Mats for Bad Knees
There are a ton of mats out there to choose from, we’ve picked out the candidates that offer excellent cushioning and a long list of other benefits, like non-toxic materials, non-slip surfaces and eco-friendly construction as well as being attractive and easy to transport! If you still feel concerned about your knees, you could also consider a yoga knee pad to lay on top of your mat, that way you absolutely ensure a pain-free yoga experience. Whatever you decide, just remember that having knee pain does not mean giving up yoga. Choose your own cushiony, supportive mat and keep yoga a part of your healthy, mindful lifestyle.
Aurorae Extra Thick Yoga Mat
This is a very popular, eco-friendly option. An extra thick (¼ inch), long yoga mat with non-slip rosin, this mat is non-toxic, extra long and extra cushioned. It’s ideal for taller people and the padding will be perfect anyone with injuries or sensitive knees. You won’t find yourself feeling the hardness of the floor through this mat, it has a density and strength which comes from the non-toxic materials used, ensuring that you stay supported in all poses. It also comes with a free carrier bag, so you’ll be able to travel easily from home to studio with your mat.
Incline Fit Extra Thick
One of the best features of the Incline Fit mat is it’s extra long design. It has cushioned support with half an inch of soft, high-density comfort foam. The foam is non-slip, sweat resistant and its ribbed pattern provides great grip, perfect for keeping you steady and stable in your practice, however long you hold your postures. It’s extra thickness is wonderful for anyone with joint or knee pain and it does not stay indented for long, unlike some other brands of thick mat. It also comes in a range of attractive colors and has a carrying strap.
Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
This mat is marketed as a yoga and pilates mat, which simply means it is versatile and durable. Its closed cell surface is perfect for keeping sweat and dirt away from being absorbed into the mat. While quite thin, this should not deter you, the density and excellent cushioning provide all the support and protection your bones and joints require. Manduka offers a life time guarantee on this product, so it’s pretty hard to find fault with this mat! It might be priced a little higher, but the quality and value is second to none.
JADE YOGA – Fusion Yoga Mat
This is a top quality, extra long mat that checks all the right boxes for thickness, density and it’s made from non-toxic materials. The Jade Fusion is made from open-celled natural rubber, which gives it excellent grip due to the gentle semi-sticky texture that means you won’t slip but you also don’t get residue on your hands. This mat is ⅓ inch thick and its density and cushioning spells good news for those with knee complaints. Another plus point about the Jade Fusion is that it is guilt free for the eco-conscious as a tree is planted with every mat sold.
Gaiam Yoga Mat
Gaiam has a very affordable, extra thick yoga mat with cushiony support. At 2.5 inches, it’s definitely on the thicker end of all the mats we have reviewed. It is extra long, soft, and durable and offers good support for those with knee trouble. The thickness might make balancing poses a little more challenging, so you should consider your main requirements when thinking about choosing this mat. It does have an easy cinch strap for traveling and a textured grip to avoid slips. The mat is also available in an awesome range of colors. You can’t beat the price of this mat.