Categories
Yoga

What Is the Best Yoga Mat for Bad Knees? (The Most Important Factors)

Buying the best yoga mat for bad knees can save your life. Especially if you're counting on yoga for fitness and stress release. It's properly-cushioned and supportive of all joints. But for the knees, it's especially soft and smooth.

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with yoga. It engages both the mind and body. But if you have a sensitive knee or a childhood knee injury, you need to be extra careful. The last thing you need is your old injury to show up.

The only thing that will show a quick and effective result is a yoga mat. Really, you'll notice a significant difference in your knees overnight!

best-yoga-mat-for-bad-knees-min

Choosing the Best Yoga Mat for Bad Knees

yoga-mat-with-knee-support-min

Yoga mats are made for many things. But not all of them are fit for yoga the way you want them to. So to find a yoga mat that's good for bad knees, here's what you have to look for.

1. Thickness

If the yoga mat you're using now feels like paper, it's bad for your knees. Thickness is the first factor of consideration when looking at yoga mats. It's the first defense against bad knee injuries.

Premium thickness protects your knee from the hard surface of the floor. Look for yoga mats with a minimum thickness of about 5mm. Lots of people buy yoga mats with 3mm thickness but that's not enough. You need at least 5mm to protect your knees and other sensitive joints in the body.

2. Cushioning

If the yoga mat is not properly-cushioned, the thickness is a waste. Without cushioning, your knees will sink into the mat. Rather than feel cushioned and supported by it.

So what does proper cushioning look and feel like?

When your knees do not sink in the yoga. When it feels like your knees are supported and lifted on the mat. It should feel as if you're sitting on a bed rather than a comforter or blanket. That's the correct cushioning a yoga mat can provide for bad knees.

There's a fine line between that and really soft but clumsy cushioning. While yoga can be a stress-releasing and calming practice. It does include many inversions and balance postures. Standing balancing postures on a very soft surface can lead to injury and prolonged knee pain.

So make sure that the yoga mat is firm but cushioned. This also depends on the floor you'll be practicing the most.

3. Material

There are many yoga mat materials to consider. You have the most common yoga mat material and that is PVC. But recent studies prove that PVC is not always the most supportive for sensitive joints.

Then you have more eco-friendly and conscious materials. Such as rubber, jute, natural cotton, and organic cotton, and bamboo. Eco-friendly materials are great because they are not manufactured and processed the way PVC is.

PVC contains harsh chemicals that might have a pungent odor. It wears out quickly over time. It's sticky so instead of gripping it causes your feet and hands to sweat and slide more often.

If you ask me, the best option out there for a yoga mat is eco-friendly latex-free rubber mats. They are made from tree rubber with no plasticizers, no PVC, and no latex. So it's hypoallergenic, kid-friendly, and bad knee-friendly.

4. Texture

Texture plays a huge part in yoga mats. Texture means the feel and stickiness of a yoga mat. This largely depends on the yoga mat's material. If it's rubber, the texture is smooth and grippy. If it's PVC, it's kind of slippery and bumpy which improves grip.

A bumpy texture on a yoga mat also enhances its cushioning. They have a soft feel with a textured roughness to them. This kind of roughness is not exactly the opposite of softness. It's uneven in a way that improves the way your feet and hands grip the mat.

Say in a downward dog - you can press your feet and hands firmly into the mat. The bumpy texture will prevent your hands from sliding forward. And your feet from sliding toward the back of the mat.

The option you choose depends on your personal preferences. It ranges from extremely flat and smooth to bumpy and slightly rough.

This brings to the next important factor of consideration.

5. Non-Slip, Sweat-Free

Anti-slip yoga mats can be hard to find. Especially if you have sweaty hands and feet. Non-slip yoga mats prevent you from sliding either forward or backward. So they do exactly as they sound, they stop you from slipping.

You need a yoga mat that during hot, sweaty sessions keep itself dry and comfortable. So even if you're sweating like crazy, the yoga mat doesn't too.

The benefits of using a non-slip yoga mat is a distraction-free and relaxed session. You will be able to hold each posture for longer. It also initiates better transitions. And intensifies your practical by focusing on important muscles. And it supports more advanced postures while reducing the chances of an injury.

Proper cushioning and grip will automatically improve your confidence. So never settle for a sticky and slippery yoga mat. It can increase your chances of an injury such as your knees, hip joints, and shoulders.

 Final Thoughts

choosing-the-best-yoga-mat-for-knee-pain-min

Looking for a dry, eco-friendly, and well-cushioned yoga mat is a must. It prevents bad knee injuries and other problems. Durability is also another important factor when it comes to yoga mats. So choose carefully and wisely.

It's only natural to buy according to price when looking at new yoga mats. But the price almost never dictates good quality. What does is what we're talking about in this article today. Proper cushioning, support, texture, and thickness. All these features make up the best yoga mat for bad knees.

And that's precisely what you need to look for too. If this is as important to you as it is to me, look out for yoga mats as thick as (or even thicker than) 5mm. A cushioned mat with a non-slip surface can improve your yoga practice and make you feel good.

RELATED POSTS:

Categories
Yoga

The Best Yoga Swing Positions and How to Do Them?

Also known as Aerial Yoga, it is like practicing yoga in the air. A yoga swing is made up of a hammock hanging from the ceiling on a single hook. You can practice a variety of yoga swing positions on it.

Such as a chair position, arms stretch, plank, and inversions. Such yoga swing positions can release lower back pain and boost flexibility. As a beginner, you can improve your stability and core strength on it too.

Learning new yoga swing positions for aerial yoga can relax the body and mind. It can reduce pain, stiffness, and compressing of the spine. It’s a great way to experiment with new yoga positions. And challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone - mentally and physically!

yoga-swing-positions-min

Best Yoga Swing Positions of 2020

Anti-gravity yoga is a fun and exciting practice for many people. It’s relaxing and offers a deep and lengthening stretch. Perfect for the spine, lower back, and your shoulders. These yoga swing positions are essential if you want to try out your new yoga swing.

1. Downward-Facing Dog

aerial-yoga-positions-min

This is a beginner-friendly yoga swing posture. It decompresses the spine and offers to lengthen. It’s good for the lower back, spine, and hips.

Make sure the swing is aligned to your hip bones in front of you. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward with your knees bent and put your hip weight on the swing.

Reach a point where you can place both your hands on the floor. Stretch your hands shoulder-width apart with your palms pressing the mat or the floor. Once you get into your downward dog position, elongate your tailbone.

The swing is wrapped around the hip bone. So it’s as if you’re swinging from the yoga swing with your arms and legs outstretched toward the mat. Keep your legs and arms straight. Bend deeply from the hip and push your tailbone up and forward.

2. Lying Spinal Twist

yoga-swing-sequence-min

This is also considered as a great warm-up posture for yogis. It releases tension and stiffness in the spine. Generally the kind of stiffness one feels after waking up or from sitting too long.

Before you do this posture, make sure the swing is the knee-length distance from the ground. This means the swing should be able to reach till your knees were to stand in front of it.

Now, lie down on your mat and make a “T” shape with your arms. You can keep your elbows straight or bend them to keep them closer to your body. Bend your knees and press them up against your chest.

Tuck your legs into the swing up to the knees. So your knees should be sticking out of the swing. Keep the knees right in front of your body and not sideways.

Now for the twist. Lower both knees to the one side and turn your gaze to the other side. The swing keeps your knees propelled up and away from the stomach. If your knees are turning towards your chest, this means you’re doing it wrong.

Stay on one side for 1-3 minutes and switch to the other side. This can really decompress your spine and release tension in your neck and shoulders.

3. Chair Pose

yoga-swing-poses-for-back-pain-min

Chair pose is simply bending your knees and squatting until you’re at a 90-degrees angle. This is good for your glutes, your lower back, and core. And it’s also a great yoga position for the yoga swing.

It’s called an assisted chair pose for yogis with knee and sciatica pain. But it’s also ideal for beginners.

Here’s how to do an assisted chair pose on a yoga swing.

Make sure the arm of the swing is wrapped around your shoulders. Both arms should go under your shoulders, through the armpits, and up towards the ceiling. So the right arm of the yoga swing is next to the right ear. And the left arm of the yoga swing is next to the left ear.

If you’re in the correct position, you’re hanging from the yoga swing by your shoulders/armpits. Once you’re in this position, go down into your basic chair pose. The yoga swing strengthens and straightens your spine as you bend lower.

This is the perfect yoga swing position for decompressing the spine. It’s good for lower back pain relief and corrects posture.

4. Plank

yoga-swing-benefits-min

This is, by far, the easiest of all yoga swing positions. It’s good for building core strength and stability. If you do this correctly, it can strengthen your spine, arms, glutes, and lower back. In fact, it relieves lower back pain and knee pain.

You can do a full plank and a forearm plank on a yoga swing. You will have to adjust the length of the swing for a forearm plank. But most yoga swings are easy to adjust.

Get into a full plank position. Keep your arms straight with your wrists under your shoulders. Keep your legs straight with your feet right under the swing. Place both legs in the yoga hammock. Tucking your feet right above the ankle for better support.

Do not let the swing go past your ankles toward the shin. Flex your feet and maintain a strong and steady posture. You can even rock front and back to build more resistance in your arms.

You can make things more intense by placing the yoga swing higher up toward the ceiling. This works your arms, glutes, and core to a greater degree. It’s the perfect sweat session for those who love a yoga challenge!

Conclusion

If you have a yoga swing at home, doing these yoga swing positions daily is amazing. It can reap excellent benefits for lower back pain relief and general well-being.

Yoga swing positions can have therapeutic benefits also. It deepens every stretch you do on the mat. It relaxes your mind and body. And you feel good and glowing afterward because of that boost in blood circulation.

It also assists in posture and spinal alignment. Yoga swing positions can be great for yogis with sciatica pain and lower back issues. So if you’ve invested in a good yoga swing, it’s time to spruce up your daily fitness session.

Categories
Yoga

Yoga Challenge for 2 – Best Yoga Positions That Are Fun to Do

Doing a yoga challenge for yourself is easy enough. But if you want to make things interesting, why don’t you try a yoga challenge for 2? It’s a suitable choice for many reasons. And you won’t be the first one to do this.

There are so many yoga poses for 2 people to do together. You can do this with family and close friends. It’s fun, intense, and engaging. If you’re doing this challenge with a partner, it can lead to many positive things.

Such as a stronger bond, better communication, and patience. Also, you get to create more memories with your partner in ways you didn’t think was possible. These postures make a compelling case for why you should be doing this.

Let’s look at what the yoga challenge for 2 actually is.

Yoga Challenge for 2

Follow along these yoga poses in the order that I’ll be mentioning them. The most important thing you need to keep in mind before beginning is this. Make your practice about communicating and understanding each other.

Of course, this challenge is also about having fun and keeping things light. So focus on what comes up naturally during this practice and be honest with each other about those feelings.

1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

yoga-poses-for-2-min

This is the first beginner pose of the challenge. They’ll be some intermediate and advanced poses too. But it’s best to start off on the right foot. And with the chair pose, you can expect that foot to stay balanced and supported.

The benefits of the chair pose are for your back, thighs, and feet. It improves leg mobility while warming up the glutes. You might feel this in your knees if you haven’t done this pose before.

However, lots of beginner yogis do this pose against a wall. In the yoga challenge for 2 plans, you’ll be doing this against your partner’s back.

Keep your arms by your sides. Press up against each other's backs with your feet hip-width apart. Now, slowly squat down as if you’re sitting on a chair. Make sure your backs are still pressing into each other.

Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep a straight spine and your head forward. If your knees are curving inwards, push them out away from each other. They should be facing in the same direction as your toes.

You can stay in this pose for a few breaths if you like. If that’s easy, you can hold the pose for 30 seconds.

2. Forward Backbend (Paschimottanasana)

2-person-yoga-poses-min

This pose requires a bit of flexibility. Good thing you did the chair pose before this. It’s bound to get you all warmed up and ready to go. A forward backbend is considered a beginner-friendly posture. And it’s good for your hamstrings, lower back, and spine.

A forward bend is a full-body stretch in many ways. If you’re not flexible at all, doing this pose might seem a bit challenging for you. But you can always take things down a notch and start at the most basic level.

The best way to begin is to sit back-to-back on the floor. Extend your legs forward while your partner should bend the knees while keeping the feet flat on the floor. As you bend forward, your partner bends backwards in the same posture.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind. Your partner's back must stay on yours. And as you bend forward, you can have a slight bend in the knees if you’re inflexible. Your partner’s hands can stay at his or her side. While you hold your toes to pull yourself deeper as you bend forward.

Hold the position for 6-10 breaths. Then you can switch positions. If you think you can take this a step forward, try massaging each other’s back. You can apply more pressure in this position to support each other better and stronger.

3. Double Plank Pose (Adho Mukha Dandasana)

double-plank-pose-min

Plank pose is a common yoga and strength pose. It builds core strength and improves flexibility. In the yoga challenge for 2, this can become the pose for building more trust in your partner.

To do this pose, you will need to get into a full plank position. If you’re the stronger of the two, you do under.

Keep your wrists under your shoulders. And your toes in a straight line as your knees and hips. Tighten your core and make sure you do not curve your back for support. That may lead to back pain and cramps.

Allow your partner to climb on top of you and flip the plank position. This means your partner’s feet will come to your shoulders. Your partner should grab your ankles for support. While the feet should rest on top of your shoulders.

Make sure both your arms are straight and stable. Your partner should have a good grip on your ankles and shoulders. Hold this posture for a few breaths and switch the positions if you think it’s comfortable.

4. Boat Pose (Navasana)

2-person-yoga-challenge-min

A boat pose is a deep hip opener. But it also requires core strength and stability. It’s when you balance on your sitting bones with your arms and legs outstretched.

For 2 people, the boat pose looks like a triangle. But only when you do it correctly. It can be quite intense and challenging for beginners. But even if one of you is flexible, you can try to complete this challenge without any troubles.

Start in a seated position. But this time you are facing each other. Extend your legs in front of each other to increase the distance. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor.

Extend one leg at a time while pressing the soles of your feet with your partner’s. You can reach out for each other’s hands for more support. If you can extend one leg without any difficulty, try to extend and straighten the other leg.

Once you achieve the boat pose, hold the pose for a few breaths. Or longer if you think it’s comfortable.

5. Double Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

2-person-yoga-challenge-hard-min

This is a great yoga challenge for 2. A downward-facing dog is a beginner-friendly yoga pose. It’s in most yoga sequences including the essential Surya Namaskar. Doing this with a friend or a partner is not only easy but quite ambitious.

Both of you must start in a table-top position. Make sure you’re in a straight line like a centipede, and at the side of each other. Keep your legs hip-width distance apart and your hands shoulder-width apart.

If you’re behind your partner in a table-top position, get into a beginner downward-dog position. Once you create the “V” shape with your hands and legs. Your partner must follow you into a downward dog.

However, your partner needs to walk back and up your back. Until you make the double down-dog position. This posture is good for the spine. It builds confidence and improves stability no matter the intensity-level.

You can hold this position for a few deep breaths and switch positions.

Benefits of Yoga Challenge for 2

Nothing can help you stay physically and mentally active than yoga.

If you’re doing this with your partner, it can take your relationship to new depths. These poses are challenging for a reason. They help build trust, understanding, and confidence.

They might even put you and your partner in awkward situations. But thanks to the posture you’re aiming for, this soon passes. And at the end of it, you’ve grown together despite the awkwardness.

Yoga also helps you communicate with each other. You can let your partner know when you’re uncomfortable. You can share your methods of improvement while keeping an open mind to your partner’s.

I don’t see why this yoga challenge for 2 doesn’t translate to bigger life choices. Humans fail at expressing their real feelings which soon leads to frustration and disappointment. Yoga can help relax the mind and clear up the confusion.

Trust me on this. You will feel more at ease with the person you do this challenge with. If there is any tension, undeclared feelings. It all comes out in a healthy and positive light with the help of this yoga challenge for 2.

For the sake of staying indoors, you can still continue to create new memories together. Lots of couples are staying fit and calm in this pandemic together. Doing this yoga challenge for 2 can make things fun and sweaty, at the same time!

Final Thoughts

You can do many seated or standing couple yoga poses. The secret to getting these poses done successfully is communication and understanding. How do you want to proceed with each other? What makes you uncomfortable?

These 5 incredible couples yoga poses will get you in the right spot. They’re beginner-friendly. Although you can also try their variations if you’re very tight. In fact, if you do these poses regularly, you will eventually make way to more advanced poses.

Breathwork and time are integral as well. Make sure you do the correct posture and feel the stretch in your muscles. If any part of your body is paining or cramping, stop immediately. Take a few deep breaths and if you’re ready, get back to it again.

SEE MORE: