Are your knees feeling sensitive during Tabletop? Chances are, you need the right gear to support your knees in your yoga practice. This time is when you need knee padding.
What is a Knee Padding?
A knee padding, knee pad, or kneeling pad, is a protective gear used to give extra cushion and support for the knees in yoga. It’s a smaller but thicker yoga mat that you can use for your knees and other joints.
Should You Use Knee Pads for Yoga?
Of course, you can! Your yoga asana practice should be shtira and sukha, which means comfortable and stable. If you have knee pain in poses where they are the foundation, such as Cat-Cow or Extended Puppy Pose, you need to find a way to make the pose comfortable. Using a yoga knee pad will be helpful for your sensitive knees.
How to Do Yoga When You Have Bad Knees
Yoga is generally a low-impact exercise. It only puts minimal stress on the joints, including your knees. If you have knee injury or pain, practicing yoga is an excellent way to strengthen the muscles around the knees and increase your functional mobility and flexibility.
But of course, when you have knee pain, you need to be careful when practicing yoga. Here are some tips on how to do yoga when you have bad knees:
Don’t Lock Out Your Knees
Avoid locking out or hyperextending your knees. Doing this puts all the pressure on your knees instead of using your muscles to hold you up. Instead, allow your knees to bend a little, so you contract your quads, even in poses such as Trikonasana (Triangle) and Warrior 1.
Don’t Let the Knees Go Over
Alignment is essential when it comes to physical exercise such as yoga asanas. Keep your knees from going over your ankles. Always stack them on top of each other.
If you have more range of motion in the ankles, your knees go over the ankles. But if you feel pain or discomfort, always err on the side of caution. Keep the knees on top of the ankle.
Don’t Cave In
Don’t let the knees cave in when doing poses that require the hips to be neutral or in external rotation. Instead, the knees should be pointing where the toes are pointing. By doing this, you will be using the muscles, particularly your quads and your glutes, instead of your knees.
Listen to Your Body
Always listen to your body. Mindfulness is practiced when you’re meditating and when you’re moving from one yoga pose to another. For example, modify that pose if you feel too much pressure on your knees in a particular posture. Use a knee pad under the knees or come out of the pose.
Why Do Knees Hurt in Yoga?
The knee joint is prone to injury. While its primary movement is to only bend and fold (flexion and extension), it can rotate internally by 10 degrees in flexion and externally by 35 degrees in extension. The knee joint is also in the middle of the kinematic chain of joints, which are the hip joints on top and ankle joints at the bottom.
Therefore, when you have a limited range of motion in your hips and ankles and/or limited strength in the muscles surrounding these joints, the pressure can go to the knee joint.
Forward Fold and Chair Pose require hinging from the hips. If your hips are not flexible enough to hinge in these poses, your knees will cave in or go over your toes. When this happens regularly, you can strain your knees.
The Best Knee Padding for Yoga
There are so many knee pads for yoga in the market now that you will have a paradox of choice. But don’t fuss. I found out the best knee padding for different purposes.
Best Overall Knee Padding
ProsourceFit Exercise Balance Pad
I choose this one as the best knee pad for yoga because it’s got everything I’m looking for in a knee pad.
- The thickness (two inches) is enough to give your knees, forearms, tailbone, and elbows cushion. At the same time, it is firm enough to provide you with balance for stability exercises.
- It comes in two sizes to choose from.
- Multi-purpose. You can use it for your knees in kneeling yoga poses. You can also sit on it in meditation to bring the hips higher than the knees. You can even use it as a block to give you extra height in Forward Fold.
Best for Coordination Exercises
Sunflower Home Yoga Knee Pad
This kneepad is excellent for coordination exercises where you are balancing on the opposite arm and leg.
- The Sunflower home yoga knee pad comes in a set of two instead of one whole cushion sheet. So, if you are in yoga poses that require only one knee down, you can use the other purpose. For example, in Bird Dog, one pad is for your knee, and the other is for your wrist.
- Very thick. It is 15 mm.
- There’s a concave in the center to accommodate your knees, wrists, elbows, or head in headstands.
- Stays in place even on top of the yoga mat.
- No need to roll in because it’s not big enough. You can easily slip it inside your purse.
- Heavy chemical smell.
- It slips when used on a carpet.
Best for When You Need Extra Cushion
Do you need an extra cushion for your knees? If so, this knee padding is the best for you.
Kinesis Yoga Knee Pad Cushion
This knee pad is for you if you have extra sensitive knees because of injury, not just a strain.
- It’s the thickest yoga knee pad you can find in the market. It’s a 25 mm, y’all! That extra 10 mm vs. other knee pads in the market makes a big difference.
- Surprisingly lightweight. Easy to bring around to yoga studios. This knee pad also comes with a bag.
- It stays in place even on a carpeted floor.
Best Knee Pad for Extra Support
Sukhamat Yoga Knee Pad Cushion
Sometimes, your knees need extra support even when you don’t feel any pain or strain. Usually, this happens when your mat is too thin, and you don’t want to buy a new one. In times like this, the best knee pad for you is the Sukhamat yoga knee pad cushion.
- Just enough thickness (15 mm) to give your knees a cushion while still providing stability.
- Great for hot yoga or when it’s too hot and humid, and you are very sweaty. It has ridges that make it non-slip.
- It stays in place even when you move around.
- It has an unpleasant chemical smell.
Best Cheap Yoga Knee Pad
GoYonder Eco Yoga Workout Knee Pad Cushion (Pack of 2)
If you’re looking for cheap knee pads that are also multi-purpose, this one is for you.
- It comes in a set of two round knee pads, which makes it great for when you only need one pad for the knee and one pad for the rest, like in Modified Side Plank or Bird Dog pose.
- It has perfect squishiness, not too firm that it hurts your knees and not too squishy that you don’t get cushion and support.
- Eco-friendly because it is made of 100% TPA foam.
- They are pretty small.
Yoga asanas should be sthira and sukha (comfortable and stable). Therefore, it is best to use knee pads when your knees feel discomfort or pain in kneeling poses.