Most people experience knee pain in some capacity during their lifetime and we tend to be on our knees at some point during our yoga practice. Students often ask for options or alternatives to being on their knees during a yoga class. Here are a few helpful options and alternatives that I provide them with:
1) Double Up. Use two mats instead of one or simply fold yours in half for extra support/cushioning when we are on our knees. You may also want to consider purchasing a mat that’s thicker to provide more cushioning.
2) Focus your attention. By focusing our attention and awareness and pressing down through our shins and tops of our feet, we are able to take some of the pressure off the knees and distribute our weight more evenly.
3) Use your hands. Also remember, if we are on our hands and knees, spread your fingers like a starfish and press down through your entire hand as we are using them for part of our foundation/base as well.
4) Use a blanket. A blanket or a jacket/shirt is another great option to fold and slide under your knees.
5) Get off your knees! Some people may experience a great deal of pain on their knees and to you, I say “get off your knees.” There is no medal for suffering through the pain. I too have had to learn this the hard way on more than a few poses.
There are some poses we may not be able to do for any number of reasons and it’s perfectly okay. You will be able to rock plenty of other poses, I promise! So if you find yourself grimacing through a pose on your knees, or any pose for that matter, stop and ask the teacher for an alternate pose or simply take it to a seated comfortable position and wait for the next pose. Yoga is all about listening to our body and doing what works for us today. Acceptance, gratitude and compassion for our bodies will take us a lot further in our yoga poses and in life.
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