I’ve extremely sensitive knees since young. I couldn’t kneel without them hurting, and female push-ups were horrible memories due to this. In addition, I bruise really easily, especially on the knees.
Looking around at every yogi kneeling into different poses comfortably, while there I was, struggling to even display a neutral face when I put any pressure on my knees. That was me when I started.
This was one of the biggest reasons why I disliked yoga back then. In the Bikram series, my knees screamed in pain for 4 of 26 poses – fixed firm pose, half tortoise pose, camel pose, and rabbit pose. If you’re familiar with the series, these are four back-to-back poses.
The torture was real.
Upon seeing the look of despair on my face, some teachers asked me to rest while others complete their poses. I didn’t like that. Why didn’t they try to propose solutions for the problem I’m facing instead of just asking me to give up? This was one of the reasons why I’m glad I found HOM.
I remembered asking Johannas from HOM after a hot flow class. She gave me a few options, and I’ve listed down together with a few that I’ve collated over the months.
Scrunch up a towel
Putting a folded towel wasn’t good enough for me. The towel was still too hard for my knees. Scrunching up the towel provides more support and eased my kneecaps.
Use a thick mat
Thickness isn’t necessarily enough when it comes to supporting sensitive knees. I tried the 6mm mats from Manduka, I kneeled in the store to try it out but my knees didn’t agree cause it was thick but hard. I ended up getting the Lululemon 5mm mat as it was softer but didn’t cause any sinking.
Put more weight on the feet
When doing poses like half split, the weight can be distributed to the feet as well by either flexing the toes instead of leaving it flat on the floor. I feel this is pretty effective in reducing the burden on my knees.
Fold your mat
Copper recommended folding the mat for double layer support during one of his Hot Hatha classes. The OCD in me doesn’t agree though.
As time goes by, my knee condition improved. I can do some decent cat and cow, and even half split without my scrunched up towel from time to time. But of course, life isn’t a bed of roses and you can still see me in the photo doing a camel pose with scrunched up towel.
Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength, you start to believe in your own potential. – Tiffany Cruikshank