Sometimes, pain causes us to forgo workouts, and perhaps rightly so, but should that apply to time spent on the yoga mat? In extreme cases, sure, but sometimes the pain itself can be alleviated by some gentle, stretching Hatha yoga. The only thing you need is a good yoga mat and a clear head to know when enough is enough.
Yoga mats are, for the most part, designed to give your hands and feet some traction, while providing a stable foundation from which to move. Some yoga mats are thicker than others to provide cushioning to the joints, and these are important to consider when you’re in the market for a yoga mat. But when you’re already in pain, a thick yoga mat is a must. Our Manduka line of yoga mats are 5mm and 6mm thick – that’s double the thickness of the standard yoga mats. When your yoga instructor tells you to double-up your yoga mat for extra padding, that’s essentially what you get with a Manduka yoga mat.
Of course, if you’re in a lot of pain, you want to be cautious of how much time you spend on the yoga mat. Over-doing it can cause real damage and a premature end to a yoga practice. But some very gentle stretching on a good, thick yoga mat can sometimes help relieve some of that pain. When an area of the body is injured, the muscles around it will tighten up to protect the area, but that can actually add to the pain you experience. Loosening those muscles can alleviate some of the pain and allow you to feel a little more comfort throughout your day.
Practice on a thick yoga mat is no prescription for pain, by any means; serious pain needs to be addressed by a medical professional. But if you just have some super-tight muscles that cause limitation in your day-to-day functioning, some guided stretches on a supportive yoga mat can counteract that tension and help you learn how to control it. If it’s ok with your medical provider, give yoga a shot for those aches and pains – it’s a smart solution to get you up and running again!