AshtaLuxe Donates Yoga Mats and Patella Pads to the Prison Yoga Project

We have been sharing our products with a number of yoga practitioners across the U.S. to obtain feedback and real-world testimonials from yogis. One of the people we connected with was Kaysie Markwardt, a volunteer with the Prison Yoga Project in California. Kaysie’s love of yoga began with her first yoga class in 2001 and from there, her experience has grown from a self-sustaining practice to a full-blown dedication to helping others find a deeper sense of mind-body awareness both on and off the mat. We sent Kaysie a number of AshtaLuxe mats and Patella Pads for Wellness Day at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI), a reception center for inmates being transferred to nearby facilities including Folsom Prison.

Here’s what Kaysie had to say about her experience with our AshtaLuxe products:

 “The Wellness Day at DVI was a smashing success. It ran from 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM, and about 140 men participated. They were split up into four groups and they rotated between "stations" which included Buddhist meditation, Self-Care & Reflexology, Health Care (blood pressure, eye chart, etc.), and, of course, Yoga. =) 

The ages ranged from 19-67, and all but three participated in my session. We did Pranayama, Asana, and ended with 13 minutes of Yoga Nidra. Several of the men fell asleep, which is saying ALOT in that environment. I'm currently working with the Community Resource Manager to start a regular program there, so the mats and Patella Pads will be getting some regular use!

Feedback from nearly all of the men was that they felt really stable on the mats. Several noted that they couldn't believe how solid they were in Down Dog. They have been practicing on super cheap mats that are thin and slippery; and they were amazed with the traction. Not every man used the Patella Pads; but those who did say that there was a marked difference in the comfort of their knees in Cat/Cow. All of them used the pad under their heads for Yoga Nidra. =)

Feedback from me is that I think your mat and Patella Pad are fantastic! I've used a Manduka Pro for my personal practice and I take it with me when I go in to teach, and it's heavy. The Ashtaluxe mat is lighter, so I've been using it instead. It's also instantly sticky. That was the very first thing I noticed. You have to scrub the Manduka with salt and rinse it with water to get the slippery coating off, and there was none of that with the Ashtaluxe. I unpacked it, rolled it out, and immediately did a few Sun Salutations on it, and my hands didn't slip or slide once. The Patella Pad is used in my personal practice in a myriad of ways, and has changed my practice...

Under my knees - I have been recommended for partial knee replacement in both knees at 39 due to a genetic degenerative cartilage condition, so practicing anything on my knees really hurts. With the Patella Pad I am able to practice Asanas on my knees with much more comfort. I also have folded it in half to provide twice the support and was able to do a low lunge for the first time in about 18 months! It felt amazing!

  • Under my sitting bones - When I lead Yoga Nidra I sit on my mat. I'm able to fold the Patella Pad in half and use it as a support under my sitting bones. It creates a small anterior tilt in the pelvis and keeps proper alignment in the spine as I lead the practice.
  • Under my sacrum & the sacrum of private clients - In addition to Trauma-Informed Yoga, I also practice and teach Restorative Therapeutic Yoga, which uses LOTS of props. I have an Iyengar chair that I use for supported inversions like Supported Shoulder Stand and Supported Wheel. The chair is metal so it can be hard on the sacrum and it can also be slippery. I've previously used the Maduka travel mat on the seat because it's thin and I can fold it up, but now I use the patella pad! It is the perfect size and it adds additional support and cushion under the sacrum in these inversions.” 

We are so pleased to receive this field-testing feedback from Kaysie’s experience at DVI and from her personal practice and teaching. Our AshtaLuxe™ team had never imagined the variety of uses that a Patella Pad™ could offer for yoga instructors, but Kaysie makes it clear that it’s so much more than just knee support. How have you used your Patella Pad™? We’d love to hear how it’s impacted your life and practice.