Title:
Exercise Cushion And Uses Thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Exercise cushion and uses thereof are disclosed. In an exemplary embodiment, an exemplary exercise cushion may include a filler material that is both flexible and resilient. An outer covering is provided over the filler material. An indentation is formed in a front portion of the filler material such that the overall shape of the exercise cushion maintains a substantially kidney-bean shape from a top or bottom view. A substantially level top surface and a substantially level bottom surface cooperate together with a floor surface the exercise cushion is placed on to enable a practitioner to sit comfortably in an upright position. The exercise cushion may also be used as a meditation cushion.



Inventors:
Desimone Lavigne, Maria (Avon, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/741767
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
04/29/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Trenner Law Firm, LLC (14143 Denver West Pkwy, Ste 100-94, Golden, CO, 80401, US)
Claims:
1. An exercise cushion, comprising; a filler material that is both flexible and resilient; an outer covering provided over the filler material; an indentation formed in a front portion of the filler material such that the overall shape of the exercise cushion maintains a substantially kidney-bean shape from a top or bottom view; and a substantially level top surface and a substantially level bottom surface cooperating together with a floor surface the exercise cushion is placed on to enable a practitioner to sit comfortably in an upright position.

2. The exercise cushion of claim 1 further comprising an inner covering providing between the filler material and the outer covering.

3. The exercise cushion of claim 1 wherein the filler material is layered foam.

4. The exercise cushion of claim 1 wherein the shape enables comfortable positioning of the practitioner's legs when the practitioner's hips are in a compact position.

5. The exercise cushion of claim 1 wherein the shape enables a head of the practitioner's femur bone to rest comfortably in the practitioner's hip joint, while the practitioner's thighs rest comfortably towards the floor surface the exercise cushion is positioned on.

6. The exercise cushion of claim 1 configurable for a wide variety of body sizes, types, and shapes.

7. The exercise cushion of claim 1 configurable for different groups and profiles of practitioners.

8. A light-weight and portable meditation cushion, comprising: a foam filler material, the foam filler having an indentation formed in a front side portion such that the overall shape of the exercise cushion, appears substantially kidney-bean shape from a top or bottom view; an outer covering provided over the foam filler material; an inner covering provided between the foam filler material and the outer covering; and a substantially level top surface and a substantially level bottom surface cooperating together with a floor surface the exercise cushion is placed on to enable a practitioner to sit comfortably in an upright position.

9. The cushion of claim 8 wherein the foam filler material comprises a plurality of layers.

10. The cushion of claim 9 wherein at least one of the plurality of layers of the foam filler material are removable to adjust a height for different practitioners.

11. The cushion of claim 9 wherein at least one of the plurality of layers of the foam filler material is stiffer than at least one other of the plurality of layers.

12. The cushion of claim 9 wherein at least one of the plurality of layers of the foam filler material is softer than at least one other of the plurality of layers.

13. The cushion of claim 8 wherein at least the outer covering is stretchable over the foam filler material so that the outer coveting substantially conforms to the size of the foam filler material.

14. A method comprising: covering a resilient filler material to form a cushion; forming an indentation in a side portion of the cushion to provide a substantially kidney-bean shape when the cushion is viewed from a top or bottom view; and providing a substantially level top surface and a substantially level bottom surface for the cushion.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising selecting a density of the filler material to provide firm support for the practitioner

16. The method of claim 14 further comprising a density of the filler material to prevent the practitioner from falling forward.

17. The method of claim 14 further comprising sizing the cushion large enough to support the practitioner's sit bones.

18. The method of claim 14 further comprising sizing the cushion large enough to support an upper head of the practitioner's femur bones.

19. The method of claim 14 further comprising sizing the cushion large enough to support at least a portion of the practitioner's behind.

20. The method of claim 14 further comprising sizing the cushion for easy storage and transport.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This application claims priority to co-owned U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/747,720 for “Exercise Cushion” of Maria DeSimone Lavigne, filed May 19, 2006, hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as though fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND

Pillows are commercially available for use in yoga, meditation, and other exercises. These pillows are typically soft and therefore do not provide much support to the practitioner (or user). In addition, these pillows may be configured such that the practitioner's heel can not move in close to the pelvic floor, forcing the legs to be wider apart when the practitioner is in a position known as the “lotus” position. This inability to assume the desired posture can add additional strain to a practitioner who has tight hip flexors.

Other pillows tend to extend so far out that the practitioner's thigh is pushed forward, making it difficult for the practitioner to scoop his or her tailbone down and inward to extend his or her spine upward. Other pillows may also be configured with a built-in forward lean, which, tends to close off the groin area and forces the hips forward causing back and shoulder pain. This posture makes sitting long-term on these pillows uncomfortable.

Still other pillows are often too large and/or bulky (and can also be relatively heavy), making these pillows difficult to store and transport.

SUMMARY

Exemplary embodiments of an exercise cushion are disclosed. An indentation may be formed in a front portion of the exercise cushion, giving the exercise cushion a substantially “kidney-bean” shape when viewed from the top (or bottom). The indentation enables comfortable positioning of a practitioner's legs when the practitioner's hips are in a compact position (e.g., when the knees are kept closer together). The kidney-bean shape also enables the head of the practitioner's femur bone to rest comfortably in the hip joint, while allowing the thighs to rest comfortably towards the floor. The density of the exercise cushion may be selected such that it provides firm support for the practitioner, and helps prevent the practitioner from falling forward.

Exemplary embodiments of the exercise cushion may also have substantially level top and bottom portions that enable the practitioner to sit comfortably in an upright position. The exercise cushion may also be sized such that it is large enough to support the practitioner's sit bones and the upper head of the practitioner's femur bones, as well as a portion of the practitioner's behind. The exercise cushion may also be light-weight and sized such that it is portable, enabling the practitioner to easily store and transport the exercise cushion to any of a variety of different venues.

In addition to the exemplary embodiments described above, still other embodiments will also be readily apparent to those having skill in the art based on an understanding of the description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a-c are views of an exemplary exercise cushion, wherein (a) is a top perspective view, (b) is a side perspective view, and (c) is a rear perspective view.

FIGS. 2a-e are views of the exemplary exercise cushion shown in FIG. 1 with an outer covering removed to show an inner covering, wherein (a) is a top perspective view, (b) is a front perspective view, (c) is a side perspective view, (d) is another front perspective view, and (e) is a top plan view.

FIGS. 3a-e are views of the exemplary exercise cushion with the outer covering shown in FIG. 1 removed and the inner covering shown in FIG. 2 removed to show a filler material, wherein (a) is a top perspective view illustrating a layered configuration, (b) is a back perspective view, (c) is a top plan view, (d) is a side perspective view, and (e) is a back perspective view showing a layer of the filler material removed.

FIGS. 4a-h are views of the exemplary exercise cushion shown in FIG. 1 illustrating exemplary use by a practitioner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to several embodiments that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The same reference numerals are used in the drawings and the description to refer to the same or substantially the same parts or operations. The drawings are in simplified form and not to precise scale. For purposes of convenience and clarity only, directional terms, such as top, bottom, left, right, up, down, over, above, below, beneath, rear, and front may be used with respect to the accompanying drawings. These and similar directional terms, should not be construed to limit the scope of the invention.

FIGS. 1a-c are views of an exemplary exercise cushion 10, wherein (a) is a top perspective view showing top surface, (b) is a side perspective view, and (c) is a rear perspective view. An exemplary cushion 10 may include a top surface 11, a bottom surface 12, a front side 13, right and left sides 14 and 15, respectively, and a back side 16. In an exemplary embodiment, the cushion 10 may have an indentation 18 formed, in the front side 13. Accordingly, the cushion appears to have a substantially “kidney-bean” shape when viewed from the top surface 11 (or bottom surface 12).

Also in an exemplary embodiment, the cushion 10 may also have a substantially flat or level top surface 11 and bottom surface 12 relative to a floor the cushion 10 is placed on. These substantially flat surfaces 11 and 12 enable a practitioner to sit upright comfortably without forcing the practitioner's sacrum forward (unless the practitioner so desires to move into such a position).

The cushion 10 may be sized sufficiently large to support the practitioner's sit bones and upper head of the practitioner's femur bones, as well as a portion of the practitioner's behind. Accordingly, the weight of the practitioner is evenly distributed and remains stable during use. However, the cushion 10 should not be over-sized. Over-sizing the cushion 10 may result in instability and adversely affect its function. For example, a cushion which is too tall or too soft may cause the practitioner to lean or fall forward.

Different color/pattern/style outer coverings 20 may be provided so that the practitioner can tailor the cushion 10 his or her personal taste. In addition to making the cushion 10 aesthetically pleasing to the practitioner, outer covering 20 may also be provided to protect the cushion 10 against wear. For example, outer covering 20 may be a tear-resistant dirt-resistant and/or puncture-resistant material to help make the cushion 10 durable. Outer covering 20 may also include a non-skid material (e.g., at least on the bottom surface) to reduce slipping of the cushion 10 during use on the floor, or even between the user and the top surface 11 of the cushion 10.

Optionally, the outer covering 20 may be provided with a zipper (or Velcro or other closure means) around at least a portion of the cushion 10 so that the outer covering 20 can be removed. For example, the practitioner may want to remove the outer covering 20 for washing it switching to a different color/pattern/style outer covering 20, or replacing a worn outer covering 20 with a new outer covering. The zipper may be provided around about 85% of the cushion 10 from the front side to the back side with boxing in the back. Alternatively, the boxing may be in the front and the zipper in the back. Other configurations are also contemplated even though not specified herein, and may be implemented based on design and/or cost considerations.

FIGS. 2a-e are views of the exemplary exercise cushion 10 shown in FIG. 1 with an outer covering 20 removed to show an inner covering 30, wherein (a) is a top perspective view, (b) is a front perspective view, (c) is a side perspective view, (d) is another front perspective view, and (e) is a top plan view. Inner covering 30 may be provided to help form the body of the cushion, in addition, inner covering 30 may help soften the cushion 10 for the practitioner.

In an exemplary embodiment, the inner covering 30 fits snuggly over the filler material 40 (see FIG. 3). For example, the inner covering 30 may be somewhat elastic so that it can be stretched over larger filler material 40, and automatically shrink and conform to smaller filler material 40.

In an exemplary embodiment, inner covering 30 is a “fluffly” cloth-like material which aids in maintaining the position of the outer covering 20 during use. That is, the inner covering 30 provides a frictional surface between the filler material 40 and the outer covering 30 so that the outer cover 30 does not slide around relative to the filler material. However, other materials may also be used for this or other purposes.

FIGS. 3a-e are views of the exemplary exercise cushion 10 with the outer covering 20 shown in FIG. 1 removed and the inner covering 30 shown in FIG. 2 removed to show a filler material 40, wherein (a) is a top perspective view illustrating a layered configuration, (b) is a back perspective view, (c) is a top plan view, (d) is a side perspective view, and (e) is a back perspective view showing a layer of the filler material 40 removed. The filler material 40 may be selected such that its density is substantially firmer than other commercially available cushions. This firmer density also helps support the practitioner and keep him or her from leaning or falling forward.

In an exemplary embodiment, the cushion 10 may be manufactured with filler material 40 having multiple layers (e.g., layers 41, 42, and 43 shown in FIG. 3). Optionally, each layer may have a different density. For example, bottom layer 43 may be the firmest, while middle layer 42 may be firm, but somewhat softer than the bottom layer 43. The lower firm layers 42 and 43 help provide a stable seat for the practitioner during use. The top layer 41 may be sufficiently soft for the practitioner's comfort, but still dense enough to help provide a stable seat. For purposes of illustration, the top layer 41 may be made of a #2.8 density 64 ILD foam, and the bottom layer 43 may be made of a #9 density 140-170 ILD foam. The middle foam layer may have a density somewhere between these two layers.

It is noted that the cushion 10 is not limited to any particular type or density of filler material 40. Other materials may include but are not limited to gels. Nor is the cushion 10 limited to discrete layers. For example a single filler material 40 may be used having stratified properties. Or a substantially uniform filler material 40 may be used. Where multiple layers of filler material 40 are used, any number of layers may be used and the cushion 10 is not limited to any particular number of layers.

Optionally, one or more layers of foam 41-43 may be removed from the cushion 10 (e.g., layer 41 is shown removed in FIG. 3e), or added to the cushion 10. This enables the cushion 10 to be adjusted to different heights. For example, the bottom layer of foam may be removed from the exercise cushion so that it may be used for yoga. The bottom layer of foam may be re-inserted so that the exercise cushion may be used for meditation.

It is noted that the cushion 10 may also be configured for any of a wide variety of body sizes, types, and/or shapes. For example, the cushion 10 may be customized for a particular practitioner. Alternatively, the exercise cushion may be configured for different groups or profiles of practitioners (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced). By way of example, the exercise cushion may be configured with a lower seat height for practitioners who have open hips, hamstrings and back, whereas the exercise cushion may be configured with a higher seat height for practitioners who have tight hamstrings, hips, and/or back.

FIGS. 4a-h are views of the exemplary exercise cushion 10 shown in FIG. 1 illustrating exemplary use by a practitioner 50. As discussed above, the indentation 18 formed in the front side 13 of the cushion 10 (which gives the cushion 10 a substantially “kidney-bean” shape) enables the practitioner 40 to readily position his or her legs for the exercise (and for comfort during the exercise). By bringing the heel of the foot right up close to the pelvic floor (as best seen FIGS. 4c and 4d), the practitioner's hips are more compact (i.e., the knees are closer together as best seen in FIG. 4b). Without the indentation 18, the practitioner's heel would be unable to move in close enough to the pelvic floor (e.g., when the practitioner 40 is in a “lotus position” for yoga), therefore forcing the practitioner's legs to be wider apart. This can add additional strain to the practitioner 40, especially a practitioner with tight hip flexors.

When executing many exercises, particularly in yoga, it is often necessary to allow the practitioner's thighs to move to the back plane of the body (as best seen in FIGS. 4e and 4f), so that the practitioner's tail bone can readily move down and in, allowing the practitioner's spine to move upward. For example, in Anusara yoga, it is important that each part of the practitioner's body move to an optimal and stable position to create a strong integrated mind and body sensation. The indentation 18 also enables a head of the practitioner's femur bone to rest comfortably in the practitioner's hip joint, while allowing the practitioner's thighs to rest comfortably towards the floor. As the practitioner's thighs move back and widen, and the practitioner's tail bone moves down and in, the two actions create a strong core from which the practitioner 50 extends his or her spine upwards.

Although cushion 10 has been described herein with reference to FIG. 4 as it may be used for yoga and meditation, it is noted that the cushion 10 is not limited to any particular type of use. The cushion 10 may also have application for other exercises, and indeed, other uses such as physical therapy, as will be readily apparent to those having skill in the art after becoming familiar with the teachings herein.

In addition to the specific embodiments explicitly set forth herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and illustrated embodiments be considered as examples only.