Yoga poses for healthy feet
Yoga teachers often refer to the feet as ‘to the roots’ of the body. That is true ; our feet anchor our ankles, our bones, our knees and all the rest of our body on the ground. The feet carry our weight when we are standing and we use to walk, run and walk our way in life.
But statistics from the American Podiatric Medical Association show that about 72% of Americans suffer from foot problems during their lifetime (eg plantar fascia, misalignment, foot ulcers, sagging of the arch, pinched nerves and pain ) because often we do not treat our feet as the important support they are. We press them into uncomfortable shoes (and high heels), we stand up all day, and then we complain about all the blisters and calluses they endure, but we usually forget to take care of them unless they suffer from a serious problem.
Celebrity Yogi Rodney Yee says performing the following yoga poses is an effective way to ‘revive our feet’ and treat a range of problems (eg hip misalignment and back pain) associated with structural disorders feet…
1. The Mountain
Many yoga sessions start with the Mountain (Tadasana) for a good reason. This anchor position roots us while making us aware of how we stand naturally. Examine signs of wear on your shoes; do your feet tend to rest in pronation (turn inward when in contact with the ground) or in supination (turn to the outside)? The Mountain teaches us to distribute our weight equally on our feet:
Standing, slowly move your weight from front to back, from toes to heel.
Now shift your weight from the inside to the outside of the plant.
Attempt to anchor the whole foot to the ground by connecting all the edges, to distribute your weight ideally.
2. The Tree
The purpose of the tree (or Vrksasana) is to create a stable base while correcting the way our feet come in contact with the ground. Equal stability – through the 4 corners of the feet (inner and outer heel, small toe) – can correct the position of the feet (pronation or supination) and encourage proper ankle alignment, which can reduce your knee problems or back. Tree encourages healthy weight distribution:
In pose of the Mountain, well anchored feet.
Bend over by bending your right knee.
Grab the right ankle with your right hand.
Place the sole of the right foot firmly against the inside of the thigh / left groin.
Straighten through the coccyx – the center of the pelvis should be in the neutral position, directly above the left foot.
Squeeze your hands together in prayer or lift them above the head, arms straight.
Look at a fixed point straight ahead to help balance.
3. The Hero
The Hero (or Virasana) gives the entire foot a wonderful stretch – from the top to the arch – that relaxes and encourages the flexibility of the foot (and ankles, thighs, and knees). If you run like me, or stay up all day, the hero’s pose warms your feet before and after physical activity to avoid the plantar fascia:
Kneel (on a rug or blanket if necessary).
Bring your knees together and the tops of the feet flat on the floor, slightly wider than the width of the hips.
Sit between your feet (use a block if your buttocks are not touching the ground).
Place your hands on your lap.
Concentrate on your breathing while stretching the tailbone and clavicles.
4. The Eagle
The Eagle (or Garurasana) is an ideal pose to stretch and increase the mobility of the feet and toes. In addition to improving balance, it anchors the feet, improves circulation, lymphatic and immune systems, strengthens and stretches the hips and legs, and prevents varicose veins and edema (tissue inflammation):
Tuck the navel towards the column while inhaling and squatting.
While tightening the thighs and keeping the knees together, wrap the right knee above the left knee, and put the right foot on the left calf.
Wrap your arms in the same way, palms together in front of the nose.
Anchor through the heel of the left foot and stretch the plant and toes so that the 4 corners of the foot are in contact with the ground.
5. The Clamp
You might wonder why you have included a sitting position among these foot stretches. But in addition to stretching your hamstrings and your spine, the Clamp (or Paschimottanasana) provides an ideal environment to stretch your feet in a position not supporting weight. And if you are often standing or suffering from onions or deformity of the foot, you will thank me. Use a block and follow the instructions:
Sit, spine straight, legs extended together and toes pointing to the ceiling.
Place a block flat against the soles of your feet and tie your feet to the block with a strap to simulate standing upright.
Inhale and stretch your arms up.
Exhale and bend from the hips, keeping your spine as elongated as possible and reaching the strap at your feet – extend the strap so you can catch it comfortably while stretching your chest to your feet.
Squeeze your toes into the pad and feel your feet and hamstrings stretch.
6. Dog upside down
The Down Head Dog (or AdhoMukhaSvanasana) is a full body stretch that also relieves tension in your feet, especially if you have plantar fascia, flat feet, sciatica, and dorsal arches, shoulders , calves, hamstrings, hands or feet:
In the position of the table (on the hands and knees), bring your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
Hands flat, spread your palms and fingers.
Flip your toes and lift your knees (relaxed, do not close).
Stretch your coccyx, squeeze the buttocks towards the ceiling while
Bringing your thighs to the groin and anchoring your heels to the floor (even if they do not touch it).
Melt your shoulder blades in your back and let your neck and head hang.
7. The Bridge
In addition to stretching the chest, neck, and column, the Bridge (or SetuBandhasana) rejuvenates the legs and feet by stretching the arch of the feet and toes:
Lie flat on the floor (supine) looking at the ceiling.
Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor at the width of the hips with the heels positioned as close to the glutes as possible.
Keep your thighs and feet parallel, exhale and squeeze your feet to lift the coccyx.
Relax your glutes, focus on pushing upwards through the inside of your feet and stretch your arms.
Join hands under the pelvis and roll on the top of your shoulders.