Foot Yoga: Poses to Strengthen Your Feet and Ankles
Living with foot pain can make living an active lifestyle quite a challenge. Yoga has long been a highly beneficial method of rehabilitating injuries, tight muscles and a plethora of other conditions. If you have discomfort, inflammation or misalignment in the feet or ankles, check out these ‘foot yoga’ ideas to help your feet feel and work better. As with any new exercise regimen, be sure to start slowly and work your way up to the pose pictured. It’s okay to use a chair for balance while you are getting the hang of it!
For this pose, concentrate on keeping your weight evenly distributed on all four corners of the standing foot. This reinforces the calf and shin muscles that stabilize the foot and also stretches the plantar fascia muscle that runs along the underside of the foot. You will feel the middle of the foot pulling up as you stand in this balancing pose, creating a more toned arch.
How to do it: Stand on your right foot with your leg straight. Place the sole or your left foot on your ankle, calf or inside of the right thigh, depending on your comfort level. Avoid placing the foot on the right knee. Left toes should point down and the knee should come out to the side. Raise your arms up overhead and place the hands together. Hold this pose for 3-5 deep breaths. Repeat on the left side.
Warrior I Pose
Warrior I is an empowering and powerful pose that also has great benefits for the feet. This pose enhances essential muscles that raise the arch of the foot, while also elongating muscles that when tight, can flatten the arch.
How to do it: Stand with your left foot about 3-4 feet in front of the right foot, toes facing forward. Line up the heel of the front foot with the arch of the back foot, turning the right foot out to about 30-40 degrees. Begin to slowly bend the left knee until it comes to line up directly over the ankle. Keep hips square towards the front and press into the back foot while holding the bend in the left leg. Inhale the arms overhead, palms facing each other. Hold the pose for a few breaths, and repeat on the other side.
This pose is best avoided if you have any knee problems, but otherwise is a great stretch for the feet and ankles. There are a couple of variations of this pose you can do to stretch different parts of the foot; for example, you can add a rolled towel under the ankles to add support if the stretch feels too intense, or you can tuck the toes and sit back on the heels for a deep arch stretch.
How to do it: Kneel with the tops of the feet on the floor and slowly sit back onto the heels. Keep the knees close together but not touching. You can also spread the feet apart a little further than hip width for an additional stretch. Take some deep breaths before slowly coming out of the pose.
With these simple but effective poses, you can create better tone and function of the feet and ankle muscles. If you have any pain during these poses, stop immediately and contact one of our specialists, as there may be a more serious underlying issue. To request an appointment at Triad Foot Center, click here or contact one of our three office locations conveniently located in the Piedmont Triad.