Whether it’s a night on the town in high heels, a trail run in new running shoes or an afternoon walking the flea market in flip-flops, our feet take quite the pounding every day.
Fact is, our feet carry more weight than we realize. Not only do they bear the force of up to seven times our body weight depending on the activity, but they can also signal that something’s wrong with the body. Here’s a list of six yoga poses that will not only help keep the aches away but will also help you observe your feet more often for any signs of illness.
Common Foot Pains And How Yoga Can Help
Heel pain and plantar fasciitis are the two most common types of foot pain that lead people to see a podiatrist.
The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the largest amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone and causes extreme pain in the rear of the foot. The pain is usually worse while standing or walking.
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation and tearing of the fascia, a ligament on the bottom of the foot. It is the most common cause of heel pain and is often the result of abnormal foot mechanics, low quality shoes and overuse.
Standing poses of yoga can help build a solid and stable foundation in the feet, while the yoga stretches can relieve tightened muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Yoga Poses That Help Your Feet
Try this yoga series to take a little extra care of your tired feet.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-Facing Dog is the ultimate back of the body stretch. This includes the hamstrings, gastrocnemius (calf muscle) and Achilles tendon in the legs. To make Downward-Facing Dog even sweeter for the feet, add in alternating gentle heal raises by bending one knee as you push the opposite heel to the ground. If your heels don’t touch the ground, place a rolled up blanket or yoga mat under the heels for support.2,Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee Forward Bend – Stretch out your left leg all the way from the hip joint. Bend your right knee, placing the bottom of the right foot against the inner part of your left thigh. Your right leg and knee should be comfortably pressed on the floor. Your chest and navel should line up with your left leg. This will set your torso in the right position. Let your hands provide support as they rest beside the hips. Inhale. Extend your belly and torso right up to the top of your head.3,Virasana – Hero’s Pose – From a kneeling position, press the tops of your feet into the mat as you bring yourself down between your legs. Knees should be pointing forward for proper alignment. If your hips can’t comfortably reach the floor without straining the knees, place a bolster or blanket between your legs to raise the height of your seat. If this stretch is too intense for the feet, a rolled blanket under the ankles can provide some relief.4,Vrksasana – Tree Pose – Shift your weight slightly onto the left foot, and bend your right knee. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle. Draw your right foot up and place the sole against the inner left thigh, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor. The center of your pelvis should be directly over the left foot. Rest your hands on the top rim of your pelvis. Firmly press the right foot sole against the inner thigh and resist with the outer left leg. Press your hands together.5,Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose –With your feet placed together, you’ll really be able to see if you have flat feet or high arches. Try placing a tennis ball between your feet to gently roll back and forth will help stretch the fascia.6,Viparita Karani – Legs Up the Wall with a V stretch. Taking the legs wide into a V shape provides a gentle stretch for the abductor muscles. Tight inner thigh muscles can overload the foot arch causing pain or an imbalance in the feet during walking. Legs Up the Wall also relieves edema of the lower extremities as well as providing for the force placed upon the feet during the day. Use a block to support your lower back if possible.