Yoga for Feet

Yoga for Feet

Two of the most abused parts of the human body are the feet! The average person takes four to six thousand steps a day, and we don’t always choose the correct footwear. Stylish high heels or ill-fitting sports shoes can really take their toll.
Along with 26 bones in each foot, there’s an intricate network of ligaments, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. It’s no wonder that a hard day can leave our feet swollen, tender, and in need of some loving care.
The pose virasana, or hero pose, works to strengthen and release the ankles and feet. It stretches the top of the foot and strengthens the arches of the feet, improving sensitivity, and circulation of blood and fluids.
Do virasana (with buttocks on a folded blanket or a block, if necessary) for 10 minutes each day before bedtime. In fact, do virasana whenever possible.
Begin in upward kneeling position. If the knees or quadriceps are very tight, use a folded blanket or block under the sit bones to elevate the pelvis and reduce pressure on the knees. Sit either with the sit bones on the prop, or with the sit bones resting on the heels.
A more advanced version, for those people with healthy knee joints, is to slowly lower the pelvis and sit bones in between the ankles and feet, toes pointing away from the knees.
During the practice of this wonderful pose, massage the arches of your feet, pressing on the arches as if cultivating them with your thumbs. Also, spread your toes as far apart as possible to avoid foot cramps during virasana. Build an overall sense of sensitivity and awareness of the ankles and feet.
Another option is to work in standing balancing postures, such as vrksasana (tree pose) or any pose where you are standing on one leg/foot. These postures help to build strength and awareness of the ankles and feet.
Whilst working in tree pose, cultivate a sense of elevating the arches of the supporting foot to build strength. Repeat twice on each side, holding the pose for as long as possible. The aim is to build endurance and strength.
After your chosen balancing pose, stand with the feet hip-width apart and slowly rise up onto the balls of the feet. Balance here for 5 to 10 breaths and then slowly release the heels back onto the floor. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
To massage and release the feet after the above postures, try sitting on a chair and rolling the soles of the feet over a tennis ball or squash ball. This will serve to stimulate reflexology points in the feet and massage the network of tiny muscles, improving circulation and releasing tension.
Socrates said, “When our feet hurt, we hurt all over”. So then, the opposite must also be true. When our feet feel good, we’ll feel good all over! Be good to your feet and they’ll be good to you.

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Dominique Salerno is an inspired, passionate and enthusiastic yogi, teacher and healer.
In 2000 she began teaching yoga full time and founded the Australian Yoga Academy. Since this time Dominique has dedicated her life to yoga and teaches yoga and universal laws relating to mind, body and spirit for in excess of 1000 hours per year.