The feet tend to take a lot of abuse and they almost never get a day off as most people are always on their feet whether they are working or playing. While keeping active is always a good thing, it can leave you with achy and sore feet. But, if you are a fan of yoga, you should know that there are some poses that can be very useful in keeping your feet healthy so that they can withstand the almost constant abuse.
Some of the best yoga poses for better foot health include the following five.
#1 Mountain Pose-Tadasana
If you are going to do any standing yoga pose, mountain pose is always going to be your foundation. However, it is also a helpful pose for your feet as it helps improve balance, focus and your general posture. Healthy posture is vital for foot health as it reduces irritation and inflammation of the foot muscles and joints. Mountain pose helps you focus on your posture and stance which in turn ensures you are more aware of your standing habits to minimize the pressure on certain parts of the foot which tend to be the most problematic such as the heels.
How to do it:
* Start by standing with your feet parallel and about hip-width apart.
* Spread your toes apart and then distribute your weight evenly across both feet.
* Make sure that you do not lean forward or backward as you apply even pressure on all four corners of each foot.
* Keep your legs straight but not locked and make sure that your hips are aligned with the ankles.
* Breathe in deeply and then stretch the spine towards the ceiling with the arms at your side.
* Hold the pose for about 3 minutes and try to focus on both maintaining the correct position and your steady breath.
#2 Tree Pose-Vrksasana
Tree pose is a classic yoga pose that will help to improve your balance and the distribution of weight across your feet. This pose will entail transferring weight from one foot to the other which in the long run will improve your balance. Also, the weight transfer will help to stretch the micro muscles around the shin and foot.
How to do it:
* Start by coming into mountain pose.
* Slowly shift your body weight to the left foot, bend your right knee and then use your right hand to bring the sole of your right foot to your inner thigh, calf, or ankle.
* While in tree pose, keep your pelvis centered and parallel to the floor and your back straight.
* Bring both your hands in front and together to form anjali mudra (prayer hands). Lift your hands above your head to come into the full expression of the pose.
* Hold the position for at least 10 seconds and then release before repeating for the other foot.
#3 Warrior 1 Pose-Virabhadrasana 1
Warrior 1 or Virabhadrasana 1 in Sanskrit is also a classic yoga pose that can come with numerous health benefits for the feet. This pose is all about stretching your feet and strengthening the foot muscles but it can also help to reduce heel pain. And it can also help lift flat arches as it targets specific arch muscles to help lift the feet.
How to do it:
* Start in mountain pose.
* Take a long step forward so that your feet are 3-4 feet apart and hips width distance.
* Make sure your body and front foot face forward and turn the back foot 45 degrees to provide some balance.
* Bend your front leg until the front knee is directly above the ankle to form a 90-degree angle.
* Press your back heel and pinky toe edge of your foot into the ground
* Lift your arms straight up. Hold this pose for 30 seconds before switching to the other foot.
#4 Thunderbolt Pose- Vajrasana
When you want to release tension on your feet Thunderbolt Pose is a great option. And this is because it entails sitting on your heels which helps to press into a natural pressure point in the arch.
How to do it:
* Start by kneeling on the floor.
* Bring your knees to touch and press the tops of your feet flat against the floor. Your heels should be as close to one another as possible.
* Now lower the weight of your body onto your heels and then sit with a straight posture and your hands resting on your thighs.
* Hold this posture for about one minute before releasing.
* Finish by stretching your legs out in front of you. Give your legs a little shake or find movement before repeating the routine again.
#5 Toes Pose
Toes Pose is a popular Yin Yoga pose that targets the plantar fascia ligament, one of the most problematic ligaments in the foot as it is where the pain that comes from plantar fasciitis originates. This pose aims to stretch, strengthen and elongate the fascia, and in doing all this it helps to keep the soles of the feet in great shape.
How to do it:
* Start by sitting in a kneeling position.
* Next, lift up on the toes (your toes are curled under) with the knees still anchored in front of you and still on the ground.
* Gently let your weight settle back onto your heels and hold this pose for a minute or two.
* Make sure that you breathe calmly and deeply through this pose, and also try to imagine the fascia becoming more flexible and elongated.
Your feet have to carry a lot of weight every day and so keeping them in good shape is vital not only for their health but also for your overall well-being. And while there are many ways of doing this, yoga poses like the five above are a great starting point.
By Patrick Greer
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