By Faye Martins
Do you get any requests for asanas or Yogic techniques to heal the feet? Most of our students ask us about techniques for reducing stress, back pain, and body weight. As essential as our feet are to Yoga, we give them little thought. Maybe we would treat them differently if we realized how great an impact they have on the rest of our body and the clues they hold to its general condition.
The foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and a myriad of blood vessels and nerves that extend to the spine and organs. To the trained eye, early signs of diabetes and other health issues can be found through careful examination of the feet.
On the other hand, neglecting and abusing the feet can lead to problems in other areas of the body. When our feet hurt, we compensate by changing our gait, increasing our chances of falling. Reduced activity caused by discomfort contributes to sedentary life styles and weight gain, and overuse and strain cause inflammatory conditions like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis, making exercise difficult and painful. On a systemic level, poor circulation complicates existing illnesses and creates new ones.
In Yoga, we rely on our feet for grounding and maintaining proper alignment, but we also use them to move and propel our bodies. For the feet to work properly, weight must be distributed evenly throughout the entire body. Yogic exercise elongates the spine, tones and stretches the muscles, and increases flexibility. Just as parts of the body have special jobs but work together, so do the poses in Yoga.
15 Yoga Poses for Healthy Feet and Ankles
1. Ankle Circles
2. Cobbler Pose
3. Child’s Pose
4. Chair Pose
5. Reclining Big Toe Pose
6. Camel Pose
7. Hero Pose
8. Thunderbolt Pose
9. Garland Pose
10. Downward-Facing-Dog Pose
11. Legs Up the Wall Pose
12. Extended Triangle Pose
13. Mountain Pose
14. Tree Pose
15. Reclining Big Toe Pose
Other techniques that flex the toes and exercise the soles include picking up marbles with the toes, squeezing the fingers between the toes to spread them apart, and rolling tennis balls beneath the arches to eliminate tension and knots in the muscles.
Yoga not only increases awareness of anatomical issues, but it also prevents problems that result from misalignment of the shoulders, legs, back, and neck. With care, most foot problems can be prevented. Yoga is the perfect exercise for the job.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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