The focus of many of our previous blog posts has been about proper foot posture, gait, and keeping the feet and ankles healthy and strong. Today, we bring those topics of foot health together by discussing the benefits of Yoga, which can help stretch, strengthen, correct posture, and increase balance in your feet and ankles.
For those of you who have not practiced Yoga before, your first time will immediately bring awareness to the tendencies and behaviors of your feet. For example, the first time you are in Tadasana (or Mountain Pose), you may notice that you tend to lean to one side or put your weight in the heels of your feet. The aim in this pose is to have your feet bear the weight of your body equally and feel rooted into the ground. Learning to spread your toes, lift the big toe, or all toes but the big toe will give you insight to the strength, balance, flexibility, and posture abnormalities that your feet may have. Even though it may seem like just a simple standing pose, there is a lot to learn about your body here.
The following are a few suggestions of Yoga poses that you can try to test your feet and ankle condition, as well as stretch, lengthen, and increase balance and strength. (If you have never done yoga before, we recommend finding a teacher to help you with your poses.)
- Downward-Facing Dog: A staple pose in Yoga, this stretches arms, shoulders, legs, and feet, especially as you try to get the back of your heels to get closer and closer to the ground. (This is something you can keep practicing.)
- Hero Pose: The tops of your ankles, as well as your quadriceps will feel the stretch in the pose. For a modified challenge and different sensation, try to sit in hero pose, but with your toes tucked under. You may have to manually tuck your pinky toe in, as it can sometimes get stuck!
- Warrior II: In this pose, there are many things to keep track of – so staying in the proper posture of this pose can be challenging. From here there are many subsequent poses to transition into, so make sure you are grounded in this pose. Focus your attention on how your body weight is spread. Most of the weight will be in the front leg, but make sure that the weight is on the outer edge of the back foot.
- Tree Pose: This will test your balance. If you tend to under- or over-pronate, it will become more apparent as you try to balance on one foot.
These are just a few of the many poses that would benefit your feet and ankles. In fact, it can benefit your whole body! Make sure that pain is not part of your practice and do not risk injury if you are unsure of a pose. If you experience any pain or discomfort come see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Carl Ingrassia, at Fords Foot and Ankle Care. He will assess and diagnose any issues that may prevent you from the activities you love. Make an appointment today by calling us at (732) 738-4441. We are happy to serve you at our Fords, NJ office.