Yoga is Good for Your Sole
BY DEBBY SIEGEL, MSA, RYT
PHOTOS by MICHELLE THOMAS
Whether you’re a climber, like us, and cramming your toes into climbing shoes regularly, or are wearing heels to work or play, your feet may benefit from some stretches. Yep, it’s time for Toega – yoga for your toes.
Climbing shoes are designed to maximize toe strength on tiny footholds, and their snug fit can eventually be tough on our feet. And if you’re dancing in those sassy platforms that are hot this summer, you know how distributing all your weight onto your toes can feel. Having recently experienced foot strain from basing in acro yoga, I thought it time to explore some ways to keep your plantar fascia and toes happy with yoga moves designed to stretch out your tootsies.
We will begin by standing in and bringing awareness to our feet by rooting through the heel and toe mound of our foot while lifting all ten toes up. Then one at a time, lowering a toe beginning with the pinky toe and ending with the big toe. Feel the spaces between your toes. Lean a little forward so that you engage your toes as your “brakes” and then rock back onto your heels, and eventually landing so that you evenly distribute your weight onto your whole foot with your toes spread wide. Repeat this a few times throughout your day.
Toe squats are good for opening your toes and feet, strengthening ankles and stretching out the arches of your feet. Plantar fascia is the largest ligament in the human body and it’s found in the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic local inflammation of this “bowstring-like” ligament stretching underneath the sole, connecting the heel bone to the toes. Treat your feet to a stretch now and then and try this squat pose.
Begin by sitting on your heels with the feet together. Tuck the toes under and try to be on the balls of the feet, not the tippy-toes. You may need to reach down and tuck the little toes under. Sit in this static stretch for 5 to 10 breaths.
To come out of toe squat, lean forward onto your hands, lift your hips forward, and release your feet. Point the feet backwards, lower the tops of your feet to your mat and sit back on top of your heels.
Next, sit in bound angle pose, with your tailbone on the floor, knees bent and dropped out wide, soles of your feet kissing in front of you. Bring your feet in as close as you can to your body, open your feet out like they’re the covers of a book. Work them open and gently massage the arch of the foot with your thumbs. Sit up nice and tall. Massage away, in a dynamic way, thumbing into the plantar area under your toe mound and running your fingers up into the spaces between your toes.
When’s the last time someone gave you a foot massage? Well, it can be right now if you try this toe yoga out. So give your feet some relief and undo some of the overdone with an overdue foot stretch today.
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