Do your feet ache or hurt? Maybe you stand all day or have worn the wrong shoes in the past? Or even maybe you have been diagnosed with Mortons Neuroma (like me) or Plantar Fasciitis? Heres a little secret you may not know – Yoga feet are happy feet.
Equipment ( Optional)
- A spikey massage ball or tennis ball.
- A cushion, bolster or yoga block
Yoga feet exercises
These may help today and if done regularly could improve things in the long run.
Cross the left leg so that the right foot is a little off the ground. Now take the right foot in your hands and slowly rotate your right ankle a few times in each direction.
Next, take hold of your right toes in your left hand and squeeze all of your toes together backwards and forwards a few times.
Can you move your fingers between your toes? Like a zip, alternating one finger and one toe. This helps to spread the toes apart. It’s great for when they have been squashed up in shoes all day.
Repeat on the other foot.
This is the nice part, you are going to make your feet feel good by giving them a lovely message. Even better, get someone else to do this bit for you.
Simply start squidging your thumbs into the soles of your feet. Find the aching areas and work them a little more. You are trying to open up and release the tissues in your feet here. Do you have a spikey massage ball anywhere? Alternatively, a tennis ball will do nicely. You can either use that to add to the message or stand up and work it under your foot on the floor. Use the back of a chair to hold onto if you find balancing difficult here.
Repeat on the other foot
Hero Pose (Virasana)
This is a great stretch for your feet. It may hurt at first – I certainly found it painful to go far into it at first. Build up slowly practising three times a week and things will soon change.
Start off on all 4’s. Your hands directly under your shoulders and your hips over your knees. Tuck your feet under, if possible ensure all of your toes reach the ground. I doubt my little toes ever will but never the less I still try.
Slowly, keeping your feet tucked under sit back on your heels into child’s pose (Balasana). Now, keeping your feet tucked and your bottom on your heels, move your hands towards your knees. Is that enough of a stretch? If so hold for three full breaths.
If you can go further then your hands go onto your knees and further up until you are sitting in full hero pose and hold for three full breaths or more if you can.
Come back to all 4’s and move your feet so that the tops are flat on the floor. Sit back on your heels so that you are now stretching the fronts of the feet in the opposite direction. This should feel good. Hold for a few long deep breaths and relax.
Standing Foot Balances
Now we are going to strengthen our feet. Those of us that have difficulty with these poses can hold onto the back of a chair.
Start in Mountain Pose ( Tadasana). Now this in its self is great for the feet, press them into the earth. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how you stand. Are they pointing straight forward or are you naturally a duck like me? Are your feet flat with the arches turning towards the floor ( me again)?
Spread your toes apart. Pick them all up and starting with the big toe plant each into the floor one by one with as much space between each as possible. Yoga Toes for Yoga Feet. ( see the photo at the top of this page)
Now we raise our heels off the floor and put them back down and raise the toes. Repeat a few times.
Back into mountain pose, raise high onto your heels and bring your arms up over the head at the same time. Stretch your arms out in front and staying with your heels high bend your knees into chair pose ( Utkatasana ). Stay here as long as possible without putting the heels on the floor. Rise back up, keeping the heels off the floor. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Not strictly Yoga feet exercises but these will really help with the strengthening and flexibility of your feet.
1. Pencil Pick Ups
2. Towel Pickups
- Stand at the back of a yoga towel ( an ordinary towel will do but they are a bit thick). Reach your toes forward and grasp the towel. Pull it towards you a bit at a time until all the towel is by your toes.
- Too easy? Put a couple of tins of beans at the end of your mat to make it heavier to pull.
What do you think? Have these helped? Please leave me a comment as I would love to hear. If you are finding them useful I have a few more yoga feet exercises I will add soon and maybe a video or two as well :-).