Using Yoga To Strengthen Feet & Ankles
Yoga is undoubtedly one of the most popular forms of exercise, and it’s not hard to see why. But yoga for feet?
Sometimes taking things slow, stretching in to the benefits of your practice, and holding your body in meditative stances and expansive positions is exactly what you need to relieve yourself of strain.
Most people take up yoga to tone and lengthen their muscles and to work on their form and posture. But what you might not realize is that you can also use yoga to strengthen feet and ankles. If you’re someone who constantly struggles with pain in the lower limbs, foot arches and toes, it’s time to consider rolling out a mat and beginning your practice.
Still not completely convinced? Here are five reasons to start your foot yoga journey sooner rather than later.
5 Reasons To Practice Yoga for Healthy Feet
1. Encourages blood circulation in the feet
Having decent blood circulation is imperative to functioning on the daily. However, the lower extremities tend not to get the same level of blood flow as the upper sections of your body.
If you’re someone who suffers from a chronic ailment like diabetes, chances are that your typical blood circulation is even lower. That’s why yoga is a recommended means of getting blood pumping through your feet and toes. It improves circulatory health throughout the entire system so that your cells get a much-needed dose of nutrients. Certain yoga poses that force you to bend over and place your hips above your heart help gravity facilitate blood flow, as well as strengthen the legs to aid their overall circulation.
2. Refines your balance
If you are always taking a dive over your own feet, then yoga can go a long way in helping you focus on your balance.
There are times when something as innocuous as landing on the wrong side of the floor can result in serious injuries, more so as you grow older and your bones weaken. Aside from using your muscles, yoga also requires a keen sense of awareness of your own body. The feet are the foundation for the poses in most yoga practices, and if the foundation is unstable, the entire form reflects this misalignment. Beginner yoga moves include learning how to distribute weight properly over two feet, which will gradually morph into single-legged formations. Certain yoga movements also increase awareness of the ankle joints, resulting in the body making automatic adjustments to maintain balance. In effect, developing your balance will help you avoid potentially nasty accidents.
3. Boost foot flexibility
Flexible and pliable ankles are critical for balancing, which in turn helps with the overall physical health of a person.
Practicing yoga enhances flexibility because many of the poses gently stretch the joints and engage the stabilizing muscles. The premise of yoga is that it is a slow process of gradually easing you into the more difficult formations, which ensures that you grasp the basics before progressing along. Most yoga moves are centered on the feet, so you can be sure that your feet and ankles will often be getting quite the workout. Other yoga stances rely on balancing on the hands and knees while you stretch your feet out, and this provides them with extra mobility and command of your limbs that assist them with adapting to the more complicated positions.
4. Increase foot strength
You get a chance to strengthen your feet and ankles in all the standing positions and the transitions between cycles. Doing yoga will also improve your control and allow you to generate more energy to intensify resilience. Even straightforward stretches performed at the beginning and end of each session will strengthen the arches, Achilles tendons, and lower leg muscles—all of which are the most prone to injury. Other simple forms involve sitting on top of your flexed feet, and not only are you building up your arch by doing this, but you’re also putting added tension on the feet using your body weight, which makes them more powerful and supple.
5. Offer relief from foot pain
Performing a full body stretch following every workout is of the utmost importance in order for you to recover and reach your full capacity. With yoga, the poses are designed to both strengthen and extend the muscles at all times, so you get the best of both worlds. Stretching your tendons and ligaments in the calves is the best way to alleviate the possibility of conditions such as heel spurs and Achilles tendinitis. Yoga also provides you with the opportunity to loosen and elongate the feet since regularly practicing yoga will keep the tissues in your feet soft and will prevent pain from occurring. It’s also worth it to know that keeping your feet healthy will have a ripple effect on the other parts of your body. If you reduce foot pain and are able to walk and stand straight, this will also do wonders for your back and hips in return.
Aside from the advantages they have when it comes to your feet, yoga is also useful for focusing on your mental well-being. During practice, you are encouraged to take your time in stillness, spend a few moments to remember to be grateful, and remember the importance of self-love. To say that yoga comes with a long list of benefits would be a real understatement.