Foot and ankle mobility is essential for overall wellbeing. After all, the lower half of your body carries your weight, initiates different types of movement, and absorbs the shock and stress of sitting, walking, running, and other daily activities that you do. Here’s how to practice yoga for feet and ankles.
1. Toe Squat
Begin on all fours. Tuck your toes underneath you, crawl your hands back to your knees, then come upright. Shift your hips on top of your heels, then align your shoulders on top of your hips. Sit up tall and allow your hips to be heavy against your feet.
Toe Squat helps release tissue and stuck stress accumulated in your feet. It can be a challenging posture for many, so you can modify by inserting a yoga block or pillow in between your shins and resting your hips on top of your prop.
2. Ankle Stretch
Just like Toe Squat, Ankle Stretch is performed seated. This time, untuck your toes. Shift your hips on top of the heels. You can support yourself by taking your hands behind your and leaning back, although be sure not to overextend through the arms.
You can also make the posture a bit more challenging by lifting your knees off the ground. This will add more compression onto your ankle joint. Ankle Stretch helps improve your ankle mobility, and also helps prevent injuries in that specific joint.
After performing Toe Squat or Ankle Stretch, your toes and ankles may feel tender. Feel free to reset in Downward Facing Dog.
3. Garland Pose
This is also known as Malasana. From an all fours position, step your right foot outside your right hand and your left foot outside your left hand. Then, sit your bum low and come in towards a low squat. Your hips should be externally rotated and facing opposite directions, and you may feel a deep stretch in your groin area.
Apart from being a hip opener, Malasana or Garland Pose helps compress and later on release the ankle joint. When you release from the pose, you can come into your Uttanasana or Forward Fold.
Try to practice yoga for feet and ankles three to five times each week and hold each posture for 1 to 2 minutes. Your foot and ankle mobility will surely improve, and you may feel an improvement in the range of motion of your hips as well.