Whether you were born with flat feet or your arches have weakened with time, yoga can help soothe and strengthen your feet. Injury, aging and even walking in high-heeled shoes can all cause weak arches. When stressed in these scenarios, the posterior tibial tendon, whose primary action is to lift the arch, loosens almost like a rubber band. The result is weak, low arches, which are less apt at handling the body's weight and movement. Practice the following yoga poses three to five days a week to tone the tibial tendon and surrounding muscles.
Things You'll Need
- Yoga mat
- 2 yoga blocks
Stand at the top of your yoga mat, with your feet together. Balance your weight evenly on the entire bottoms of your feet, and actively lift your arches.
Press your feet down firmly, flex your quadriceps, or the front of your thighs, and stretch your legs upward.
Inhale and reach the top of your head toward the ceiling as you roll your shoulders back and stretch your arms down by your sides. Tuck in your tail bone slightly, and keep your gaze straight ahead. Hold for 10 deep breaths.
Hero Pose with Block
Kneel on your mat with your knees together, your feet wide apart behind you and the tops of your feet pressing into your mat. There should be enough space for you to sit between your feet.
Place a yoga block, on its widest side and horizontally, in the middle of your feet. Sit back on the block, keeping your shins and the tops of your feet pressing into your mat.
Press the palms of your hands down onto your thighs, and sit up tall. Hold for 10 deep breaths. Eventually, you will be able to remove the brick and sit directly on the floor.
Intense Leg Stretch
Stand in the middle of your mat, facing the widest side. Step or jump your feet approximately 4 to 5 feet apart.
Place your hands on your hips. Point your toes forward, keeping your feet as parallel to each other as possible.
Inhale as you lift your chest, then exhale and bend forward at the waist. Extend your spine and keep your gaze up.
Press into the outer edge of your feet, and flex your quadriceps, or the front of your thighs. Exhale your hands to the floor, and hold for 10 deep breaths. Beginners can place their hands on two yoga blocks for support if they cannot reach.
Tips & Warnings
- Start slowly and practice these poses regularly to establish a healthy, long-term habit.
- If pain persists or worsens, talk to your doctor to determine the best long-term foot care for your condition.
- Harvard Special Health Report: Foot Care Basics, Arches That Ache
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