Recently we’ve been doing a lot of hiking and walking. As such my calves, ankles, and feet are a little sore. My hips too, but that’s a whole other story! So I’ve been working on ways to improve the mobility, strength, and flexibility of my lower leg. Last week in my zoom class we worked on somatic yoga for feet and ankles, with the bonus of working the toes, and calves!
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Somatic Yoga for feet and ankles
So for this class, we use a tissue. Yep, a simple paper tissue that you’d blow your nose with. Yoga props do not have to be fancy! For yoga for feet and ankles, we use the tissue by grabbing with our foot ‘fist’, scrunching the toes and ball of the foot. Lift, release and repeat. This has the bonus of working the muscles along the shin!
After a few repetitions draw the knee to the chest and simply point and flex through the ankle, like nodding “yes”. BUT keep the tissue grabbed with the toes. That’s the tricky part. NOTE: If you lose the tissue resist the temptation to place it in the toes with the hands. Instead, reach with the foot and grab it just like you did initially.
Then extend the leg up and again from the ankle ‘swish’ the foot right to left. I like to imagine I’m rubbing a mark off the ceiling. If the knee into the chest was ‘yes’ then this would be a shake of the head “no”. From here repeat everything on the other side before coming to all fours.
Grab the tissue in the right foot, and extend the right leg back but lengthen the left arm forward. Balancing in bird dog dorsiflex the ankle. Hold here, while making a fist then opening through the left hand. This is where your brain comes into play trying to balance, grip with the foot, and coordinate moving the opposite hand! Release the tissue, tuck the toes, and sit into child’s pose. You can stay here or sit into thunderbolt pose. Then repeat on the other side before lying back to rescan your body and see if you feel any difference before and after your practice.
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- Are you on your feet a lot?
- Do you have tight shin or calf muscles?
- Have you ever used a tissue in yoga?