With over 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons, your feet are a complex and crucial part of the body. They serve as a foundation for your entire body in terms of support, posture, and balance.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population has at least one foot problem annually. These problems not only affect your feet but can also result in knee, hip, and lower back pain as well. In general, feet are extremely important to your overall well-being.
Yoga has increasingly become popular over the last decade and is even good for your feet. As a practice, yoga helps with strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness. In addition, intentionally stretching your toes and feet helps to improve range of motion, helps prevent injury and improve balance.
Try some of these poses and stretches for a great foot workout and stress reliever.
- While not just focused on the feet, this is a great stretch for your hamstrings, calves, and achilles tendon in the legs. You can create an even deeper stretch to the feet with some gentle alternating heel raises.
- The mountain pose helps activate your feet in different ways allowing you to test your balance and improve your awareness.
- Start by coming into Mountain pose spreading your toes as wide as possible on the mat. Then lift your toes and notice how this move affects your balance.
- While standing or seated in a chair, spread your toes as wide as possible and slowly place them firmly down on the ground. This will help ease the discomfort in your feet especially after a long day on your feet or if you’ve been in heels.
Squeeze and Release
- For ultimate relaxation in just seconds, squeeze your foot muscles by curling your toes and then release. Do this 2-3 times to help your feet relax. This technique teaches your muscle fibers the difference between tension and relaxation.
- Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together, then allow your knees to open as wide as they comfortably can. While seated in this position, you can use your thumbs to gently rub the arches.
- This post is a great way to relieve achy feet and stretch the foot muscles. Start by sitting on your heels, and gently curl your toes, allow the sole of your feet to stretch. You can also bring the hands to the top of the thighs or your hands in front of the knees.
Reclined rock pose
- This pose helps to stretch the toes and tops of the feet and can improve blood flow to the feet. Start in a kneeling position, then sit back on your heels. Place your hands behind you, palms on the floor, fingers pointed toward your body. Press into the palms of your hands and elevate your knees off the floor. Stay in this position for 30 seconds or more, then lower knees back to the floor and repeat.
Next time you have tired, achy feet, try these stretches and see if they don’t just make things a little better!