Whether the culprit is a long day of walking or a girl’s night out on the town, we all suffer from achy feet from time to time. To prevent hours of niggling discomfort, many people turn to yoga for instant relief. Through a series of stretches and natural movements, yoga works to relieve tension from the calves, ankles, and plantar fascia. In this article, we explore the best yoga poses for achy feet. For best results, it’s important to pick up some flexible clothing before practising these postures. Flexible yoga wear will allow the muscles to stretch sufficiently, helping the body to relieve as much tension as possible.
Working to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the ankles, Tree Pose is great to practice after a long day on your feet. To begin, stand tall with your feet together. Touch your big toes together, leaving half an inch of space between your heels. Next, bring your palms together in front of your chest and engage your abdominal muscles. Slowly shift your weight onto your right foot, rooting it down by pressing firmly through the ball of your heel and big toe. Gently lift your left foot off the ground, bending the knee as you do so. Once you’ve established a sense of balance, place your left foot on the inside of your right thigh. You are in Tree Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before switching sides.
A yoga pose with multiple benefits, Downward Facing Dog relieves tension in the calves, ankles, plantar fascia, and hamstrings. To begin, stand tall with your feet should-width apart. Bending at the waist, slowly lower your torso forward until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spreading your fingers for additional balance, move your head forward until it is in-between your upper arms. For maximum benefit, move your shoulders away from your ears. You are in Downward Facing Dog. For a deeper stretch, try extending your tailbone up and back, breathing deeply whilst doing so. Hold the posture for 30 seconds or as long as it feels comfortable.
Working to relieve tension in the plantar fascia and ankles, Toes Pose is another great posture for achy feet. To practice the pose, begin on all fours in a tabletop position. Next, bring both legs together until they are touching, then tuck your toes under. Ensuring that your toes remain tucked under, gently walk both hands towards your legs and sit back on your heels. Place your hands on your thighs and lift your chest. You are in Toes Pose. After a couple of breaths, you should begin to feel the tension in the plantar fascia releasing. Hold the posture for around 2 minutes, remembering to breathe deeply.
Stretching the ankles, calves, and feet, Half Tiger Pose is great for relieving tension after a long day. To start, manoeuvre into a plank position. At this point, your shoulders should sit directly above your wrists and your hips should be in line with your shoulders. Begin to spread your fingers apart and firmly press your palms into the floor. Ensuring to engage your abdominal muscles, lift your right foot off the floor and draw your knee into your chest. Firming up your quadriceps, begin to lift your stomach up a little and drop your left heel closer to the floor. You are in Half Tiger Pose. After a few seconds, you should feel a stretch through your left calf, ankle, and foot. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Half Frog Pose works to stretch the front of the shin, ankle, and also the quadriceps. To begin the posture, lie flat on your stomach. Next, gently bend your elbows and prop yourself up on your forearms. At this point, ensure that your forearms are parallel to each other. Turn your left arm until your fingers point towards the top left corner of your mat. Bending your left knee, gently reach your left arm back to grab ahold of your left foot. To increase the stretch, slowly pull your foot in towards your bottom. You are in Half Frog Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Hand-to-Toe Pose is great for alleviating tension in the ankles and calves. To begin, lie flat on your back upon your yoga mat. Gently bend both knees and place your feet on the ground. Next, lift your right leg off the mat and begin to draw your knee towards your chest. If it helps, you can use your hands to draw your knee in. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Using your fingertips, gently grip the toes of your right foot. If possible, try to straighten your right leg. If your leg doesn’t straighten all the way – that’s fine! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the posture is doing its job. You are in Hand-to-Toe Pose. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Whether you’re an experienced practitioner or a complete beginner, practising these yoga poses regularly can help to relieve, and even prevent achey feet. For all the women out there, it’s worth picking up a comfortable sports bra before practising. A good-quality yoga bra will support your assets whilst you move, preventing pain and discomfort when attempting complex postures.