Are you a runner pounding the pavement with your feet, a rock climber cramming your toes into tight shoes, on your feet long hours for work, or sporting heels on the regular? Your feet may benefit from the extra loving care of toega – yoga for your toes!
In addition to the effects of overuse in the physical body, excessive emotional stress or anxiety can have subtle symptoms and be felt all the way to our toes. Having experienced foot strain from lots of basing in acro yoga in 2018, I began exploring ways to keep my plantar fascia and toes happy with yoga moves designed to stretch out the tootsies and compiled some of what I found in this blog.
We will begin by standing in and bringing awareness to our feet by rooting through the heel and toe mound of our foot while lifting all ten toes up. Then one at a time, lowering a toe beginning with the pinky toe and ending with the big toe. Feel the spaces between your toes. Lean a little forward so that you engage your toes as your “brakes” and then rock back onto your heels, and eventually landing so that you evenly distribute your weight onto your whole foot with your toes spread wide. Repeat this a few times throughout your day.
Toe squats are good for opening your toes and feet, strengthening ankles and stretching out the arches of your feet. Plantar fascia is the largest ligament in the human body and it’s found in the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic local inflammation of this “bowstring-like” ligament stretching underneath the sole, connecting the heel bone to the toes. Treat your feet to a stretch now and then and try this squat pose.
Begin by sitting on your heels with the feet together. Tuck the toes under and try to be on the balls of the feet, not the tippy-toes. You may need to reach down and tuck the little toes under. Sit in this static stretch for 5 to 10 breaths.
To come out of toe squat, lean forward onto your hands, lift your hips forward, and release your feet. Point the feet backwards, lower the tops of your feet to your mat and alternate some toe taps.
Next, sit in bound angle pose, with your tailbone on the floor, knees bent and dropped out wide, soles of your feet kissing in front of you. Bring your feet in as close as you can to your body, open your feet out like they’re the pages of a book. Work them open and gently massage the arch of the foot with your thumbs. Sit up nice and tall. Massage away, in a dynamic way, thumbing into the plantar area under your toe mound and running your fingers up into the spaces between your toes.
Give your feet some relief and undo some of the overdo with an overdue foot stretch today. And if nothing else, you will be getting a foot massage from your favorite person – you!
If you’d like, I will be addressing feet in my various yoga classes this week, and drawing information from my teachers. One foot massage technique we will try out in class I learned from Tara Stiles. Find her Shiatsu Reset Button and get your foot in the door now! 😉