Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Our feet carry us, they ground us, and they’ve walked many paths. We don’t get to choose the feet we’re born with (which goes for any body part), so it’s important not to neglect them.
Did you know that the condition of our feet has the potential to impact our overall wellbeing? For example, foot ailments may prevent us from achieving our fitness and health goals. This could be a result of genetics or injury. In addition, our feet are the furthest away from our hearts, so the necessary oxygen rich blood may not circulate properly down to our feet. Also, let’s not forget that we sometimes do a disservice to our feet by trying to suffocate them into ill-fitting shoes (Am I right, ladies?).
I’ve personally suffered with flat feet, which has led to inflammation in different areas of my feet, including my ankles. However, the inflammation is partly due to the fact that I love wearing heels, so genetics is surely not all to blame here. So, in order for my feet to feel some love, I shop for the right shoes, give them a massage frequently, and I honour them through my Yoga practice. Here is a favourite Yoga posture to consider incorporating into your personal practice which helps to target foot pain and optimize the health of our feet:
Reclining Hero (Supta Virasana):
Note: Reclining hero is considered to be an intermediate posture, so please do not force your bodies into it; however, there are modifications available for this pose. DO NOT attempt this pose if you suffer from serious back, knee or ankle pain.
Step 1: Begin in Virasana (Hero Pose), by kneeling with the thighs parallel to the floor, and the knees a little narrower than hip distance. Lower your buttocks in between your legs onto the floor.
Step 2: Take a few deeps breaths here, and on your last exhale, lower your back towards your mat. For proper support, make sure to lean into your hands, forearms and lastly, elbows.
Step 3: Once on your elbows, place your hands onto the back of your pelvis and gently guide the rest of your lower back down. Continue reclining all the way down to the floor, or if you wish to use modifications, lower onto a bolster or support blocks. Place your hands at your sides on a 45 degree angle, with palms facing the sky.
Sidenote: If your ribs protrude toward the ceiling, it indicates you have a tight groin, which can lead to tension in your lower back and belly. This is because your pelvis is being pulled towards your knees. If this is the case, lower yourself back onto a higher support.
Step 4: Ensure your knees are parallel to each other and close to the floor; however, if you need to, it’s okay to lift the knees slightly above your mat.
Whatever you do, do not let your knees splay further than hip distance apart, because this will only result in lower back pain and put strain on the hips. If you’re finding it challenging to keep your knees parallel, place a block in-between your thighs to squeeze into it.
Step 5: Try to stay in this pose for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then gradually work up to 5 minutes to reap the benefits this pose has to offer. To safely exit this pose, press against your forearms onto your mat, coming to the palms of your hands. Push your torso up by pressing into the palm of your hands, coming back into Virasana.
Practicing Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero) can help with menstrual pain, digestion, sciatica and more specifically, flat feet. Incorporating this pose into our personal practice to honour our feet, will help to stretch our thighs, knees and ankles. In addition, it will help to strengthen the arches of our feet (where a lot of inflammation can occur).
Go ahead and give your feet some love in Supta Virasana, so that you may continue showing up as the hero in your everyday life!
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