Our feet are our foundation in most yoga poses, but they can also suffer from soreness and injury from improper footwear. Here are some yoga poses that can help to strengthen your feet and ease the tension caused by constant use.
Vajrasana, or seated on your heels, is a great way to stretch the tops of your feet. Keep the knees together and rest the hips back on the heels. If you’d like to intensify the stretch on the tops of the feet, begin to lean the weight back to lift up the knees slightly. You can work on balancing here to place additional pressure onto the feet, but be mindful of any sensitivity in the knees or ankles.
After vajrasana, take this counterpose: lean forward and curl the toes under as if you were about to come fully onto all fours. Sit back onto the heels with the toes tucked and you’ll stretch the bottoms of the feet. You may find that this variation can only be held for a few moments, especially if you wear footwear like high heels on a regular basis.
Standing poses are a great way to strengthen the feet. Rather than simply standing erect, make a conscious effort to try and lift up through the arches of the feet to engage the muscles when in poses like tadasana, or mountain pose. Increase the challenge by exploring standing balancing poses such as tree pose or warrior three, exploring the same movement of lifting the arch of the foot.
Supta Padangusthasana with a strap for assistance is another great way to stretch through your feet. Start laying on your back and hook a strap around the arch of your foot. Press the foot up towards the sky and hold onto both ends of the strap with one hand. Keep the hips resting flat against the floor, and flex into both feet. The lifting foot will get added stretch from use of the strap, as well as the ankle.