You don't have to be a yogi to reap the benefits of regular yoga. Long-term studies have revealed the vast number of ways yoga has been able to help people improve their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. But today, we are going to focus solely on the physical benefits of yoga; more specifically, how certain yoga poses can help reduce the pain and irritation caused by plantar fasciitis. If you are dealing with plantar fasciitis at this time and are looking for one extra way to lessen some of your pain, check out these four yoga poses.
4 Yoga Poses for Plantar Fasciitis
- Toes Pose: This pose will get an active stretch going in your heels without you having to do much work in any other way. To begin, place a yoga mat, towel, or blanket on the floor to protect your knees. Slowly lower yourself to the floor so that you are in a kneeling position. Next, lift your feet so that your toes are pressing downward into the mat or towel with your heels exposed outward. Start to lower your body so that your backside meets your calves. This will provide a deep stretch in both of your heels. Don't be surprised if you find this exercise a bit difficult to do at first, depending on how severe your plantar fasciitis has become. Don't try to push through the pain at first since this might just further aggravate your feet. Instead, ease your way into this exercise, knowing your limitations and practicing daily until it becomes easier to do. When you do this pose, strive to hold it for a full minute, eventually working up to three minutes. Remember to inhale and exhale deeply throughout the pose and think of your fascia growing longer, and in turn becoming more flexible.
- Garland Pose: Also known as the Buddha squat or more officially among the community, Malasana, this pose both builds strength in your leg muscles and creates greater flexibility throughout. This pose requires a bit of balance, so ease your way into it. Again, remember to breathe throughout the duration of the pose. To begin, place your feet on your yoga mat, towel, or even just the floor. Spread them so that they are a bit more than hip width apart. Slowly lower your body down so that you are in a squatting position. Tempting though it may be, don't rest your elbows or hands on your legs. Instead, to create greater balance and less pressure on your legs, place your hands in front of your chest, holding them in a prayer position. Although the garland pose will benefit your body in many ways, it really aids the calves and the ankles by building more strength in the muscles and improving flexibility. There are a few important tips you need to implement to do this pose correctly: always keep your heels flat down on the mat (to get a deeper stretch and protect the ankles) and keep your thighs spread apart. Lean your upper body slightly forward so that your torso sits properly between your legs. As we said earlier, you don't want to rest your elbows or hands on top of your legs, but you can use your elbows to put a bit of pressure on your inner thighs, thus getting a deeper stretch. Aim to hold this pose for thirty seconds. You can repeat this pose as many times as needed.
- Bound Angle Pose: With this yoga pose, you can get an active stretch in your legs and heels all while sitting down. Begin by sitting on your yoga mat or towel. Bending your knees, slowly bring them to your feet. You want the soles of your feet to be facing each other (and eventually touching, once you have developed greater flexibility). If you find it difficult to keep your feet in place, you can hold them held together with your hands. Also, the more you can naturally push your knees toward the yoga mat the better. Don't try to force this. When you do this pose repeatedly over the course of several days or weeks, you develop far more flexibility in your legs. And once you have become accustomed to this exercise and feel you have enough flexibility and strength, you can make it more difficult for yourself by "flitting" your legs up and down in a butterfly motion. Remember to pay attention to what your upper body is doing when you are holding this pose. You want to maintain good posture by keeping your back straight. Once you are in the proper position, hold this pose for at least one minute in order to achieve a deep stretch in your thighs, calves, and heels. As you continue to do this pose, work toward holding it for three minutes at a time all while remembering to inhale and exhale deeply.
- Warrior Pose One: Of all the yoga poses we just discussed, this one probably requires the most strength. But don't let that deter you from trying it! The Warrior Pose One helps a person build balance, flexibility, and strength in all parts of their body, specifically the legs. And the way you have to position your feet will allow for a deep stretch in your heels. Additionally, when you regularly do strength building exercises and yoga poses that target the lower body, you can build strength in your leg muscles and thus, reduce the risk for greater pain and injury in your heels. Start with your right foot in front and your left foot behind you. Your left foot should be positioned at a 45 degree angle. Your right foot should be straight with your toes pointed forward. Once you have positioned your feet, you will keep your back leg straight and bend the knee of your front leg. This will be difficult at first, by you want to eventually make sure that your upper body is pointed toward the front of the room instead of to the side. For extra balance, extend your arms out straight, with one arm behind you and the other in front. Strive to hold this pose for thirty seconds before building up to two minutes. You can repeat it as many times as needed. Make sure to get an even stretch on both sides by switching your feet after doing the pose the first time.
Looking for more information on how to treat plantar fasciitis? Don't forget to keep reading our other blog posts for more free resources on how to effectively treatment certain injuries and painful conditions.