By Heather of the Cureve Team
Stretching your feet regularly is important not only to the health of the feet but also for the entire body. After all, the feet are your foundation. Your feet absorb tens of thousands of pounds a day so it is important to have strong, flexible feet. If the feet are not in good shape you can develop plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain and even back pain.
I grew up learning how to stretch the major muscles of my body, but never my feet! We didn’t learn foot stretches playing sports at kids. I mainly played soccer and swam on the swim team. The coaches typically focused on the bigger muscle groups when we did group stretching. I don’t ever remember stretching my feet which is funny considering 100% of a soccer game is played on your feet!
I remember learning my first foot specific stretch in my 30’s and my whole face squinched up in pain. It was during my 500 hour yoga teacher training and my teacher, Ed, had us hold the stretch for over a minute and man, it hurt. Even though the stretch made me breathe heavily and I felt like my feet were on fire I knew it was something I had to keep doing.
Clearly, my feet were in bad shape since the stretch hurt so badly.
As a marathon and ultra-marathon runner I developed foot pain and knee pain over time, specifically plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia in the foot. The plantar fascia run from the ball of the foot to the heel and can become inflamed if the other muscles in the foot are not supporting the plantar fascia and/or the foot lacks flexibility. I have had plantar fasciitis in both feet at different times.
If you have never had plantar fasciitis I can tell you it feels like you are walking on pins and needles when you step down on your heel as you walk. It is super painful and distracting.
“Toes Pose” is just one stretch you can do to improve the health of your feet and begin to find relief from plantar fasciitis, as well as help prevent other ailments that can lead to knee pain, hip pain and back pain.
HOW TO DO “TOES POSE”: Simply come onto your hands and knees. Bring your knees together and your feet together. Curl the toes under & start to sit back on the heels. You do not have to sit all the way back. You can use block as “training wheels” until you are ready to sit all the way back. When you are ready to sit all the way back do so and round through your back to put even more weight into your heels. Take 10 breaths and relax. Come out of this pose slowly and be sure to enjoy every single minute.
*If this hurts your knees simply place a pillow between the thighs and knees
Everyone can reap the benefits of this stretch immediately. It stretches the feet in a way you may have never experienced so remember to breathe deeply. Toes pose is not only important for the health of your feet, but for the entire body. Do this stretch 2-3x/week for 1 minute each time to see some big results.
Heather "Feather" Poast is a 500 hour trained yoga instructor, personal trainer and chef.