Our aging bodies often betray us by presenting an annoying array of pain and physical impairments, which prevent participation in athletic endeavors that we once took for granted. Being physically active is essential for our well-being, so it is crucial to find a way to clear the hindrances blocking our path to good health.
Yoga is an activity that can help to alleviate the pain of certain conditions, as well as strengthen areas in order to prevent the malady before the onset. Nevertheless, we have to get past the fear of making something worse, proceed slowly and cautiously, and take that first positive action.
Plantar fasciitis is one of those painful conditions that may at first glance make us believe a yoga practice is out of the question. The plantar fascia is a dense ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes. This ligament often becomes inflamed or breaks down due to excessive jogging, faulty footwear, or even obesity. This results in a great deal of pain, particularly in the morning.
Several yoga exercises can gently stretch and massage the plantar fascia, and help prevent the painful condition, but also alleviate symptoms for those who already suffer from plantar fasciitis. You may find relief by trying this short sequence of asanas each morning.
1. Begin with Thunderbolt Pose, an asana in which you push together your heels and sit on them for a couple of minutes. The toes must be rolled under so that the balls of your feet touch the floor. This asana is effective in releasing pain in your arches.
2. Move into Hero Pose, in which you still sit on your heels, but move them apart. A towel placed under your legs is a great modification. Make sure the bottoms of your feet are facing back toward the wall behind you, do not turn your feet sideways.
3. Transition into Downward Dog, and slowly begin to sink one heel at a time in an alternating calf stretch. Every version of Downward Dog is useful for stretching the calves and hamstrings, but by lifting one or two heels, we can stretch the bottoms of our feet.
4. From here, easily move into a forward lunge and Warrior One Pose, being careful to keep each foot straight and giving them a good stretch.
5. Finally, straighten up into Mountain Pose and raise your toes off the floor for one last healing movement.
You may also want to occasionally sit cross-legged and take one foot at a time into the opposite hand, and thread your fingers through your toes. Hold this for about a minute and release. In addition, try standing in Mountain Pose and roll a tennis ball under your feet from the heel to the toe.
If you have problems with your plantar fascia, it is very helpful to maintain a regular practice of yoga in your daily routine. Just a few minutes a day will keep your feet and toes happy and healthy.
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