Taking Time for Yoga

As a semi-consistently practicing yogi, I’m often faced with what I like to think of as my ‘7:30 guilt.’ My 7:30 guilt encompasses that general feeling after you fought traffic, said hello to your pets, change out of your work clothes, and glance momentarily at your mat before quickly concluding that you are exhausted.

Netflix isn’t a friend during this hour. Neither is my persistent cat, my two hampers full of laundry, or my hungry partner. But ultimately I know, that if today follows the same pattern as yesterday, I won’t be practicing my mediation, or even making it into child’s pose before bed.

One life-changing piece of advice a fellow yogi gave me recently, was that no matter what, dedicate five minutes to your mat. It doesn’t matter if you’re standing, sitting, or pushing your legs up the wall; five minutes, every day. This may seem like an inconsequential amount of time, but you’d be surprised how many foundational stretches can be practiced after the dishes are done.

Our ankles are the key joints that hold us up, ensuring our stability, balance, and gait are in proper alignment. Strengthening and improving the flexibility of our ankles prevents injury, yet even top athletes tend to ignore this vital area of the body.

Certain yoga movements can also increase awareness of your ankle joint, and thus allows the body to make minute adjustments to maintain balance. In my last article, I discussed the comfort of properly fitted orthotics, and when combined with a daily practice of yoga, your ankle should feel secure, aligned, and supportive.

ankleImage Source: Very Well

For the following poses, you’ll need a blanket or bolster to help support your lower back. Once you are in a kneeling position at the top of your mat, ensure that your knees are parallel and hip distance apart.

As always, your practice is your own, so make any necessary adjustments to the following poses that ensure your safety. You should never feel any pain, only pressure. Ok, now you’re ready to click play on the video.

How did that feel? That only took three minutes! Going forward, it’s important to train your feet to work with the ankles. Mountain pose (Tadasana) is excellent for this, as it requires an even distribution of weight across the whole foot, including the metatarsal and arch, in a very symmetrical stance. Stretches like these can also relieve some of the damage caused by heels and stilettos.

With time, a strong flexibility can be built up, allowing your toes to stretch further and the top of the foot to lengthen. If a perfectly flat stance like the one below is uncomfortable for your ankles, wear an open-toed shoe with arch and metatarsal support, such as the Kenkoh Massage Sandal.

mountain-poseMountain pose – Image Source: Yoga

Remember, just five minutes every day. Who knows how far you’ll go?
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Give your feet something to smile about