Heal The High Heel Pangs
Lower back ache, policeman’s heel, calf muscles pain- Find a way through them with Yoga…
To make a lasting first impression in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate deal making, power dressing is generally non-negotiable. For women, who wear high heels for 8-10 hours a day to look the part, this comes at a huge physical cost.
Wearing high heels to work every single day can cause Plantar Fascia commonly called Policeman’s Heel, when you experience a piercing pain in the bottom of your feet. Another common health issue that emanates from use of high heels or uncomfortable footwear is pain in the lower back. According to American Osteopathic Association, walking with raised heels for longer periods of time shifts the center of gravity forward that forces the back to form an arc; this affects body posturing besides causing persistent pain in the lower back. Thanks to the gift of classical Yoga, there is a non-invasive solution to get rid of the pain and stress caused by uncomfortable, high heel shoes every day. We bring you some light relaxation exercises and Yogasanas or poses for those tired and numb feet!
Rotations and Warm up
Before getting started with Yogasanas, it is important to practice rotation of calf muscles, ankles, ankle ligaments and toes because these exercises release the stress from the affected areas. Here is a sequence of warm up exercises you can do before starting with Yoga postures.
1) Toe Bending
-Raise your right leg off the ground
-Move your toes up and down 3 to 5 times
-Bring down your right leg and now raise your left leg and repeat the exercise
NOTE-Whether it be a simple relaxation technique or a Yogasana, it works best when they are synced with attentive breathing-deep, slow breaths-taken with full awareness.
2) Ankle Rotations
-Lift your right leg off the ground and rotate your ankles 3-5 times clockwise and then 3-5 times anti-clockwise.
-Lower your right leg and lift up your left leg. Repeat the rotations.
-Relax both the legs
-Close your eyes
-Observe your breath
3) Toe Stand
-Stand straight and put all your body weight on your toes with heels off the ground.
-Bring back the heels to the ground. You can repeat this cycle 3-5 times.
4) Heel Stand
-Place all your body weight on your heels with toes off the floor.
-Now bring your toes back to the ground. (3-5 cycles)
5) Penguin Walk
Walk on the outer edges of the feet for a minute to two minutes.
Next, walk on the inner edges of the feet (1-2 minutes).
By doing these exercises, you stretch the ankles in all direction and help produce enough oxygen to reach those areas. Oxygenation releases stress from the cells in the body. Oxygen reaches these parts effectively when you take long deep breaths along with the exercise. We cannot emphasis enough the importance of syncing your breath with the warm up exercise and Asanas or poses.
Next Up Is The Sequence Of Yoga Asanas (Postures) To Help You Stay Away From The Painful Symptoms Of Plantar Fascia.
-Stand up with back straight
-Take a deep breathe in and bend your knees. Make sure even when your knees are bent; your spine stays as erect as possible.
-Do not stay in the pose for more than 15-20 seconds
-Continue breathing slowly and deeply in this pose
-Observe the sensations in your calf muscles, ankles and feet
-Relax the posture and come up
2) Start with Ardha Chakrasana or Standing Backward Bend and
3)) Bending forward, go into Hastapadasana (Standing forward bend)
-Take in a deep breath.
-Balancing your weight equally on both feet, take your arms up from the sides
-Breathe out, and bending forward, bring your arms all the way down from in front of the body to touch your feet.
-Stay in the pose for 15-20 seconds. Continue breathing deeply. As you stay in the pose, make slight effort to bring the knees closer to your chest. Do not exert yourself in trying to do so.
-Breathing out, bring the arms to the sides and come back to the standing position.
4) Stretch out both the legs all the way back in a downward plank position or Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana.
5) From the plank pose, move into Downward Facing Dog pose or Adho Mukh Svanasana.
6) From there, gradually get into upward facing dog or Urdhwa Mukha Svanasana.
Both the above asanas (D and E) can be repeated 3-5 times. These asanas emphasize stretching your ankles and calf muscles, parts that get most affected from wearing high heels.
7) Seated Forward Bend or Paschimottanasana
-Sit comfortably with legs crossed
-Stretch out both the legs in front of the body, placed on the floor.
-Pull the toes towards you at once and then against your body. Repeat this 3-5 times.
-Sit with back straight, lift your hands from the sides all the way up and slowly bend forward.
-Bringing your hands down from the front of of your body, try and catch your ankle or toes. Stretch only so far as you can comfortably go.
-Stay in this position for 10-15 seconds
-Keep breathing deeply while holding this position
-Catching your ankles or calves with your hands comfortably, bend your toes towards your body and against your body alternatively. (3-5 times)
8) Knees up
-Lie down on your back
-Bend your knees with your feet planted firmly on the ground
-Keep your feet very close to your hip
-Relax in this pose
-Continue taking deep breaths
Place your attention on the affected areas and observe the sensations in the local region near the ankle, heels and toes.
9) For fuller relaxation, you can wrap up the sequence with the powerful Yoga Nidra or Yogic sleep.
So now, you can strut off in those kittens or ankle straps and keep breaking the glass ceilings as you go! For everything else, there is Yoga.
Downward plank pose (Picture Credit- www.mensjournal.com)
Downward facing dog (Picture credit- www.holyyogashop.com)Upward facing dog (Picture credit www.lovemyyoga.com)