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From the Bottom up: Yoga for Your Feet
On February 1, 2013 in
Like any part of your body, your feet have muscles and tendons that need stretching and strengthening. The Western habit of spending very little time barefoot can weaken them, especially if you wear constrictive or ill-fitting shoes. Fortunately, your yoga practice is a great place to work your feet.
For many students—you might have been one of them—being barefoot (or in your Yoga Paws!) in yoga is a learning experience in and of itself. Maybe you were surprised at how much harder it is to balance when you don’t have a gym shoe holding your foot in place—or maybe your ankles felt like jelly. The flexibility of your feet and ankles makes them articulate enough to roll from point to flex and handle the lateral movement of twisting and turning accompanies daily life.
The best—but not often the easiest—way to get back in touch with what your lower extremities can do is simply to think about them as you practice. Often, it’s tempting to focus on where your arms and legs are going that you lose awareness of your hands and feet. So, as you go through your next class, think about using your feet in each position—where they are, what their path is to the next pose, how they affect the rest of your body and whether you are properly aligned over them (not rolling in or out or back on your heels). Here are some poses to try:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
: This simple standing pose allows you to concentrate on what it feels like to have your feet aligned on the ground, and provides a foundation for more challenging foot positions.
How to do it
: Stand with your big toes touching and your feet slightly turned in. Engage your inner legs from your arch to your hip. Feel all four “corners” of your feet (inside and outside of your toes and heels) in contact with the mat. Allow yourself to shift your weight until you find that point—you may favor one foot or have your weight too far forward or back. Once you find that balance point, remain in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
Virasana (Hero Pose)
: This pose stretches the arches of your feet and lengthens the front of your ankles.
How to do it
: Kneel on your mat with your knees touching, lower legs wider than your thighs. On an exhale, begin to sit down. Use your hands to move your calves to the side and sit down between your legs. Place a folded blanket under your buttocks if you need to. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, working to stay longer as you grow in the pose, up to about five minutes. Release.
Virasana (Hero Pose)—modification
: Rolling your toes under in this pose stretches the arches of your feet, which often get stiff after being in shoes.
How to do it
: Kneel on the floor. Curl your toes under so that the bottoms of your toes are on the mat. Sit back on your heels. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
: Tight shoes and immobility can make it difficult to move your toes. This stretch can help.
How to do it
: Sit down. Take the ends of your fingers and thread them through your toes. Gently move your toes for a few breaths, then repeat with the other hand and foot.
: Moving your feet through different planes of movement strengthens and stretches your ankles.
How to do it
: Begin in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Bring your toes toward the ground, then out to the sides, then back toward your hips, then in to each other. Repeat five times, then reverse directions. Repeat two or three times
When you are trying to focus on your feet, it helps to envision a line of energy extending from your hip to your toes. Don’t “grip” your thighs at the expense of letting your calves and feet become disengaged. Instead, think of activating your feet.
are also wonderful for the feet by giving you extra padding and support when doing yoga. Keeping you locked in place to spread you happy toes. :)
LLC - "The Yoga Mat You Wear"
Yoga Paws LLC is a mother/daughter adventure which started in 2001 and officially in launched in 2003. Gail (mother) and Jamie (daughter) Getzwiller share a love for travel and yoga which lead to a natural development of the YogaPaws. Over the past 8 years they have embarked on a journey of love and working dedication to produce the best "Paws" possible. Yoga Paws have been a product and company that cares about spreading the love and allowing all the yogi's around the world to enjoy as non-slip practice Anytime Anywhere. :)
YogaPaws are non-slip yoga gloves worn on your hands or feet, staying true to their logo "The Yoga Mat You Wear." YogaPaws function perfectly on any surface, keeping you secure in every yoga pose.
Check out YogaPaws today at
Try the following YogaDownload classes today to open your feet:
Hot Yoga 2 - Lauren Pech
Gentle Hatha 2 - Jackie Casal Mahrou
8 Reasons Why Men with Back Pain Should Practice Yoga
Back pain is a serious problem in the modern day with 80% of Americans expected to experience it at some point during their lifetime. So, any activity that can help to guard against it should be welcomed right? Well, this is exactly what yoga can do. As the flexibility and increased range of motion it gives you can really take the pressure and strain off your back throughout the day. While the core strength you’ll gain will keep your back better supported while also improving your posture. However, despite these benefits most yoga classes continue to be dominated by women as many men remain reluctant to give it a try. But why is this?
Yoga for Crossfit: Why it Improves Performance & 3 Poses
Yoga is not only a good way to relax your mind and body, it is also being praised for improving Crossfit performance. Yoga creates more flexibility and creates more mobility, which are beneficial for the rigors of Crossfit as well as reducing the risk of injury. While the practices are different in many ways, Crossfit and yoga actually have a lot in common, so if you practice yoga, it’s can be easier to learn to practice Crossfit, and vice versa. Benefits of Yoga for Crossfit: Here are a few reasons why you should consider using yoga as a part of your crossfit training regime. Yoga has many gentle poses that develop your core which is an important part to Crossfit. Being capable of balancing and holding the body with the core is essential. When you regularly practice yoga, you promote strength, endurance, and flexibility and have a greater awareness of how to use your core effectively. You also find your inner strength which is important in Crossfit training. You practice cultivating calm, in challenging moments in yoga, and that can really help during Crossfit. Yoga can help us have more fun in Crossfit. Studies have found that yoga allows you to become more self-aware and improves your energy levels, helping you to enjoy life more fully. Sometimes in Crossfit, training and progress becomes such a focus point that we forget to be light and have fun. Yoga can help here.
5 Powerful Fusion Yoga Hybrid Workouts to Try
You can get into your best shape by combining yoga with other fitness workouts and routines. Yoga hybrid workouts have become all the range as of late, as an active lifestyle is becoming more and more popular. As it’s becoming more apparent the benefits a regular yoga practice can give you, there’s more ways to incorporate it into your regular workout. Here are some ways you can combine yoga poses with other fitness methods, to get into the best shape you can and move in more ways! If you’re adding a few moves to your regular workout, or adding some weights or dance moves into your yoga practice, there’s a yoga hybrid out there for you. Mixing it up can increase your endurance, strength, and most of all make your practice fun. Here are five unique fusion yoga forms, that are worth giving a try! Anti Gravity Yoga If you’ve ever fancied yourself a bit of an acrobat, aerial yoga is the hybrid for you.
6 Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Strength Training
Yoga is well known as a calming and relaxing practice, so if your fitness goals are more performance and aesthetically based, you might have dismissed yoga as not being useful to you. There is a common misconception that yoga is purely for those looking for spiritual or relaxing exercise practice. However, more and more gyms, studios and trainers are incorporating yoga into their everyday fitness practice, as it’s a great exercise to add to your regime to see results. Yoga is a very important part of strength training. When used in combination with other more high impact exercises, yoga can help you to increase your endurance, increase your strength, improve your posture and technique, and improve your balance as well as your flexibility. Adding yoga to your strength training will help you achieve your peak performance, as well as calm your mind and improve your mental balance. Still need convincing? Here’s our top reasons why you should add yoga to your strength training. 1. Increased Flexibility
4 Reasons to Branch Out in Your Yoga Practice
Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses, Downward Dog – every yogi has their favourite tried and tested poses and flows that they may be able to do with their eyes closed. As you move through your daily routine on the matt, you might notice your mind drifting. The flows that once took concentration and took your mind away from the humdrum day to day thoughts are now second nature, and you’ve lost your sense of zen. It’s easy to get into a rut if you stick to your comfort zones in life – and your yoga practice is no different. This week we’re challenging you to try a new class every day for two weeks. Here are four key benefits that branching out in your yoga practice can bring you. 1. Keep your brain active Did you know that learning a new skill, such as a different language or something creative like a musical instrument can help your brain form new connections? The same applies when you learn a new yoga flow or try a challenging pose. Stimulating your brain in this way can increase your memory skills, concentration and even your creativity levels. Learning something new, like figuring out a new yoga challenge can create neural pathways in the brain, increasing brain power.
Combining Yoga & Different Styles of Music to Create a Flow State
When we are considering different things to pair together, it is always a subjective matter. For instance, there might be people who love salted chocolate, while others want salt nowhere near their chocolate! The same can be said about adding music to your yoga practice. Some people love vibration support and melodic inspirations when they are flowing from one pose to another and find it improves their practice. Others revel in the silent internal waves of just their breath and prefer yoga without any music. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s simply a matter of preference. Regardless, music has become increasingly popular to complement a yoga practice and seems here to stay for those who like this combination. Because of this, there are people who are always looking for new excellent music choices for their yoga sessions. If you’ve been moved by music during a yoga class, you can appreciate the beauty of this combination. Music can add another layer to a deep, rigorous flow and can support you in the challenging moments of a class, or keep your mind from wandering. Many have opened to new music artists and styles of music from tracks they discovered that moved them during yoga. What Is Yoga?
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