Working at a running store has given me a new appreciation for how your feet can affect your life. Yoga poses that act as foot stretches are fantastic for runners, especially runners training hard and/or running high mileage. Foot stretches are also great for people who have sore, tired feet and need to increase foot flexibility and stimulate blood flow, especially you ladies who love your high heels. These four yoga poses will help you stretch out your feet and keep them happy. Hold each one for up to a minute or for whatever duration is comfortable.
Disclaimer: I am a yoga teacher, but I’m not your yoga teacher. Always practice yoga mindfully and if you have any questions, consult with your teacher.
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Child’s Pose is a great warmup for deeper foot stretches. You get a nice, easy stretch through the top of your foot as it lies along the floor or a yoga mat. Try sinking your hips closer to your feet as you warm up and settle into the pose.
Staff Pose (Dandasana) with Strap
This foot stretch flexes the foot through the heel and helps stretch through the heel, Achilles, and you may also feel a stretch through the calf. Place a yoga strap (or a belt) around the ball of your foot and gently pull on the ends of the strap. Try to keep your spine tall like you would in regular staff pose.
Toe stretch is a great foot stretch for the plantar fascia. Anyone who’s had plantar fasciitis can tell you how painful it can be. Keeping your plantar fascia stretched out will help keep you from developing the nasty, painful condition. For this pose. you curl your toes under and sit back onto your heels. This can be a pretty intense foot stretch, so I only hold the pose as long as is comfortable, but I’ll hold the pose a couple of times, resting my feet and ankles in between.
Hero Pose (Virasana)
Hero pose is an intense foot stretch for the top of the feet. This pose can be hard on the knees, so if you have bad knees you’ll want to modify or possibly avoid doing this pose. Your yoga teacher will be able to help you find a modification that will work for your body. Here, I’m modifying the pose by sitting on a yoga block, but a folded blanket could work, too. Again, hold this intense stretch for as long as comfortable, doing multiple rounds of the pose when my feet need some extra stretching.
How often do you stretch your feet?
What do you do to take care of your feet?