Heal the Heel with Yoga!

Get Head over Heels!

PLANTAR FACIITIS: Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, is the inflammation and tearing of the fascia, a ligament on the bottom of the foot. It is classically known as causing pain at the inside of the heel at the first step in the morning. Plantar fascitis is caused by abnormal foot mechanics in combination with poor quality shoes and overuse.

Face it! It is so heart breaking to give up on your favourite stilettos on the most happening Night out of the month, and equally tormenting to cut short on the most invigorating, thrilling and refreshing morning jog or nature's trail, just because you have the most annoying foot ache or is it a Heel pain?! Whatever! You'd rather give up running around office or chasing the kids through the day!

Heel pain, whether caused by Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs or other types affect 60% of individuals in the entire lifetime. Along the bottom of your foot is a thick tissue called the "Plantar Fascia".  When it becomes inflamed due to overuse or walking on uneven grounds especially in old shoes, then it becomes inflamed. This problem can keep you off the trail for days, weeks or months.

There are several ways to alleviate this pain that are offered globally, but one great way is to learn how to (create healing) for yourself by knowing what to do with your body. The historic mental discipline known as yoga has become an extremely popular form of exercise today when it comes to self-healing. Find out what yoga has to offer for the heels.

Sri Sri Yoga, a simple and crisp Yoga regime taught in the Art of Living is not only a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind, but it also serves as a more efficient form of exercise. Unlike aerobic exercises that are more high impact and hard on the body, the simple and impactful yoga asana taught in Sri Sri Yoga course can actually heal your body. And if you suffer from heel pain, chances are it can relieve that too. You will actually be alarmed at how such simple looking poses can really be so effective in providing that desperately needed relief to the feet.

Another reason many people choose to turn to yoga for relief from their heel pain is because traditional remedies do not work for them. This is often the case with many women. In many instances, their heel pain is a result of the shoes they wear. Doing away with their fashionable footwear or using inserts in stilettos is never an option for them; hence they turn to yoga as a better option and experience relief.

Also, these yoga stretches can still be performed at a time of convenience in the comfort of your own home. Yoga foot exercises help the calf muscles and Achilles tendon to remain lose and relaxed and also help strengthen weaker muscles of the feet. The yoga asanas focus on releasing energy in the joints of the feet in an effort to release stress and toxins from the feet. They are safe and effective and can help relieve your heel pain.

Some of the Asanas that can help heal the heel are:

*Adho mukha Svanasana – Downward Dog pose

  • Come onto your fours. Form a table such that your back forms the table top and your hands and feet form the legs of the table.

  • As you breathe out lift the hips up, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body. 

  • Hands are shoulder width apart; feet are hip width apart and parallel to each other. Toes point straight ahead.

  • Press your hands into the ground. Widen through the shoulder blades. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms.

  • Hold the downward dog pose and take long deep breaths. Look towards the navel.

  • Exhale. Bend the knees, return to table pose. Relax

Did you know?

The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most amounts of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the rear foot, especially while standing or walking.

*Utkatasana – Chair pose

  • Stand erect with your feet slightly apart.

  • Stretch your hands to the front with palms facing downwards. Do not bend your elbows.

  • Bend the knees and gently push your pelvis down as if you are sitting in an imaginary chair.

  • Be comfortable or at least try to be! To get a better feel of the Chair Pose, imagine reading a newspaper or typing on a laptop as you remain seated.

  • Ensure that you keep your hands parallel to the ground.

  • With awareness, sit straight and lengthen your spine. Relax.Keep breathing and flip through the pages of the newspaper, enjoying national and international news.

  • Sink deeper into the chair by gradually going down but ensure that your knees don't go beyond your toes.

  • Keep going down slowly and then sit down in Sukhasana (cross-legged posture). If you want, you may lie down on your back and relax.

*Vajrasana – Thunderbolt pose

  • Kneel down with your knees touching each other.

  • Sit in the cavity formed by your feet. Do not sit on the heels.

  • Place your hands on your thighs with palms facing upwards. Keep your spine erect and head straight.

Apart from these, Bandhakonasana (Butterfly Pose), Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and Virbhadrasana (warrior pose) are a few more poses which are beneficial in strengthening foot muscles.

You could also try the following home remedies to help you ease the pain:

1.Tennis Ball wonder:

Roll a tennis ball under you foot daily. This stretches the fascia and can help the scar tissue line up correctly.

2. Stretch to a stronger you!

At the beginning and end of the day, take the time to stretch out your calf muscles. Hold stretch for about 30 seconds but don't hold your breath. Breath is vital to the healing process.

3. Happy Feet:

Assess your shoes to determine if you need to change your footwear. No bare feet!

4. Ayurveda and Yoga go hand in hand:

Lastly, don't forget that yoga exercises will benefit anyone that may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. In addition to your yoga routine, ayurveda can be a great supplement to the treatment methods. Ayurveda has come a long way since its inception and off lately it you have seen ayurveda centres mushrooming all over. So now that you know how, Happy Healing!

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Sri Sri Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher. Find a Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us at info@srisriyoga.in.

Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,The Art of Living is an educational and humanitarian movement engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. Mehr