Basic Foot Series

This is a copy of a post you can find on my ski-specific blog Snow Deva… I figured I would share it here as well as it lends itself to a variety of interesting conversations!
This is based on work I have done with Sara Azarius from Yoga on Centre – she is a wonderful resource and is an amazing yoga instructor.
I presented an abbreviated version of this work at the final 2010-2011 Winter Diva’s Wednesday. It is wonderful to treat your feet after having them in a pair of ski boots… or any other restrictive footwear all day 🙂

Let me also take a second to thank my wonderful sister Kimm Viebrock who is not only the model but took the time to type up the handwritten notes I scrawled for her to follow 🙂
Enjoy! Let me know if you have questions or comments.
Namaste!
Kjerstin Klein

Basic Foot Series
This series is designed to open up the joints and stretch the muscles of the lower leg and foot.  This is a critical component of re-adjusting after being in ski boots or other footwear that is rough on the feet.  It will also help to build the muscle of the lower leg and feet while improving resilience in order to absorb impact and support the rest of your body effectively.

Retraining and Building Awareness in the Lower Leg and Foot

Start by standing with feet together.

Re-position heels so that outside edges of feet are parallel.

Lift toes while pressing ball of the foot behind the big toe and also behind the small toes into the floor. Work at spreading all toes wide and lifting the arch from the bottom of the foot rather than from the top of the foot. This means do not use your ankle to move your arch further from the floor – it means use the muscles of your foot to actually contract your arch lifting it from the floor.


Opening the Ankle with Lateral Movement





Widen stance to beyond shoulder width, keeping outside edges of feet parallel. Ankles will be bent to accommodate stance.

Rotate onto inside edges of feet to straighten ankle.
With ankle straightened, begin working to flatten outside of foot back toward the floor.
Keeping all other elements in place, lift the big toe.
Keep stretching toes outward while lifting big toe and lifting arch from beneath the foot. This means do not use your ankle to move your arch further from the floor – it means use the muscles of your foot to actually contract your arch lifting it from the floor.
Opening the Knee with Flexion




Place a cushion on the floor and kneel on the cushion. Prior to settling all the way to a sitting kneel, adjust the knees upward and place a rolled up blanket or yoga mat as far into the bend of the knees as possible. Settle back into a sitting position as far as possible, using a yoga block for support where needed.  To ‘adjust knees upward’ simply reach below your knee cap and draw the skin of the knee back towards you – this will help to relieve some of the tension on the knee making the position more comfortable.

Repeat, moving the blanket/mat to mid-calf .
Repeat again, moving the blanket to where the calf muscle ends just above the ankle.


Opening the Ankle with Flexion

Hold onto a door for bracing and place the foot flat upon the door, bending knees and body as needed to make this possible.

Continuing to brace against the door, slide the foot slowly downward until the heel touches the floor (The white paper you see is because she kept sticking to the door – we needed to create a surface she could slide on to move her foot :).

Begin re-positioning body to a vertical position close to the door, allowing heel to move outward.

Continue re-positioning the body and the foot until foot is flat on the floor with only the toes still in vertical position against the door.

Opening the Big Toe Joint with Traction



Begin toe traction by placing the weight of the heel of one foot onto the large toe of the other foot. Shift the body weight to the balls of both feet, allowing the back foot to raise the heel while keeping the big toe in place.

Bring the heel of the rear foot down and back while keeping the large toe in place with the weight of the front foot. As the rear foot is lowered, it will be stretched slightly with that tension.

Opening the Forefoot, Aligning the Big Toe

Sit on a chair with heels approximately a yoga block-width apart while angling toes towards one another (pigeon toed). Slide a yoga block between your feet and loop a yoga strap around the big toes, bringing it snug. Slide the yoga block slightly forward into place with the front edge ending at the big toe joint. Narrow the heels so the entire length of your foot makes contact with the block introducing some tension at the toes.  Stand up from chair if possible.

Stretching Muscles, Tendons and Fascia From Ankle to Toes

Wrap or tie a yoga strap snugly around the ankles, then gently lower into a kneeling position on a cushion. Before settling, adjust knees upward then sit on heels with toes forward, flat on the floor.  To ‘adjust knees upward’ simply reach below your knee cap and draw the skin of the knee back towards you – this will help to relieve some of the tension on the knee making the position more comfortable.

Repeat with feet and toes pointing directly backward so that the tops of the feet are on the floor. Support body weight with hands as necessary.

Stretching the Muscles, Tendons and Fascia of the Lower Leg with Extension

Kneel on a blanket on the floor, manually re-positioning calf muscles outward and adjusting knees upward, then settle down into a sitting position between the legs, with feet pointing directly backward. Tops of the the feet will be on the floor. Have a rolled up blanket and/or yoga mat (or two) positioned lengthwise directly behind along with a yoga block positioned for a headrest.

Lie backward onto the blanket, using a yoga block for a headrest if needed, allowing the upper legs to stretch and the chest to open up.

REST

Rest and assimilate all of the previous work in Savasana with a rolled up blanket supporting the knees and another rolled up blanket as a headrest.

It may be difficult to achieve benefit from these poses without knowledgeable help.  Please feel free to contact me at any time should you require clarification.  Please do not attempt any of these poses if they cause pain in anyway, As always, use common sense, this post, and all others on this site are not meant as medical advice.

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