I've been thinking lately how yoga changed my life. Not the obvious big stuff (change of profession for example), but the little details of everyday life. And since the running special continues, I naturally started thinking about how yoga affected my running.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A SOLID FOUNDATION
Solid foundation is the most important element of each yoga pose. Without it, all else just falls flat. Try to balance in something as simple as high lunge with floppy foundation. And, at the same time, try to be grounded. And expand upwards. And focus on your breath. Nope, it's not happening. Because all you can think about is how to avoid falling down in a big heap!
Every pose begins with a foundation and the most obvious one to start with is the feet. Remember tadasana? When you go to a yoga class, chances are you will hear an instruction calling for you to ground down through all the four corners of the feet.
It sounds confusing at first, separating your heel in two just doesn't make sense. But as soon as you get the hang of it, the magic unfolds and you start noticing all the subtle changes in your posture. In yoga, when running, on the tube, at work, everywhere you go.
FOUR CORNERS OF THE FEET
♥ the ball of the big toe
♥ the ball of the little toe
♥ the back of the inner heel
♥ the back of the outer heel
To get your foot properly grounded, it is important to press down evenly through all the four corners of the feet. How to make it work? Carry on reading or check out my video below!
First of all, spread your toes and place your foot on the ground. Press down through the ball of the big toe, then the ball of the little toe, the back of the inner heel and the back of the outer heel. As you are pressing down, at the same time, draw up energy from all the four corners up into the lower leg, firing up all the muscles.
What you want to feel is like a suction kind of sensation: as all the four corners are grounding into the floor, the arch is lifting, and the ankle feels really stable.
A quick way to check the correct alignment, and to see if all the four corners are grounding, is to look at your ankle. Correctly aligned ankle is centered directly above the heel, and in line with the knee and the hip.
If the ankle is rolling in, it will cause the knee to pull on the inside, the hip to jam into the pelvis, and the result is bow-shaped legs. It means that you need to ground more through the outer edge of the foot.
On the other hand, when the ankle is rolling outwards, ultimately causing O-shaped legs, that means you need to press down more through the inner edge of the foot.
If you experience any pain in your knee, your hips, even your shoulders, it's absolutely worth checking the posture of your feet. You'll be surprised!
Are you a runner? Do you pay attention to how your feet hit the ground? What happens to your feet when they fly through the air? Do they flop, or do you keep them engaged and strong? Even if you are not a runner, do you ever notice how you place your feet on the ground when you walk?
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