As a sports lover, you know that injuries come with the territory. You know that injuries, whether caused by repetitive motion, imbalances in your biomechanics or both, can be painful, frustrating, and limiting.
Yoga is a great tool for preventing injuries. Through a combination of active and passive stretching, yoga can be helpful in keeping you injury free.
In this article we will address one of the most common injuries for athletes – plantar fasciitis – and two simple ways to address it with yoga. Many sports injuries tend to be chronic so practice these poses preventively on the days you train or workout. If your injury is acute, rest until the inflammation subsides. When you are feeling better, practice these poses.
Reclined Leg Stretch
What it Does: Reclined Leg Stretch provides a safe stretch for the hamstrings and the tissue that runs along the back of the hip, thigh and calf, which tugs on the sole of the the foot when it gets tight.
How to Practice: Lie on your back, legs together. Strongly extend through the heels.
Keep the left leg tunneling into the ground as you bend the right knee and draw it into the chest. Place a strap around the arch of the right foot and hold the strap loosely in both hands.
Exhale and extend the right leg straight up. Walk your hands up the strap until the elbows are fully extended. Keep your neck relaxed and make sure you are not throwing your head back.
Lengthen the back of the leg between the buttock bone and heel. Try not to be overly enthusiastic about pulling your leg toward your chest. Instead, emphasize the grounding of your left leg as you draw your arms back into their sockets and lift your collarbones.
Stay for 30 thirty seconds to 1 minute breathing evenly. Slowly release. Repeat on the left side.
What it Does: This yoga inspired stretch relieves tension in the hips which limits the movement of leg muscles which in turn puts stress on the back of the legs and increases tension in the plantar fascia.
How to Practice:
Lie on your back, both knees bent. Bend the right knee and place the right ankle just above the left knee; flex the right foot. Reach your right hand through the “triangle” open space created by your right leg and interlace the fingers of the right hand with the fingers of the left that is reaching around the outside of the left thigh.
Keep the hips, spine, and head on the floor. Relax your neck. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat on the other side.