Oh, the beloved Toe Squat....
If you know my classes, you know I love a good Toe Squat pose. If you know Toe Squat, you most likely have a love-hate relationship with this posture. The physical sensation is deep, and so are the benefits.
The plantar fascia is a long, thin connective tissue that lies beneath the skin on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel to the front of your foot, and also supports the arch of your foot. Toe Squats are all about stretching the fascia at the bottom of your feet.
Most of us imprison our toes all day long in shoes. The forceful impact of walking and running takes a toll on our feet. When we approach our 70's and 80's, our toes stop working well and we have an increased risk for falling. Let's keep our feet and toes healthy to support our every day functioning now and across the lifespan.
There is a Daoist saying that shares, " A person with open toes has an open mind."
Let's open our toes:
Opens your toes, opens your feet, strengthens your ankles.
Sitting on your heels may strain your knees.
If your ankles or toes joints are very tight, stay here for only a short time.
Getting into the pose: Begin by sitting on your heels with your feet together. Tuck the toes under and try to be on the balls of the feet, not the tip toes. Use your hands to reach down and tuck your little toes under.
Modifications: Because we are stretching the connective tissues of our feet, this pose can become quite intense fairly quickly. Monitor your level of intensity. Breathe with the posture. In the end, you'll be thankful for the stretch.
Take a break! If the pose becomes too challenging, keep your toes tucked up and stand up on to knees, or lean forward onto your hands. When you feel you can come back into the pose, sit back down onto the heels.
If you are unable to sit onto your heels, then place a blanket, block, or another prop on top of your heels so you can sit onto something.
You may enjoy a rolled up towel behind the knees to help release the knee joint.
Recommended hold time:
Two to three minutes. Do for one minute if its your first couple of times and feel pain.
(It is okay to take those aforementioned breaks!)
Coming out of this pose:
This can be tricky! First, come out s l o w l y. Feel every single movement.
Lean forward onto your hands and slowly release your feet. Point your feet backwards now and sit onto your heels again to counter stretch by lengthening the fronts of your ankles.