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Yoga for Flat Feet: Simple Exercise to Improve Your Arch!

Updated on December 3, 2013

Extended Triangle Pose

Brings into balance the musculature of the legs, ankles, and feet.
Brings into balance the musculature of the legs, ankles, and feet.

Yoga As Medicine

Yup. Yoga has come into the spotlight for many of us, partly shrouded in mystery, but the consensus is in: Yoga heals. Why yoga has become so interesting, is mainly due to its community of followers worldwide.

Yoga brings a universality to exercise anybody may appreciate. Yoga takes the hunched over, the stooped shoulders, and often as a result the over extended "turtle neck"-- Then gives back a body re-engineered. That which was once depressive and downtrodden, opens and blooms as the fullest extent of its anatomy has been utilized; Often times life experience well earned. Teaching us how to use our bodies effectively, Yoga makes you sexy!

Most of the fitness industry expects us to ignore the feet and stuff those important puppies in a shoes with arch supports and forget about them. Trainers are too busy working out biceps and aren't doing their clients a greater service, working out your feet, seriously. I mean, they're only our upright foundation.

But we've come back to the original topic: how can yoga REALLY improve my arch?

Reverse Warrior

Another pose that greatly involves the feet, for the traction of squaring the hips internally.
Another pose that greatly involves the feet, for the traction of squaring the hips internally. | Source

Foot Poll!

Will you try this, or maybe attend a yoga class?

See results

Pada Bandha: The Foot Lock and How it Can Help You

Yes, I apologize--

Discovering how our bodies work and respond to stimuli is not as easy as putting arch support in shoes. However, do you really want to wear shoes for the rest of your life? Do you want to be subject to the complications that come with flat feet?

Tendinitis, Shin splints, Hammer Toes, Knee and hip problems, etc.

All may result from flat feet.

As a personal trainer, yoga teacher, and Hand and Foot MELT instructor, I've seen more cases of flat feet get in the way (or maybe used as excuses) of beautiful goals of health and life overall. I see a great correlation in those that have flat feet, or the under use of the foot musculature, with plantar fasciitis and under exercising.

"Pada Bandha" or literally "foot lock" is the foundation of all standing postures. Activating the muscles of your feet in order to keep your arch buoyant and supported without the use of arch supports. Gradually building in muscles in your feet will result the gradual lift of the foot arch.

Basic instruction of Pada Bandha, I use this techniques with my clients to improve their overall fitness (Most exercise, in fact most of life, is done on the feet right?):

1. stand with the feet together, or as close as you can get them.

2. Spread out the toes, feel the feet, and how they support the legs.

3. Lift all ten toes, notice how the arch pulls up. You're activation the muscles used in Pada Bandha even with this simple exercise. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
-Try 10 repitions of 10 seconds each.

4. I know, its not that satisfying, But I promise you it will help. Imagine when you were a kid, playing barefoot in the grass, running down the street, playing barefoot. Its time to reclaim our right to walk barefoot without the stress and pain it gives. Think of our ancestors that walked across continents, bet they could crush rocks into sand with their feet.

-Eventually you will be able to release the toes and maintain the arch of the foot. Try try shifting the ankle more towards the outside edge of the foot in an attempt the lift the arch.

Use Pada Bandha all the time! This is the point, it becomes effortless and second nature in time.

Feet in Motion

Why Is Cultivating The Feet Important?

As a trainer, I always teach my clients looking to perform better in sports how to build up their feet in order to perform faster, harder and more efficiently. These are some the benefits I've observed first hand.

- Improving the musculature of the feet increases the performance of any sport(aside from video games).

-Decrease the likelihood of injury during sports (i.e. sprains ankles, injuries resulting from falls, etc), and reducing their severity.

- Increase balance, reducing percentage of falls in the elderly.

-Increased physical activity, cultivating healthy feet makes you want to go play on them!

-Increased confidence in the ability to be active, healthy, and social.

Expert Speaking About Foot Health

Experts on Feet

I found this video very informative on foot health, keep the feet in health and in motion is so imperative. Atrophied muscles and nerves etc may lead to severe diseases such as neuropathy.

Dr. Horowitz asserts that 100% of Americans will have foot problems by the age of 50.

Feet Play a HUGE Role in Fitness!


Yoga For YOUR Feet

So the important part here is the actual application of these exercises.

Integrate the foot exercises into your life, I know that its not particularly an easy thing to make yourself do. If you are serious about health and fitness, take your feet seriously.

Before you go into the gym to see your trainer, do some foot exercises outside.

Really awaken Pada Bandha before class, your balance and standing postures will thank you.

Understand that these simple exercises will be saving you a lot of trouble further into life.


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    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 4 years ago from United States

      Dustin J,

      I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Arthur Agatston, a preventive cardiologist and author of The South Beach Diet speak and one of the areas he felt we neglected was the ankle. Our feet, our ankles are all too often forgotten or taken for granted. I have a former client who is now a wonderful who fights with foot problems, I will send this over to her and share on Facebook. What a tremendous insight you offer. Looking forward to reading more.

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing Pada Bandha - I am thinking of SUP (stand up paddle board) yoga, which is very popular here in Hawaii. I've done SUP a few times and found my core and my feet worked the hardest and that's just to stay upright and afloat.

    • LupitaRonquillo profile image

      LupitaRonquillo 4 years ago

      Your article on yoga was fresh and unique. I agree, yes you can "re-engineer" your body and your feet! I learned a few things here with the importance of Pada Bandha, thank you. Nice reverse warrior pose!