The way we use our ankles affects the alignment of our knees and hips and other joints.
In fact, the feet and legs are considered to be the “organs of action” for the hips, lower back, digestive system and reproductive organs.
In each foot there are 28 bones and 35 joints that collectively make up the ankle joint complex. Together they work to withstand the incredible amount of stress placed on them as we move, to navigate uneven ground and retain the flexibility we need to absorb shock and propel us forward when we walk.
Stability of the ankle comes from the activation of the calf and ankle muscles. This activation squeezes the tibia and fibula (the two shin bones) together around the ankle bone (talus) making balancing poses more stable and therefore more accessible.
We can increase ankle stability by:
- Lifting the arches of the feet
- Spreading and lifting the toes
- Using the toes to grip the floor
As the axis of the foot runs roughly parallel to the outer edge of the foot, yoga poses can be aligned most effectively when the outer edge of the foot is lined up with the direction of the force of the body. This will increase ankle stability and ensure that the transmission of force down the body and into the foot is most effective.
Working consciously with the ankle confers several advantages, particularly with regards to strength and stability. It ensures the foot and ankle are able to respond to unstable conditions and therefore minimizes the risk of sprain. It also creates a stable base of support, which makes standing balancing poses (especially those taken on one leg) easier.
Shades of Yoga is a yoga teacher training company running year-round yoga teacher training programs in Bali and Costa Rica.