You’ve all heard me complain about lack of flexibility in my shoulders, spin, hips, and what not. Well, let me add another — ankles and feet. It’s curious how problems with one area can ripple through the body and affect the whole yoga practice.
And it’s more important than you might think. For instance, when I sit in Hero pose Virasana, all my weight bears down on two points on each limb, the top of my ankle and my knee. The load is not spread along the length of my shin and the whole foot. For that matter, my butt does not reach the floor because there’s a lot of flesh above and below my knees so I stay up pretty high, instead of my butt sitting on the floor. That makes it really uncomfortable to sit for extended time in Hero’s pose — so rule out kneeling for meditation.
Another surprising consequence is that it makes it really hard to balance in Tree pose Vrikshasana (standing on one leg) — or an other one-footed pose, for that matter. My ankle is rigid (one solid block of calcium?) and that means that the micro-adjustments required in balancing are not made — so I try to do them elsewhere, with much less success.
It’s the whole foot from the ankle down to the toes that is extremely stiff. Even my toes don’t seem to have much range of movement. Fortunately for me, my feet are slowly responding.