FOOT FUNCTION AND YOGA

Many people use yoga and its postures (Asanas) as a form of physical exercise to improve balance, increase flexibility and relieve stress. A fully functioning foot is essential to perform the different weight-bearing postures with correct alignment, especially in the standing balance postures such as the ‘tree’ and ‘eagle’.

FF-YOGA-FOOT.png

A foot-shaped foot is structurally stable allowing a ‘quiet’ posture to be maintained during single leg poses, with minimal muscular effort.

FF_YOGA_SHOE.png

A shoe-shaped foot is structurally unstable, and balance during single-leg poses can only be maintained by extra muscular effort and compensatory movement in the hips.

RESTORING FOOT FUNCTION

Restoring foot function begins with restoring foot ‘form’ or shape. Just as the foot becomes shoe-shaped from wearing shoe-shaped shoes, the foot will become more foot-shaped by wearing foot-shaped shoes! The adaptation of the human body to the mechanical loads and stresses placed upon it is known as ‘Wolff’s law’ in biology.

The key ingredients to restoring foot function are daily exposure to GRAVITY and MOVEMENT (the forces that create anatomical adaptation), and FUNCTIONAL FOOTWEAR (providing the ‘space’ for anatomical adaptation).

References

Yu. SSY et al. The physical demands of the tree (Vriksasana) and one-leg balance (Utthita hasta Padangusthasana) poses performed by seniors: a biomechanical examination. Evidenced–Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012)

Wang MY. The biomechanical demands of standing yoga poses in seniors: The yoga empowers seniors study (YESS).

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013)

Hayes M & Chase S. Prescribing Yoga. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice (2010)

Horak FB & Mancini M. Objective biomarkers of balance and gait for Parkinson’s Disease using body-worn sensors. Movement Disorders (2013)

Zhang X et al. Foot muscle morphology is related to center of pressure sway and control mechanisms during single-leg standing. Gait and Posture (2017)