Because we put a lot of pressure on our knees when we run or play sports, knee pain and knee surgery are common. Learning how to use pada bandha, or arch lift, in yoga as well as throughout the day can help us prevent and reduce pain in our knees as well as other parts of the body.
Keep these tips in mind to help train your arches to become high and strong for healthier feet, knees, and spine.
With so many different styles of shoes to choose from, it can sometimes feel overwhelming when choosing the right ones for your feet.
Many of us buy shoes that provide little to no support and offer little space for our feet to breath. Shoes with extra gel or air that are made to provide you with extra padding can end up creating muscular imbalances that can lead to knee injuries.
In order to support the weight of our bodies, it’s important to bring our attention to our arch. When you maintain your arches high and strong, you create support for your knees.
By activating the arch lift in our feet we can build on any yoga practice and create stability in most standing poses.
Lift your toes – Begin in Mountain pose with your feet parallel to each other, hip distance apart. Lift your toes and keep them up in the air for a few minutes. You should feel your inner arches lift. Release and repeat this a few more times.
Stretch the calves and ankles – In Downward-Facing Dog, bend one knee at a time in order to stretch your calves and arches.
Root the outer edge of your foot – In yoga poses where the back foot is at a 45-degree angle, press firmly into the outer edge of your foot. This will help activate your inner arches and straighten your leg; this will help to activate the muscles around the knee.
Activate the feet when they are in the air – Inversions such as Warrior III pose and Half-Moon pose require you to point the balls of the feet or lift your foot away from your body. This helps to keep the arches active and healthy alignment in your spine.
Practice standing on one leg – While practicing any pose on one leg, do not lock the knee. Instead, activate the muscles around the knee by lifting the kneecaps. This movement that you experience helps to strengthen the muscles in the foot, arches, and the knee.
Floint the feet in your seated forward folds – Floint means you pull the toes toward you while pressing the ball of the foot away from you. Top it off by activating the quads to help protect the knee and release the hamstrings.
Spend more time barefoot – Try to walk barefoot at home and focus on activating your arches. Spending more time barefoot, or with comfortable shoes is also beneficial.