Plantar Flexion and Tight Hamstrings

Plantar Flexion and Tight Hamstrings

shapeimage_1Patience with self. How many times I use this as an intention in my classes, how very seldom I am finding I practice it outside of the class. I accepted from the onset of my injury that it was going to be a practice of patience and acceptance. I just did not know it was going to take so long!  LOL  The simplest of tasks took so much more energy as I hobble around balanced on one leg. The right side of my body  having to do twice as much work not to mention these arms of mine were getting a daily work out.

I had an Aha moment, I know another one. I was so focused on the end result of doing again,of being healed, that I was overlooking the process of healing. Healing is a process and if I rush or ignore my body by pushing to hard, I risk a set back.

How many times do we in our yoga practice have our eyes set on the end result that we miss that little voice in the hamstring that says, “too much” while pushing thru a forward fold, or that message from the body saying back out of the pose.

It is often an injury that forces us to step back, to be more mindful. So there I was in the midst of an injury, plenty of time and reason to slow down. What is that voice in my head that keeps telling me I need to get up, because obviously the body is sending a very different message.

I recognized that I have a habitual tendency to plantar flex my foot, so I set out to research this little new awareness. Often people who present with plantar flexion typically have tight hamstrings. The tightness in the hamstrings causes the knee to flex which then shifts the weight forward on to the ball of the foot as opposed to rooting down thru the heal of the foot.

Runners and sprinters get great power in their running as they push off thru a plantar flexion of the foot to propel them forward. I am more grounded then when I began yoga but yet I am still inclined to push away and find I even do it at rest.

So today as you move toward the mat, bring your awareness to your feet. Shift the weight back into your heals as you root down grounding into the earth. As you stand in Tadasana, feel the breath move thru you, the inhale moves the energy from the earth up and the exhale releases down into the earth. Feel the duality of the extension as you ground down, the head rises up into the clouds and the feet down into the earth.
Notice the differences between the left and the right and Maintain that connection to the earth thru the heal of the foot. Sense if your tendency is to lean forward onto the ball of the foot or are you able to root down thru the heal as you find a strong solid connection. The more connected we are to the earth, rooting down, not propping or collapsing, you are better able to feel that rebound of energy up thru the spine. Maintain that connection to the earth as we move thru our standing practice today. Shift the awareness initially to your foundation and then allow the awareness to move through the body as your release any tension giving way to ease and stillness.

As you prepare to leave class today did you notice if your tendency was to shift the weight forward into the ball of the foot rather then thru the heal. Remember that this tendency is reflective of tight hamstrings. The origin of the word hamstring come from the word hamstrung which means to have been held back. Where in your life are you holding back. The hamstrings are not a muscle we want to force to lengthen and it takes time. Knowing this, be patient with yourself as your explore ways in which you can begin to move forward safely and comfortable not push and run away like a sprinter at the starting gate.

Stop running and step into a wonderful world of sensation and a sensational you!

See you on the mat!

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