Yes feet. Let’s go with the strange, yet obvious one…. We all know paddling can take its toll on our muscle groups. Arms, shoulders, thighs, back muscles. However most of my SUP Yoga students complain of their feet. Let’s face it our toes get numb, our heels get achey from standing, but our ankles begin to hurt if we sit for too long trying to avoid the heel aches. In fact as a group SUP Yogis end up spending a lot of time standing on their heads or hands to relieve their feet of this petulant ache (or that’s our excuse anyway).
My advice…. Try these 4 maneuvers to warm your feet up before you hop on your board, or practice them on the water to loosen up your feet and ankles during a longer paddle.
1.Rocking from toes to heels 15 times to open the fascia on the bottom of your feet is a great start, and you can do it while chatting to your paddle buddies without looking too crazy! Try rotating the ankles 10 times in each direction too.
2. Next stand with your feet hips width or closer, bend your knees making sure you can still see your toes in front of your knees. Stand on your toes and squeeze your ankles towards each other. Yes, the crazy barometer just went up a little and your new friends will think you are trying to poop on the beach, but who will be laughing when your feet and ankles are less achey then theirs?! *Bonus: In yoga this is “Chair Pose.” It also warms up your quads and core for your paddle. Keep your tummy tucked to encourage engagement and spinal support, and swing your arms slowly from front to back to warm up your shoulders.
3. Sit on your heels in a “Japanese Seat” and lean back on your hands or forearms, depending on how open your quadriceps are. (If your knees get shooting pains here then back out carefully.) Taking your weight in your arms, slowly lift your knees off the ground to open the tendons in the front of your ankles. *Bonus: In SUP Yoga this is a variation on “Fish” “Hero” or “Saddle Pose.” You can also try lifting your chest and dropping your head back to stretch the chest and shoulder muscles out- yummy!’
4. Now come to your hands and knees, tuck all ten toes under (tricky but worth it). Press your hands into the floor and rock your seat back onto your heels to open the bottom of your feet. This one feels super good half way through your paddle too.
There you go, your feet are all warmed up and ready to paddle the world. Or just the lake in front of you…. Enjoy your happy feet as your cruise along the water!