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Strengthen Your Ankles: Tree Pose

September 25, 2009
Some yogis in tree pose drawn by my good friend Michael Gigliotti.

Some yogis in tree pose drawn by my good friend Michael Gigliotti.

This post is for my brother, who NEEDS to strengthen his ankles from all the skateboarding he does.  First of all, everyone should be rotating their ankles, in both directions everyday.  Try making as big a circle as possible with your foot, pushing the limits of your flexibility.  You should feel a stretch as you move your ankle around.  Don’t get discouraged if you have very little mobility because it will get easier and your range of movement will increase if you continue to open up the joint.  Point you toe and stretch the front of your ankle, then flex your foot, stretching the Achilles tendon, and then move your foot from side to side.  Feel yourself opening up the joint.  After you have stretched the joint and loosened it up, its time to strengthen it.

Tree pose (Vrksasana) is an amazing, simple asana that improves your balance and strengthens all of the tendons of the ankle.  To come into tree pose, stand with your feet together and really stand up, stomach engaged, chest opening, shoulders on the back in a powerful, yoga type of standing that is called Mountain pose (tadasana).  Focus your gaze on one point to help steady your balance and begin to move your weight into one leg.  Pick up the other foot and place the sole of that foot on the inner thigh of the opposite leg.  If your foot doesn’t reach the inner thigh, you can place it below the knee, but be careful to avoid placing the foot against the knee which can be harmful.  Press down through the standing foot and feel the body lifting up through that grounded foot.  Maintain the uplift and openness of your chest that you established in tadasana.  Bring the hands into prayer position or try reaching them up, shoulder width, palms facing towards  each other.  Bring your attention to your ankles, and feel them getting stronger.  Do this pose on the both legs, and try holding for as long as you can.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucy permalink
    September 25, 2009 5:32 pm

    Amazing drawing! Amazing Blog! I love Tree pose

  2. October 18, 2009 12:56 pm

    Ankle flexibility is one of the first places I examine to assess whether I’m doing too much running and not enough yoga. Whenever I feel like tapping out of lotus pose in pain because it feels more like a mixed martial arts ankle lock that’s when I know that I need to spend more time on the mat. Thanks for the great instruction and fun drawing!

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