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Ankles Stretch Asana- Practice, Benefits and Contraindications

Common Name(s)Ankles Stretch Pose
MeridiansStomach, Liver, Spleen and Gall bladder
ChakrasMuldhara, Sacral Chakra, Manipura 
ElementsEarth, Water, Fire

Ankles stretch asana can be considered as a variant of the Vajrasana. In Vajrasana, you sit on folded legs with the calves of the legs under the back of thighs of same leg. Also, the knees are folded and ankles are stretched back with bottom of feet facing upwards. 

In the Ankles stretch posture, while keeping in Vajrasana, the knees are lifted up from the ground with the support of hands. This is a deeper version of the Vajrasana. 

The meridians of the body which are affected by this pose are stomach, liver, spleen and gall bladder. The single most important joint affected by this pose is that of the ankles. 

Contraindications or Precautions

1/3. If you are not able to get into the right posture due to some of the reasons given below, you can do this gradually or with the support of some of the props, bolsters or cushioning supports. Check out some of the precautions for doing this asana-

2/3. People with knee problem are advised not to do this pose without support of some cushion. This can be used to help with the knee or be placed between thighs and calves. You just need to check where you are facing the problem and then use the cushioning support there, if that helps.

3/3. If there is a sharp pain in the ankles, it is better not to go ahead with it and you shall immediately back off this posture. 

Getting into the Posture

1/2. You can begin by either sitting in the Vajrasana or sitting on your heels with the feet touching the ground. 

2/2. If you are in Vajrasana, shift the weight of body on ankles and lift your knees up with support of hands. There will be some compression in stomach in beginning. After lifting the knees, simply come out compression and feel the stretch. However, if sitting on with the heels down in squat position, you just have to fold the ankle inwards one by one, holding your knees with hands and rest the hip on the folded ankle.

Optional alternative arrangements

1. You can also do this pose sitting with the rest of your hands and arching backward as it is in case of a back-bend exercise.

2. Keep your chest open and thrust it high with your body arch.

3. Remain aware of collapsing backward, which must be prevented at any cost.

4. Try to bring your hands beside your legs gradually and slowly.

5. Always try not to lean away from your knees.

6. Now, try holding your knees gently pulling them towards your chest so as to allow your ankles to stretch.

Coming out of the Pose

1. When you feel backing off, try leaning forward on your knees with your hands on the floor beside your knees. 

2. Gradually step one foot at a time and step-out slowly to a push-up position.

3. This act neutralises the stretch on the ankles and helps you to come back to the normal.

4. Chaturanga/ Pushup/ Plank/ Crocodile/ Squatting – all these are considered counter to the Ankle stretch, which makes your legs straight and tucks your toes in.

Which part and organs of the body are affected?

With this ankle stretch asana the gull bladder, spleen, stomach and liver gets a strong stimulation. The posture activates the feel and legs meridians.

Recommended stretch of time

Ideally this asana should be practices for about one minute at the beginning.

Benefits of Ankle Stretch Posture

Ankles stretch pose has its own benefits for the body. It also plays a part in providing health benefits to the body. Some of its key benefits are given below-

1/5. This opens up and strengthens the ankles. The four meridians flowing through the ankles are stimulated.

2/5. This is a good counter-pose for squatting exercises as it involved movement of ankles in opposite direction.

3/5. Improves the balance and endurance levels of the ankles, feet and entire leg. 

4/5. It helps in maintaining improved blood circulation through the muscles around ankles. 

5/5. This also helps in reducing the risk of injuries which often happen due to overuse of joints or muscles repeatedly same or similar situations over a prolonged period of time. Ankles are one such joints which constantly bear the weight of the person while standing, walking or running.

Some other benefits…

This is a relaxing pose as considered an effective counter-pose for sitting meditation, toe squat and others where there is a stretch of feet. This neutralises the effects of stretch and simultaneously stimulates your digestive system as well.

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