Toe Squat

Benefits:
  • Open toes and feet and strengthens ankles [1]
  • Stimulates all six lines of the lower body meridians (which begin or end in the toes)

Contra-indications:
  • Sitting on the heels may strain the knees.
  • If ankles or toe joints are very tight, don't stay here long.

Getting Into the Pose:
  • Begin by sitting on your heels with the feet together. Tuck the toes under and try to be on the balls of the feet, not the tippy-toes. Reach down and tuck the little toes under.

Alternatives & Options:
  • If the pose becomes too challenging, stand up on the knees, relieving most of the pressure on the toe joints. When you feel you can handle it again, sit back down on the heels.
  • Don't stay if in pain!
  • You can combine this posture with shoulder exercises like Eagle arms or Cow Face arms.
  • If the knees are uncomfortable, place a blanket under them or a cushion between the hips and heels. You may enjoy a rolled-up towel behind the knees, which helps to release the knee joint.

Coming Out of the Pose:
  • This one can be quite juicy, so come out slowly, enjoying every single minute! Lean forward onto your hands, lift your hips forward, and release your feet. Point the feet backwards and sit on your heels again. Sigh!

Counter poses:
  • Ankle Stretch or Child's Pose, or any pose that opens the ankles, such as Saddle.

Meridians & Organs Affected:
  • All the meridians of the lower body get stimulated through the compression in the toes.
  • The front of the ankle also becomes compressed helping to open the Spleen, Liver, Stomach, and Gall Bladder lines.

Joints Affected:
  • Toes and ankles.

Recommended Hold Times:
  • Two to three minutes.

Similar Yang Asanas:
  • Seiza or Vajrasana, but with the toes tucked under.

Other Notes:
  • This pose can become quite intense for most people fairly quickly. Monitor the level of intensity. It is better not to stay in the pose if you are in pain.
  • If doing shoulder work while holding the pose, take a break between sides. Do an Ankle Stretch, and then come back into Toe Stretch and resume the shoulder work on the other side.



1 -- Our feet are the furthest things from our minds, literally! Most of us imprison our toes all day long in dead animal skins, and then when we are in our 70s and 80s our toes stop working and we fall down. Open your toes now! There is an old Daoist saying; "A man with open toes has an open mind." This applies to women, too, so open your mind by opening your toes.


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