Shoelace Pose and sickle the foot

Check this forum for suggestions on Yin Yoga flows, sequences and postures, as well as HOW to practice Yin Yoga.
Post Reply
dave
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:12 am

Shoelace Pose and sickle the foot

Post by dave »

I was at a Yin class recently and we did Shoelace pose. On my upper leg I noticed my foot was sickled. Go to this link http://www.yogadancer.com/Pattra/Padmasana.shtml#Full first picture to see this. That is a picture of a different pose but my foot was bent in that same way. I engaged the muscles in my leg to straighten this alignment. But this was Yin so when I would relax the muscles the foot would sickle.

I have learned to 'never, ever sickle the foot' just like the link. I asked the teacher and she said straighten the foot so we went through this again and never did resolve the issue.

It didn't seem to put pressure on my knee and didn't seem to be an issue. Is there instructions for dealing with this in Yin?
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Sickling the foot in Shoelace Pose

Post by Bernie »

Hi Dave

You are not alone in thinking that “the foot must never sickle” in a yoga pose, but the term “sickle” has a negative connotation, just from its sound. It sounds sick! So, don’t sickle. More properly it is called supination: so, is supination bad? Should we, must we never supinate? Well, look at this version of Butterfly (Baddhakonasana)—notice how the feet are deliberately sickled/supinated. Notice this advanced pose called Kandasasana by Iyengar: his feet are sickled. Why is okay to sickle the foot in these poses but not in others?

The answer is aesthetics. It just looks bad. And, because it looks bad, don’t ever do it. If you take a functional approach to yoga, and acknowledge the reality of human variation, you will find that what a pose looks like is irrelevant. What is important is what the pose feels like. (See this article for more on this topic.) Does it hurt your foot, ankle or knees when you supinate your foot in Shoelace? If not, why worry about it? The foot is made to supinate: if you never allow that movement, you may eventually lose the ability to do that movement. If supinating the foot in that pose does cause problems, then, for you, it is not a good idea, but this doesn’t mean it is bad for everyone!

In my recent book, Your Body, Your Yoga I talk about this is more depth (see pages 243-245.) I hope this helps.

Cheers
Bernie
dave
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:12 am

Post by dave »

I learned this alignment to be cautious of side bending pressures on the knee. So this is good information.

I also had a stuck ankle one time from an accident. Stuck at 90 degrees with very little movement in any direction. Now, after many years it is better than before the accident. Incidentally the surgeon and PT told me this would be impossible to ever have full range of movement again. I didn't have surgery and only went to the PT twice.

I never noticed sickle as 'sick' before. I always associated a sickle with the grim reaper. A much better connotation! :D
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

If you feel pressure in the knee, then - yes, be careful. But supinating the foot will not automatically create pressure there. Perhaps, today being Halloween, your Grim Reaper's sickle is a better metaphor than mine: certainly that would make me want to avoid sickling the foot, but honestly (starting tomorrow), you should be able to do that movement. Your foot is designed to do that movement!

I am glad that you persevered even when your doctor said you would never get your range of motion back. Never is never right, as Paul Grilley likes to say.
Post Reply