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Yoga To Treat Achilles Tendonitis: Yoga for Achilles Tendonitis

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Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans

Overview

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Yoga To Treat Achilles Tendonitis: Yoga for Achilles Tendonitis: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions

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  • Corpse Pose Variation Chair (Savasana Variation Chair)
    Starting with Supine Poses to slowly open the hips and the core.

    A. Begin to lie down on your back, on the floor, while bending the knees to relax the spine completely.

    B. Then placing a chair close to you, raise the legs and place them on the chair while flexing the knees and the hips.

    C. Rest here in Savasana Variation Chair for about 8 breaths while making sure the abdominal breathing is kept in mind.

    D. If required one could place a cushion below the back for better support for the hips and the back.

    E. Breath slowly and deeply and feel the flow of blood going in the opposite direction.

    F. Practicing this pose throughout the day will be useful and even with the cast it can be done for better blood circulation.
  • Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose (Anantasana)
    A. Releasing from Savasana, keep aside the chair and come to lie on your sides.

    B. Moving slowly bring the entire body towards the left side, while placing the left elbow in the floor and supporting the head on the left palm in Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose.

    C. Coming here in Anantasana, bring the legs one upon the other and take a breath to settle, balancing your body. Then inhale and raise the right leg up and down in a dynamic way for about 8 times.

    D. Watch for the stretch at the hips and the inner thighs while the entire leg is moving up and down.

    Make sure the flexing is done slowly at the foot and toes, without causing too much pain to the tendons at the ankles.

  • Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose (Anantasana)
    VARIATION

    A. While still lying down in Anantasana, inhale and place the right foot bending at the knees, in front of your chest while holding it with your right hand.

    B. The right foot is placed firm on the floor close to your abdomen and chest in front of you while you should place the arm inside the bent leg for better support.

    C. Make sure the other leg still remains stretched out in Anantasana.

    D. Stay here for about 5 breaths and feet the stretch at the thighs, calves, and foot.

    The stretching and flexing of the entire leg here keeps the rest of the muscles and the deeper tendons active and strong giving the Achilles tendons the best support for healing faster.
  • Repeat Other Side
    Repeat the poses mentioned above with the other side while following the instructions give in cues 2 & 3.

  • Easy Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose (Sahaja Anantasana)
    A. After the practice of both Anantasana and the variation, release and relax taking a few breaths.

    B. Inhale and while lying down on your left side, raise both the legs to about 30 degrees off the floor feeling the use of abdomen muscles here.

    C. Inhale and go up and down the dynamic way with the movement of both the legs while still maintaining the balance of the body.

    D. Continue this for about 8 times making sure the flexing does not bring further pain and uneasiness.

    Awareness of the body along with the breath will help one recover and heal faster and better. The using of the abdominal muscles here will help keeping the lower back and the hip joint strong to support the entire leg with the tendon injury.
  • Easy Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose (Sahaja Anantasana)
    VARIATION

    A. While releasing the practice of taking the legs up and down in a dynamic way, relax placing the legs down for a few breaths.

    B. Inhale and bring the left leg bending at the knee and place the left thigh on the floor in front of you to relax.

    C. Inhale and start moving the right leg while stretched up and down in a dynamic fashion for about 8 times using the core muscles again.

    D. Maintain the balance and watch for the slight stretch at the toes and the ankles while going up and down the dynamic way.

    E. A deeper stretch will also be felt at the inner thigh muscles which is what we are working at, in this variation of Vishnuasana.

  • Repeat Other Side
    Repeat the above poses with the other leg and follow the instruction given in cues 5 & 6.
  • Plough Pose (Halasana)
    VARIATION AND MODIFICATION OF HALASANA

    A. Release from Vishnuasana and come to lie down on your back in Savasana while the legs are bent for a few breaths.

    B. Place a low chair / bench or few bolsters, behind you at the back of your head on the floor.

    C. Inhale and slowly raising the injured leg first half way over your hips and then slowly with the other leg, take both the legs behind you to go into Halasana Variation.

    D. Place the legs on the bench / bolsters behind you resting the toes completely and pushing the soles deeper with the stretch.

    E. Make sure the bench/ bolsters/ chair is at hip level as the extended legs behind should not go beyond the hips downwards. If the support behind is higher , then the stretch of the soles will not be felt.

    F. Remain here for about 5 breaths watching the movement of the legs and the toes, as the exhalation happens.

    G. Inhale and bend the legs to release and repeat it again making sure the stretch is deeper this time. Place the support behind in such a way that only the toes rest on them and not the shins or the entire leg.
  • Chair Flexing Foot Pose
    A. Moving from the supine poses, come to sit on a chair extending the spine and closing you eyes to relax.

    B. Inhale raise the left leg to about 40 degrees while placing the right foot still on the floor.

    C. Inhale and move the ankles of the left foot flexing the toes also, up and down while the leg still remains at 40 degrees.

    D. Move for about 10 times and then release to keep the foot in the air for about a few breaths feeling the stretch at the achilles tendon.

    E. Release the left leg and repeat the same with the right leg to go for about 10 times.

    F. The flexing of the ankle and the toes should be done carefully while avoiding it completely if the inflammation is still there.
  • Garland Pose Hands Forward (Malasana Hands Forward)
    VARIATION AND MODIFICATION OF MALASANA

    A. Release and stand in front of the chair.

    B. Holding the chair, inhale and exhale in a rhythmic fashion while going up and down towards the floor in Malasana.

    C. With feet wide apart, stand in front of the chair and as you exhale go down to sit on your feet. Repeat this the dynamic way and watch for the stretch at the calves and the ankles.

    D. Go for about 5 times in this movement. While coming down the entire foot should be placed on the floor while taking support of the chair in front of you.

    VARIATION
    If the tendon is healed completely, but you may want to keep the tendons flexible and active, then this pose can be done raising the foot and balancing on the toes as you go down, instead of the entire foot. The stretch at the ankles to the base of the spine is what should be felt while doing this variation.
  • Table Top Pose Variation Leg Raised (Bharmanasana Variation Leg Raised)
    A. Releasing from the practice of Malasana with modification, come to the centre of the mat, on all four.

    B. Placing the palms and the knees on the floor with proper alignment take a few breaths, while gazing forward.

    C. Inhale and raise the left leg up extending behind you while pointing the toes of the left foot downwards in Bharmanasana Variation or Table Top Pose variation.

    D. Feel the stretch of the hamstrings, calves and the hips in this pose of the extended leg. Stay here for about 5 breaths.

    E. To get better support you could place cushions below the knees and the palms, while the focus is towards the extended leg.

    F. Release and repeat if required. The non injured leg here should be given more attention, as the aim is to strength it more.

  • Tiger Pose (Vyaghrasana)
    A. Release from Bharmanasana and exhale to bend the left leg at the knee while pointing the leg and the foot upwards in Tiger Pose or Vyaghrasana.

    B. This pose could be difficult initially to practice, but if done slowly and carefully, has its own advantages and benefits.

    C. Holding the left leg upwards while the left thigh still remains parallel to the floor, the hips, the hamstrings get the maximum stretch.

    D. Stay here for about 5 breaths and support the knee and the palms with cushions if required. One could also place a support below the left thigh if required.

    E. Use the toes here, moving them in and out when in the pose. This will help take care of the numbness around the ankles.
  • Repeat Other Side
    Repeat the above poses following instructions given in the cues 11 & 12, with the other leg.
  • Plantar Fasciitis Healing With Ball
    A. Release from all four and come to sit again on the chair and relax taking a few breaths.

    B. Take a ball (tennis ball or a therapeutic ball) and place it below the right foot. Begin to roll the ball which moving the foot in a slow steady way.

    C. Using this ball and running your foot over it up and down for about 8 times will also help in keeping the Plantar Fasciitis away which can happen in runners.

    D. Seated comfortably on the chair run the foot on the ball. Release to repeat with the other foot.

    VARIATION
    This pose or this exercise can be done standing in front of the wall while resting both the feet on the balls, placed below the foot
    Going up and down on the balls will add additional strength to the achilles tendons of both the legs.

    THIS SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE GOING TO BED, TO AVOID STIFFNESS AND PAIN WHEN YOU WAKE UP.
  • Heel Raises Chair
    A. Stand to stan in front of the chair after the above practice with the tennis ball.

    B. Placing the hands on the chair, inhale and go up and down on your toes raising and extending the entire torso.

    C. Feel the stretch at the calves and at the soles while at the pose. Go up and down for about 10 times or more. The stretch at the soles of the feet will help in supporting the tendons and increase the blood circulation with the movement.

    VARIATION
    The other variation of the pose is to stand on the outer soles of the feet balancing on the last toe and then moving in a dynamic way in and out for about 10 to 20 times. One could do this one foot at a time.
    If doing this pose is difficult with the Cast, then it can be done with the non injured foot.

    THIS SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE GOING TO BED TO AVOID STIFFNESS AND PAIN WHEN YOU WAKE UP.
  • Extended Hands Upward Forward Fold (Utthita Hasta Ardha Uttanasana)
    A. From the Heel Raised Chair pose, come to stand in simple Tadasana taking a few breaths to relax the leg completely.

    B. Inhale and flexing the hips, take the torso forward stretching and extending the entire spine forward.

    C. While taking the torso forward, extend the arms out in front of you making sure the entire body is parallel to the floor.

    D. Here in Utthita Hasta Ardha Uttanasana, feel the stretch at the hips downwards right upto the ankles. Hold the pose for about 5 breaths.

    A great pose to keep the entire body stretched from the hips to the foot and the shoulders to the tip of the fingers.
  • Humble Flamingo Pose
    VARIATION

    A. From Extended Hands Upward Forward Fold pose, stand in front of the wall keeping 2 feet distance.

    B. Exhale and bend forward going into Uttanasana while resting the hands on the floor close to your feet.

    C. Inhale and raise the left foot bending at the knee and place it on the wall behind you, taking it at right angle to the wall and the floor.

    D. This pose being a slight variation and modification of the Humble Flamingo Pose, will give a deep stretch to the Achilles Tendon of the foot placed on the floor.

    E. Hold for about 4 breaths and making sure the support is comfortable and be steady with the posture.

    F. Make sure the foot on the wall is placed perpendicular to the floor. Release to repeat with the other leg.
  • Standing Leg Stretch Chair Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana Variation Chair)
    A. From the variation of Flamingo Pose, come to stand in front of the chair in Tadasana about 2 feet away taking a few breaths.

    B. Inhale raise the right leg and place it on the chair in front of you extending it completely.

    C. Exhale and bring the chest and the head forward reaching for the right knee in Ardha Hanumanasana Variation.

    D. Keeping the arms interlocked behind you for support or holding the chair for support is as per your comfort.

    E. Remain here holding the leg stretch out for about 5 breaths and feel the stretch at the hamstrings and the calves on the balancing leg.

    F. Release and repeat with the other leg.

    VARIATION AND MODIFICATION
    In this pose, the variation is while resting the leg on the chair, the other leg can bend at the knee and one can go the dynamic way up and down to feel a deeper stretch at ankles.
    8 times this can be done with each leg.
  • Airplane Pose (Dekasana)
    VARIATION AND MODIFICATION OF AIRPLANE POSE

    A. Stand in front of the wall or a chair.

    B. Inhale and raise the right leg and place it on the wall or the chair making sure the entire body is parallel to the floor.

    C. In this variation of Airplane pose, the leg that is down will get the stretch at the ankles while the leg on the wall or the chair will get the stretch at the hamstrings and the calves.

    D. Stay in this pose for about 5 breaths to release and come out and repeat with the other leg.

    E. For better control over the body you could place a chair in front of you to hold. The idea is not to learn to balance, but to build strength to both the legs with deep stretch.

    Alignment of the body here with the legs and the floor is very important to feel the right kind of stretch.
  • Open Heart Pose
    A. Open Heart Pose, when done with a trained partner gives an excellent stretch to the entire hips and the legs.

    B. Exhale and stretch forward looking up as this would help your partner take lesser of your body weight.

    C. Stretch to the maximum feeling the tightness around the Achilles Tendons which are injured.

    D. Stay here for about 4 breaths letting the entire body loose. Release to repeat again.
  • Open Heart Pose
    VARIATION AND MODIFICATION

    The other alternative here, is to take one foot forward in Open Heart Pose, and bend the knee to feel the stretch of the tendons of the back leg. Staying here again for about 4 breaths is good. Make sure the balance is firm and comfortable.
  • Legs Up The Wall Pose Bolster (Viparita Karani Bolster)
    Ending the sequence to completely come to relax in Legs Up the Wall Pose with Bolster support.

    SOME POINTS TO REMEMBER

    -The idea of the sequence is not just to target the injured leg/ ankle or just the injury.
    - Activating the muscles of the legs and the hips is a must and hence poses that may not actually bring stretch to the injured area will still heal the injury, keeping the rest of the muscles and the various tendons fit and strong while supporting the injured tendon.
    - These poses should be done in a very systematic way, first to open the hips while lying down and then in seated poses and finally ending with standing. This will build strength with a lot of confidence and acceptance.
    - Each pose should encourage the right kind of breathing to bring awareness and stay emotionally strong. Even if it is the injured leg that is in pain, the mind when calm helps the entire body to support the injury and hence healing would be faster.
    - Movement of the ankles should be done only if the doctors have agreed and suggested it, If in a cast the above poses would be far easier as there will be less impact on the injured tendon.
    - Making sure the above practice is done for almost 4 weeks or more and then slowly adding a lit more deep stretching standing poses for healing.
    - Recovery is based on the flexibility of the athlete and the condition of the injury. A good 4-6 weeks would be required. During this time working on the rest of the body is essential as this will help the athlete to get back soon to running or any other sport after completely being cured with the injury.


    IMPORTANT
    Sleeping with legs elevated while supporting the calves, is considered to help in healing as the blood circulation works better this way too. Moving the toes often would also help to keep the tissues and tendons around the injured areas active and strong.
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Note: Above yoga sequence is for educational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional and/or a licensed yoga teacher or yoga therapist before starting any exercise regime, including yoga.

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