Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Peak Pose Yoga Sequence With Vajrasana: Yoga For Feet And Ankles
Students who don't work on their feet and ankles may not benefit from standing balancing poses. Feet and ankles that are strong help to create a sense of control over the entire body while building stability in the poses that focuses on the lower body.
The practice of simple seated poses where the flexing of the ankle joint is the primary focus should be done slowly especially when the weight of the body rests on these ankles. E.g Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose). Though this pose looks easy, at times putting pressure on the heels and the ankles without understanding or being aware of the body can lead to ligament damage at the ankles and even the knees. While this may be an easy pose, the question is how long one can stay in this posture?
In the given sequence, the focus is the practice of Vajrasana in a safe and smooth method and subsequently moving to variations of Vajrasana like Parivrtta Vajrasana (Revolved Thunderbolt Pose), Vajrasana Overlapping Feet Close Up (Thunderbolt Pose Overlapping Feet Close Up), and Ankle Stretch Pose. To practice each of these variations, follow the cues that give details on how and where the focus should be, when in the posture.
Peak Pose Yoga Sequence with Vajrasana: Yoga For Feet And Ankles: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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A. To prepare for Vajrasana and its variations the opening of the toes play a crucial role along with the calves, more than the ankles.
B. While stretching the toes and the calves, the tension and stiffness around the ankles reduce making the flexing of the same easier.
C. A dynamic flow of the body going from one pose on the toes to another is part of the Warm Up.
D. At places where the toes feel the need to hold the posture, stay just connecting to the breathing process.
E. Listen to the body and go in a flow.
A. Stand in Mountain Poses, pressing all the toes on the floor (including the last toe), and feel the ground with each toe.
B. Take a few round of breathing to prepare for the warm up. Breath ensuring it is smooth and in control. Calm the mind while feeling the calmness through the body with each breath.
C. Inhale, raise the body upwards balancing on all the ten toes. As you stretch go slow, starting to feel the stretch from the inner soles, heels, calves, back of the knees and finally hamstrings.
D. While you go up focus first on controlling the body to remain in balance, Gradually take the attention to the soles, calves and back of the knees.
E. Practicing this in front of a WALL, CHAIR, TABLE is a good option as the focus is on the stretch and not the balance.
F. You could choose to go dynamic first for 4 rounds, and then remain in Mountain Pose On Tiptoes, holding for 4 breaths.
G. Slowly release and come down to Mountain Pose. Relax
A. Release from Mountain Pose and exhale, placing the hands on the floor and taking the feet behind to go to Downward Facing Dog Pose.
B. Settle the feet firm on the floor, pressing all the toes towards the ground.
C. Take a few breaths to settle the body in this inversion.
D. Then, begin to move in a flow bending one leg at a time raising the heels off the floor.
E. Go in a dynamic way pressing the toes of the alternative leg firm and then moving to the other leg toes. Repeat this movement for about 6 rounds, coordinating with the breathing as suits you best.
F. Emphasis is on the stretch felt deep in the soles and the toes while the calves and hamstrings are stretched along.
G. Not put to much pressure at the shoulders, keep the body light and if required place some YOGA BLOCKS for the arms.
H. When comfortable, hold each leg with heels off the floor for about 3 breaths, repeating with the other leg.
I. A great way to open the soles, toes, calves and hamstrings preparing for the peak pose. It helps to improve the blood circulation at the toes with each release of the heels.
A. Take rest and come to stand back in Mountain Pose after the practice of Downward Facing Dog Pose Variation.
B. Then from here, exhale and go back to Downward Facing Dog Pose. Pressing the feet along with all the toes towards the ground, settle the body coordinating the breathing in this posture.
C. Inhale, raise the heels off the floor and balance the lower body on the toes while pressing all the toes towards the ground.
D. Tighten the knee cap while here as they bend. Press the toes and feel the ground with them. Hold this posture of Downward Facing Dog Pose Variation Knees Bent for about 6 breaths.
E. Don't put too much pressure at the shoulders and chest, focus is the lower body. Feel the hamstrings, calves, soles, and toes all TALK to you while in stretch.
F. Initially holding it for long may be a challenge, so take it slow by first holding for 2 breaths, then release and hold again for the next 2 breaths and so on.
A. Release and come to sit in Garland Pose placing the hands on the floor in front of you.
B. Press the feet firm and bring the hips down as you settle flexing the knees.
C. Take a moment here and feel the blood flow down back again, close your eyes and stay here to relax for about 6 breaths.
D. Ensure the hips are wide open, as they too play an important role to get into Vajrasana comfortably.
A. Sit in Staff Pose releasing from Garland Pose.
B. Stretch the legs out and sit placing the hands close to the hips.
C. Take a few moments and bring the breathing to normal and in control.
D. Then begin to flex the ankles down and up in a dynamic way taking them closer to the ground as you flex them down and taking them towards you as you flex them inwards.
E. Repeat this for about 4 times.
F. Release and now begin with the Ankle Rotation taking one ankle at a time to go in clockwise and anticlockwise for 4 rounds each way.
G. Repeat this with both the ankle taking the practice to 16 rounds. Take the rotation deep and feel the stretch at the ankles, calves and the toes.
H. A great warm up for the lower part of the leg in Seated Ankle Rotation.
A. From Seated Ankle Rotations, release and bend the right leg and place the right foot just above the left knee cap.
B. Rest the right outer ankle on the left lower thigh close to the knee. Using the right hand, now push the right thigh DOWN AND UP in a dynamic way.
C. ROCK the right thigh while here moving it up and down while holding the RIGHT Ankle with your LEFT hand.
D. Rock for about 6 rounds, release and stretch the leg out. Relax and repeat with the other leg.
E. Rocking the thighs up and down is a great way to open the upper hips and hamstrings. It also opens the gluteus maximus, that will help support the hips while seated in Vajrasana.
F. Flex the hips, making sure they bounce up and down naturally. Don't manually push the hips down. Go with the flow and understand the communications from the body.
G. Do this for about 6 rounds with each leg. You could repeat if need be.
A. Release and come to sit in Easy Pose.
B. From here, inhale and raise the left leg up holding the lower part of the leg in your arms.
C. Press the thighs, calves and ankles close to your chest as you sit in Cradle Pose.
D. Again flex the hips well enough to take it upwards. Hold the posture for about 6 breaths.
E. Release and repeat with the other leg to hold it for 6 breaths.
F. A great way to open the hamstrings and hips while also flexing the ankles here to prepare for a smooth and easy practice of Vajrasana.
G. Pay attention to the ankles and the knees, and make slow progression in holding the leg parallel to your chest.