I want to return to last weeks breakdown of Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior 2) to outline the relationship between the ankle/foot and the hip.
The reason that it is imperative to understand how one part of the body influences another, comes down to the definition of “functional movement”. In another post (4/19) on kinetic chains, I attempted to describe how the musculoskeletal system is organized to produce almost any single movement with the participation of the entire body.
When the body is seen from this standpoint, it becomes fairly obvious as to how critical the foundation of any action is. The foundation can simply be understood as where the body is directly interacting with the external environment. It is the external environment that we stand on, push off of, or embrace, to accomplish everything from our yoga practice, to virtually everything else in our lives. In a very primary way, the objective of learning how to move better is essentially to become more fluent in how to bear one’s weight on the ground better. This implies a more intimate relationship with the way gravity exerts force upon the body.
It doesn’t take more than just a handful of classes, for any beginner to understand that it is the specific way that we relate to the ground that is a central skill of yoga. The way our feet interact with the ground is different in Tree pose, as compared to Down Dog, and this variability extends throughout the entire library of postures.
One can perform a simple test just by standing upright and alternating between leaning on the outer edges of the feet vs the inner edges, and sense how this difference reverberates throughout other parts of the body
The hallmark of walking gait analysis is predicated on how each part of the foot has its own specific role to play within each step we take
The abduction force that I outlined in last weeks post, presented only a part of the function of the back leg. In order to more fully grasp this function, the entire leg must be taken into account, which begins at the foot.
Ankle Eversion lies in the jurisdiction of the three muscles that run along the lateral aspect of the lower leg.
This location places the peroneal muscles into a neurological relationship with the rest of the lateral leg structures, thereby implicating the hip abductors referenced in the last “Warrior 2” post. This means that the action of everting the ankle, recruits the action of the abductors in a much more direct way.
This is another point that diverges from the common instruction of “pressing down with the outer edge of the foot”, which along with the foot being so far away from the midline, adds to the danger of spraining the ankle.
The best way to encourage this coupling of actions is to initially get a sense for how this pose feels by actually lifting the outer edge of the foot into a concentric eversion, before developing the skill of placing the outer edge down while still everting the ankle eccentrically.
for hypermobility conditions as well as medial meniscus tear/impingement, the outer/lateral edge of the foot may be lifted the entire time in order to exacerbation of symptoms