I recently met a couple whose husband was suffering from neuropathy in his feet. She asked if I know of any yoga exercises that could help alleviate pain in his feet. I am writing this article also for others who are suffering from similar conditions.
Please remember that yoga is not a substitute for medical care. No exercise will cure your condition, however, studies have proven that there are physical, emotional and mental benefits of yoga which may help the patients better cope with their medical condition. Practicing yoga could improve the quality of life of people with neuropathy.
Physical benefits of yoga include improvement of posture strengthens joints, reduce pain, tone muscles, gives more energy and more flexibility. Yoga also helps with relaxation. Emotional benefit include having peace of mind, feeling joy and compassion to oneself and to others.
Mental benefits are relaxation, awareness of one's body, concentration, a balance in life, help one accept one's condition and accept the impermanence of life.
Neuropathy is a disorder of the neurons in the body.
PART A: The following yoga asanas can help in strengthening the nerves in the body
Do not attempt these unless you have some experience in doing yoga. Be mindful, do not push, don’t over do. Always listen to your body.
1) Ulthita Trikonasana - Extended Triangle Pose - (refer to the Asana section of this blog)
2) Ultrasana - Camel Pose - helps open the chakras and strengthening nerves
3) Utkatasana - Chair pose - also helps strengthening nerves (refer to the Asana section)
PART B: The following exercises may be done sitting in a chair:
1) Remove your shoes and socks - soak your feet in warm water for 3 minutes
2) Place your dried feet on the ground, feel the soles of your entire feet
3) Flex your feet, spread your toes and stretch, as if you are pushing out and trying to reach an invisible wall
4) Slowly come up on your tip toes, find your balance - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths
5) Go on your heels and lift up your toes - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths
6) Go on your outer sides of feet - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths
7) Go on the inner sides of feet - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths
8) Lift your big toe, next toe and move onto the small toes one at a time (you can do this one foot at a time or do both simultaneously)
9) Bring your left foot onto the thigh of your right leg, hold the ankle with your left hand and hold the toes with your right hand and gently rotate forward 6 times and backward 6 times using full breaths
10) Bring your right foot onto the thigh of your left leg, and hold the ankle with your right hand as you hold the toes with your left hand and gently rotate forward 6 times and backward 6 times using full breaths
11) Lie down, raise your feet on a cushion or on a chair seat, close your eyes and relax for 10 minutes
The entire PART B takes anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes. Start slowly and practice regularly to build your strength and endurance.
Sat Nam -- Cathi