Knoff Yoga Cairns

Flexing the Feet

QUESTION: Mar 7, 2022

Hi Nicky and James

In Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga they seem to generally point their toes (plantar flex) and in Iyengar Yoga they generally do the opposite (dorsi flex).

What are your thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages on these actions – dorsi or plantar flex ?

ANSWER: From: Knoffyoga <>

March 7, 2022

Howdy Lori, In Knoff Yoga, you will not be surprised to learn we work ALL the muscles in the feet and not just one side or the other. Flexing the feet also requires working the muscles of the legs.

To find the correct balance in activation, sit in a chair and stretch out a leg.

Then plantar flex the foot and feel which muscles are engaged (back of the lower leg).

Plantar flexion is the movement that allows you to press the gas pedal of your car. It also allows ballet dancers to stand on their toes. The term plantar flexion refers to the movement of the foot in a downward motion away from the body.

Then, dorsi flex and feel which muscles are engaged, the opposite (front of the lower leg).

Dorsiflexion is the backward bending and contracting of your hand or foot. This is the extension of your foot at the ankle and your hand at the wrist. You can also dorsiflex your fingers and toes, though usually the term is referring to your wrist or ankle.

You can actually see these muscular activations.

The goal in Knoff Yoga is to work the feet so both aspects are engaged equally, which takes a lot more awareness and sensitivity and provides a deeper body/mind connection, this in turn provides more control.

Find the half way point between the two flexes, spread the toes and engage the arch.

I call this the ‘accelerator’ action of the feet and is the preferred option in all poses where accessible, e.g. headstand, shoulderstand, forward bends etc.

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