Yin Yoga For Runners: Toe Squats


Hi! This is Tim with MidpackRunner.com

I’m here today to show you a yin yoga stretch that will target your toes, your ankles, your plantar fascia. We call it a toe squat.

Now in yin yoga, the goal is to stretch the connective tissue. So, as we get into this, we’re going to want to hold this pose for between 1 to a maximum of 3 minutes. So just make sure that as you’re doing this – we want to start kind of light.

We want to make sure that, as you get into it… we always say, “easier is better,” when you’re starting out because you’re going to be in this pose for a long time.

So make sure that… As you settle in, you may feel some discomfort. If that ever crosses over into pain, you want to stop immediately and only resume when you have the availability of a certified coach to kind of walk you through and make sure that everything’s okay.

So, without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and just move right into the stretch and show you. We won’t be today, in this video, holding for the full 3 minutes. I just want to give you an idea of what it looks like.

[Author's Note: In yin yoga, it's less important how each asana looks than how it feels. Don't push too far out of your comfort zone. Gradual lengthening is the name of the game here]

The Asana
I’m going to move to the side so it’s nice and easy to see.

Now, what you want to do is tuck your toes under. Make sure that you get those little toes under as well. We’re going to settle back, and just come to a resting position on our heels.

For some people, if you’re really tight (especially through the fascia), this is going to be a little uncomfortable. It’s not an area that I think most runners are used to stretching. And we just want to hold that for a little while.

Now, if you find that you’re having any knee discomfort, there are a couple of things you can do.

The first thing you can do as far as modifications is just bring that right up. [Author's Note: that is, come up onto your knees, rather than back on your heels] That should take some of the pressure off both the knees and the ankles and toes. This is going to be a little less of a stretch for your fascia, your toes.

The other thing you can do is grab just a little rolled up towel. Here I’ve got just a hand towel that I’ve rolled into this little ball. You can just insert that right there in the back of the knee. That will open up your knees a little bit. (You probably want to be symmetric with that. I’ve only got one right now, but do both sides). That’ll open those up – should take a little pressure off. Then just settle back down into the stretch.

Cooling Down
As a counter to this when you’re done, I usually like to move into something that will open those ankles back up. So, just a nice, deep child’s pose is a great stretch. Counter all the stretching of the plantar fascia, all the stretching of the toes and ankles.

And with that, I leave you for this week. We’ll come back next week for another stretch.

  3 Responses to Yin Yoga For Runners: Toe Squats
  1. Kevin

    Great Stretching exercises. You do well in your videos

    • Tim Woodbury

      Thanks, Kevin. Glad you’re enjoying them.

      I wish more blogs would use video. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video’s worth at least 10,000.

  2. [...] up to the task, and now the pain is spreading upward to my left ankle.  So toe yoga it is.  And toe squats.  [...]

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