You may not have realized that the ankles play a very crucial role in the performance of Padmasana.   After all, big muscles with their dominant presence attract all our attention and the small muscles and the joints are left ignored most of the time. I am sure you would have felt the stiffness or the non-cooperative attitude of your ankles (the inflexible ones) while trying to stack one at the top of the other during your Padmasana but would have ignored that. This could result in:

  • Ankles failing to stabilize and sliding out of their position
  • Feeling extreme stress in and around your ankles

The above points are an indication that you need to increase your ankle’s range of motion.  

Vajrasana with support

Many practitioners, even though they are able to perform Vajrasana successfully (without any strain on the knees) they fail to maintain the posture for long. The reason being, unbearable strain on the ankles and the frontal part of the foot (you will feel the same strain during Padmasana, as well, if ankles are stiff). One of the simplest ways of lubricating and mobilizing that area is to ‘fold a blanket or a towel’ and place it below the ankles in Vajrasana so that :

  1. You get a soft cushioning; you are comfortable and can stay in the posture for longer
  2. The pressure of your body weight on the ankle against the cushioning will help lengthening that area, thereby, creating more space with increased range of motion resulting in increased flexibility.

Ankle Stretch 

  1. Sit in Dandasana with your legs stretched out in front
  2. Exhale and stretch your toes as much as possible towards the floor as if you are trying to touch the floor with your toes. The heels will automatically slide in during this process.
  3. Hold this position with normal breathing for 10 seconds
  4. Inhale and slide your heels out on the floor (heels are pressed firmly against the floor during sliding); toes are flexing in towards your body
  5. Once in the above position, press the back of the legs firmly against the floor (hamstrings and the back of the knees). This may cause the heels to get off the floor but that is normal. Hold this position for 10 seconds with normal breathing
  6. Repeat 10 times while paying attention to the minutest of movements

 p2

Ankle Rotation (1)

  1. Sit in Dandasana with your legs stretched out in front
  2. Rotate both the feet clockwise 10 times and then anti clockwise 10 times
  3. The rotation has to be slow with full awareness in a way that you are almost trying to touch the floor with your toes while going towards the floor and your toes are pointing in sharply towards your body as you move it away from the floor. Focus on the joint mobility during movement
  4. Exhale while toes are going down and inhale while it is coming up

Ankle Rotation (2)

  1. Sit in Dandasana with your legs stretched out in front
  2. Get your legs around one and half feet apart from each other
  3. Press the back of the legs firmly against the floorp3
  4. Rotate your ankles in so that the toes of both the legs are facing each other (almost touching); hold the position for 10 seconds and release
  5. Get your heels together and allow your toes to fall apart and away from each other and towards the floor , heels are touching each other in this position; squeeze your hips firmly on the floor to keep your legs firm; hold for 10 seconds and release
  6. Perform 10 rounds

Why so much fuss about ankle mobility?

  • Foot and ankle are the first point of contact with the floor while standing, walking or running
  • It is weight bearing for the whole body hence its strength is important
  • Ankles help us propel forward during any movement so certain level of flexibility is a must
  • Flexible and strong ankles bring stability to the whole body
  • Stiff ankles can be a source of injuries to the other parts of the body like knees, hips, spine etc.
  • In classical postures like Padmasana, supple ankles are a must to attain injury free mastery over the posture

These simple looking stretches play a pivotal role in case of managing knee pain, plantar fascia, achilles tendon etc. along with increased ankle mobility. A few minutes of regular practice of the above specified movements will bring you a step closer to attainment of your goal, especially being able to perform Padmasana.

Check out my next blog on a few glutes opening postures to move deep into your Padmasana practice. You can check out all the details on https://shammisyogalayablog.com/

Note: Practice yoga asanas under the guidance of a yoga expert.

For any query, write to “Ask Shammi” on www.shammisyogalaya.com For other blogs on related subject, check www.shammisyogalayablog.com


Shammi GuptaShammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.