Do you sit—or stand—all day? That could be one reason for swelling in your feet and ankles, a classic sign of circulation that could use a boost. Others include numbness or coldness in the feet or hands.
There are a lot of potential causes for poor circulation, so a trip to your practitioner’s office is always in order. But if everything checks out, you could try the following poses to get your blood moving.
Downward Facing Dog
Down Dog puts your hips above your heart, encouraging blood flow. It also promotes a sense of calm.
1. Get down on all fours, hips directly over your knees and hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.
2. Spread your hands and turn your toes inward, then lift your knees off the floor.
3. At first, keep your knees bent and your heels slightly raised. Afterward, straighten your spine, but be careful not to do a backbend.
4. Press the bases of your index fingers into the floor before flattening your shoulder blades and drawing them towards your tailbone (don’t let your head hang down).
5. Stay in the pose for three long breaths, then come out of the pose by bending your knees and bringing them back to the floor.
Warrior II stretches and strengthens the legs, improving lower-body circulation. It also strengthens the core and shoulders.
1. Stand at the top of your mat, feet together, legs and core muscles engaged.
2. Exhale and step your left foot three to four feet back, turned out to the left 90°; keep the heel of your right foot in line with the arch of the left, hips open to the longside of your mat. Turn your right foot out to the right slightly as needed to maintain balance.
3. Bend the right leg so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor; look to make sure you can still see your big toe.
4. Inhale and extend your arms into a T-shape, palms facing down; keep the tops of the shoulders in alignment and directly over the pelvis.
5. Set your gaze at the third finger of your front hand; hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
6. Lower your arms, straighten your right knee and turn your left foot to match the right. Repeat on the other side.
Standing Forward Bend
This pose helps promote better blood flow in the upper body. It also stretches the hamstrings.
1. Stand with your feet next to each other and your hands on your hips.
2. Bend forward from the hip joints as you exhale, and draw your torso to open the space between the sternum and thighs.
3. Bring yourfingertips or palms to the backs of your ankles, with your knees as straight as possible (don’t lock them). If you can’t do that, cross the forearms and hold your elbows.
4. As you continue to breathe, lengthen and lift the front of your torso to get more fully into the forward bend. Allow your head to hang between your shoulder blades.
5. Remain in this pose for 30–60 seconds. As you come back up, bring your hands to your hips and press the tailbone down and into the pelvis.
This pose aids the internal organs by squeezing blood out of them on the twist, allowing fresh blood to flow in on the return. It also helps the spine become more flexible.
1. Sit tall on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place your hands on the mat behind you, fingers pointed away.
2. Bend your right leg over your left, placing your right foot next to your left thigh.
3. Twist your torso gently to the right, grasping your right knee with your left hand and keeping your right hand behind you for balance.
4. Come out of the pose by twisting your torso back to the starting position. Then bring your right leg back to meet the left and place the left hand behind you as at the start.
5. Repeat on the other side.
In addition to promoting better blood flow, Bow also loosens the shoulders and chest, and helps open the fronts of the hips.
2. Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close to your torso as possible. Grab your ankles.
3. Inhale and lift your thighs up and heels back. This will lift your upper body off the mat; press your shoulder blades toward each other while keeping the tops of your shoulders away from your ears. Look forward.
4. Stay in the pose 20–30 seconds. Exhale while releasing.
Like this article? You’ll love our weekly newsletter
sign up here!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.