How many times has it happened that you were awake the whole night due to stinging pain in your legs? Leg cramps and pains can be very painful. They can occur at any time and last for as long as 2-3 days. This usually occurs in our calves and hamstrings. This can happen due to holding a position for a long time, fatigue, or too much strain on the leg. One of the main reasons for the occurrence of such pain can be due to tight calf muscles. We’re gonna talk about some yoga poses for tight calves and how to do them.
What are Tight Calves?
Calf muscles are located in the back region of the legs below the knee crease and above the ankle. Calf muscles are also known as gastrocnemius. The tendon that connects the calf muscles to heels is known as Achilles tendon. Tightness in calf muscles can be due to injury in this Achilles tendon. Tight calves can be an indication of- weakness, foot drop, ankle sprain, etc. We need to keep our calves and legs stretched and strong to avoid any serious complications in the future.
Yoga Poses For Tight Calves
Yoga helps in healing the body mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is an age-old Indian practice. With its power it can cure and reduce the symptoms of any diseases. Some amount of stretching and simple movements can go a long way in treating tight calves. In this article, we will cover 10 yoga poses to release tight calves.
The Low Lunge Pose or Anjaneyasana
To perform the Low Lunge pose, start with kneeling on the ground and standing on your knees. Now, slowly transition from a downward-facing dog pose, keep your toes flat and bring your one leg forward. Your leg should be placed between your hands and the knee and the heel should form a right-angle to the ground. Then, extend the other knee down touching the ground and stretch it back as much as possible. Try to be in a straight posture and keep your spine erect. Join the palms together by taking your hands over your head. Now, inhale and exhale deeply. Be aware of every breath. Let the air cleanse you from the inside. Try holding this position for 60 seconds or longer, if comfortable. Repeat the same for at least 5 times.
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The Garland Pose or Malasana
The Garland pose is a seated yoga pose. You need to be seated in a squat position. Keep your hips close to the ground and chest up high. Join your palms together by bringing your hands in front of your legs. Try to keep a straight posture. Ensure that your soles are touching the ground entirely. Now inhale and exhale deeply. Let the air fill your chest and body with energy. Feel the rhythm of your every breath. Hold the position for as long as you’re comfortable, a minimum of 60 seconds or longer.
In order to release the pose, slowly part your hands and stand up on your feet. Relax by taking a few deep breathes and repeat the pose for at least 5 times. The Garland pose strengthens our legs as it stretches every leg muscle. Its target areas include calves, hamstrings, toes, the pelvis area, glutes, spine, and the core too.
The Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana
From the cat/cow pose, keeping the pressure on your palms a little wider than the shoulder width, stretch your legs backward and stand with your hips up in the air. Push your chest back towards the thighs and keep your arms stretched beside your head and look downwards. Keep your body stretched and try to keep your soles on the ground and hips as high up as possible. Take deep full breathes and be aware of the air flowing inside and out from you. Hold the posture for at least 1 minute or longer if you’re comfortable and then relax by bending one knee at a time. And repeat. That’s how you perform the Adho Mukha Svanasana.
The Locust Pose or Salabhasana
Locust pose is performed by lying down on the ground on your stomach. Keep both your hands beside your side facing downwards. Your toes should be flat and your head should be kept resting on the ground. Try and lift the rest of your body up, keeping your belly and thighs stuck to the ground. Lift your legs and arms up in the air with your fingers facing outward. Lift your chin up and keep looking straight. Now inhale and exhale deeply. Be conscious of every breath that you take. Let the air cleanse you from the inside. Hold this position for 30 seconds or longer, as you feel comfortable. Release the pose and then repeat it for at least 5 times. This pose pulls your hamstrings and glutes and gives them strength.
The Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
To perform the bridge pose, lie down on the floor, belly side up. Keep your hands by your side facing downwards. Fold your legs with your knees up and place your foot firmly on the ground. Then, push your core by lifting your hips up and holding your ankles with your hands. Ensure that your neck and upper back are still on the ground. Now inhale and exhale deeply. Let the air fill your lungs. Hold this position for 40 seconds or longer, as needed. To release, leave the ankles one at a time and rest your hips back on the ground slowly. Repeat this process for at least 5 times.
The Bridge pose helps in proper breathing. It also increases the flexibility and elasticity of our body. It strengthens the glutes as well.
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The Triangle Pose or Trikonasana
For the Triangle pose, stand up straight on the ground and spread your legs wide. Then, touch your left ankle with your left hand. Align your right hand with your shoulder straight up in the air. Then, inhale and exhale deeply. Be aware of every breath. Hold the position for 40 seconds or longer. Release and do the same on the right side.
In order to release the pose, slowly get back up to the original position. Repeat on both sides for at least 5 times. Try to hold the pose for as long as possible. It helps to stretch and strengthen the legs and the hamstrings.
The Upward-Facing Dog Pose or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Lie down straight on the ground on your stomach. Bring your hands beside your chest and the keep elbows facing outward. Your toes should be flat to the ground. Relax your hip muscles. Then, apply some pressure on your palms towards the ground and lift your upper body up. Stretch your arms out straight and try bending backward as much as possible. Take deep breathes and feel the air flowing into and leaving your body. Hold the pose for 40 seconds or longer.
To release the pose, slowly bring your body down to the ground and relax by taking deep breathes. Repeat for at least 5 times.
This yogic posture stretches and relaxes the spine and the sciatic area. Muscles in the hip flexors are also loosened up.
Standing Forward Bend Pose or Uttanasana
From the upward facing dog position, slowly stand up with one foot at a time and hands beside your hips. Now bend forward and let your upper torso hang, with your chest touching the knee and fold your hands behind your leg. Make sure your keens are straight and feet firmly attached to the ground. Take deep full breathes and be aware of the air flowing inside and out from you. Hold this position for a minute or longer if you’re comfortable. Now slowly untangle your hands and stand up straight to relax.
The Tree Pose or Vrikshasana
This pose is one of the best yoga poses for tight calves. For this pose, stand up straight on the ground and put your hands stretched above your head i.e. over your crown chakra joining both your palms together. Now fold your left leg and place your left foot over your right inner thigh. Place the foot as higher as possible. Now inhale and exhale deeply, letting the air fill your chest and heart all at once and feeling the rhythm of your every breath. Hold this position for a minute or longer as per your comfort.
The Eagle Pose or Garudasana
For this pose, stand up on the ground with your hands by your side. Fold your left knee halfway and entwine your right leg around your left one. Now entwine your hands together and join both palms together. Now inhale and exhale deeply, being aware of every breath you take and letting the air cleanse you from insides. Hold this position for 60 seconds or longer, if comfortable and repeat.
These simple stretches would help you get rid of tight calves easily and would not consume much of your time either. Following this simple routine even if you had to sit for long hours in a day, you would not have to suffer from tight calves.