Even if you can’t stand in tree pose for the life of you (same), you’ll probably be a pro at the latest fitness trend: Toega. In a nutshell? It’s essentially yoga for your feet. Here’s why people are giving their toesies a little namaste. Toega is about bringing healthy movement, via stretches and exercises, back to two of your most under-appreciated and overworked extremities. Hence: toes + yoga = toega.
So why is it good for you? Just like you want to build strong, flexible triceps, you want to do the same for the muscles in your feet (hello, sturdy arches). A daily five- to ten-minute toega regimen can help improve mobility, flexibility and strength in your toes, feet and ankles. And as you build up those areas, you can also help prevent common problems like plantar fasciitis, bunions and shin splints. (Psst, it’s especially beneficial for pregnant women trying to maintain their arches.)
Good news. Toega is super easy. There a bajillion exercises, but here are three basics to start with—barefoot, of course. Here's how to start:
1. Big Toe Stretch
Stand on a soft surface and bend your big toe under the ball of your foot. Apply as much pressure as feels comfortable to stretch that first metatarsal joint. Ahhh.
2. Big Toe Isolation
While standing, balanced on both feet, attempt to isolate your big toe by pushing it into the floor while simultaneously raising up the other four piggies and keeping the ball of your foot firmly on the ground.
3. Towel Scrunches
Lay out a towel. Now, sitting with your knees at a 90-degree angle, place your feet so that your toes touch the bottom of the towel. Now, scrunch your toes and grab the towel to pull it toward you until it bunches under your arches.
Whew. Take a breather and grab some water. Your tootsies deserve a rest.