Yoga teachers stand a lot. Like, a LOT. On a busy day we might teach between four and six hours of yoga, and walk in between classes - so add an hour or two of walking to all that standing, and you have a recipe for very tired legs!
Some nights, my feet feel so tender that I find myself hobbling, my ankles are puffy, my calves are in spasm. Sound vaguely familiar to any of you who are teachers/ librarians/ retail workers/ hospitality workers/ physiotherapists/ massage therapists? And all the myriad other people who stand in the course of your work? Then there are those of you who are transitioning to sit/stand desks. Them pins gonna be tired in the beginning!
So I thought I would share my 'magic two' poses for tired legs. (I'm quite a fan of magic-seeming solutions to pain)
Magic Pose 1: Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
Oh, the joys of sitting on your heels. This just relieves so much tension in my ankles and feet, de-puffs them, and stretches my quadriceps out a bit too.
I sometimes practice Virasana (Hero Pose) instead, sitting between my heels on a flattish foam block. When my knees allow it, of course.
What, you ask, about those of us who can't kneel like this because it hurts our ankles/knees? Aha, I have an option for you, too:
Which refers to the sequence below: inhaling to all fours, and exhaling to release your buttocks towards your heels. It gives a similar kind of relief but without the sustained pressure on your joints that holding a pose would exert.
And then there is Magic Pose 2: Legs up the Wall
Is there any ailment this pose can't help? I doubt it.
This is the ultimate langhana (releasing, soothing) pose. I find it helps the muscles and tissues around my damaged SI joints relax, it allows blood and lymph to drain from my tired and puffy legs, and, with my arms out as pictured, also stretches my chest to relieve the hunch-asana that develops over a day of reaching forward to adjust students, working on the computer, etc. Sometimes I even meditate in this postion, when sitting is too uncomfortable.
Also check out: Alignment, Anatomy, Geekery.