Pain in the arches of the feet can be sharp and completely agonizing, especially for people with flat feet. Strengthening your arches is the best way to reduce pain, and many yoga poses focus specifically on this part of the foot. Try them in the morning to stretch your feet before a long day at work, or do them at night to relieve pain.
The Hero Pose
Spend 10 minutes in this pose every night before you go to bed as well as whenever you can throughout the day. Doing the Hero Pose for a cumulative time of 45 minutes per day can significantly strengthen the arches of your feet and reduce pain. If you can't do it all at once, sneak in a few minutes on your lunch break, between appointments or at home while winding down with television. Start with your hands and knees on the floor, then separate your feet so they are a bit wider than the hips. Sit back between your feet and lower your hips toward the floor. If you are uncomfortable, try sitting on a pillow or folded blanket for support. Straighten your torso and tilt your pelvis forward slightly. Rest your hands on your thighs, ankles or lap and close your eyes, holding the pose for at least one minute.
Hero Pose - Add Massage
During the Hero Pose, massage the arches of your feet. Press on the arches with your thumbs and spread the toes to avoid foot cramps. Work your way up and down each foot, remember this should feel good, so press lightly.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
This pose stretches and strengthens the arches and is particularly therapeutic for flat feet. Start with your hands and knees on the floor. Exhale as you draw your back backward from the pelvis and lift your knees. Stretch your legs out straight as you bend from the hips until the hands touch the ground. Your body should be in an inverted V shape. Stay in the pose for one to three minutes.
The Garland Pose
Continue strengthening the arches with the Garland Pose, which also stretches the ankles. Squat on the ground with your feet together and the knees turned slightly out. Stretch your arms forward as you bow your head down between your knees. Relax the back and ankles and let your heels dig into the ground. Hold the pose and relax as you inhale and exhale deeply.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.