Ankle Bending - Gulf Naman

Ankle bending exercises in yoga are also known Gulf Naman. Ankle bending exercises are very helpful in preventing conditions like arthritis that affect the joints in the body.

The three major joints found in the ankle include the fibula, tibia, and talus. Arthritis in the ankles wears out and damages the cartilages causing inflammation and pain.


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Repeated strain on the ankles is one of the leading causes of ankle arthritis and therefore ankle bending exercises are very helpful in preventing this painful condition.

Ankle Bending Steps:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and maintain some distance between both the legs.
  2. Keep your hands on the ground behind your back for support.
  3. Focus on the ankles and ensure that the heels are touching the floor.
  4. While inhaling deeply, move the feet backwards and then exhale while moving the feet forwards.
  5. Ensure that you stretch the toes both inwards and outwards while doing this exercise.
  6. Keep your eyes closed and focus entirely on the movement of your ankles.
  7. Take short pauses while bending the ankles forward and backwards so that you can feel the stretching sensation.
  8. Repeat this exercise 10 times for each leg.

Ankle Bending- Precautions:

  • Avoid jerky movements that can result in unnecessary strain and injury.
  • Do not lift the leg above the floor while doing this exercise.
  • Avoid this exercise completely if you have an existing ankle fracture or injury.
  • Avoid bending your knees while doing this exercise as this can put additional strain on the ankle joints.

Beginner’s Tip For Ankle Bending:

  • Always sit on the floor while doing these exercises.
  • Remember to inhale while moving the feet backwards and exhale while moving them forward.

  • Count mentally and concentrate on your breathing and ankle movements.

Benefit To Body Part:

  • Ankle bending exercises not only work the ankle joints but also work the muscles in the entire leg.
  • These exercises help in loosening up the ankle joints and strengthen them as well as the other muscles in the leg.
  • Ankle bending exercises are also good for people suffering from lower back pain. The stretching of the leg muscles in turn helps relieve lower back pain effectively over time.
  • They help in toning the muscles in the leg and feet, which in turn increases our body’s stability.

Therapeutic Applications:

  • Ankle bending exercises are very helpful in lowering the possibility of developing painful conditions like ankle arthritis. People suffering from arthritis can also benefit greatly by regularly practicing these exercises.
  • The stretching in these exercises helps prevent muscle injury and fatigue.
  • Soreness in the ankles due to overuse reduces with these ankle stretches.
  • Ankle bending exercises help maintain the lower extremities of the body in good health and also improve blood circulation in the area.
  • They keep the muscles in the legs and feet flexible and strong.
  • The stretching in these exercises is a good way of relieving lower back pain.

Variations for Ankle Bending:

  • If for some reason, you have difficulty keeping your knees straight while performing this exercise, place the foot of the opposite leg on top of the knee to prevent it from bending and then do this exercise.
  • You can also practice these exercises in a lying down position.

Preparatory Poses for Ankle Bending:

Follow Up Poses:

  • ankle rotation (Gulf Chakra)
  • ankle crank (Gulf Ghoornan)
  • toe bending (Padanguli Naman)
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