Muscle cramps are awful, especially when you are exercising and totally focused and then you get a cramp. You could be in a yoga pose, feeling all zen, then the next thing you know – you are in pain. Muscle cramps seem to affect everyone so know that you are not alone if it is happening to you. I was told a long time ago that a muscle cramp COULD be from trying to recruit other muscles to do the job. I cannot remember the specific details of the cramp I would get, but I do remember thinking, “Yeah, that sounds about right because what you are having me do is very difficult for me, so I can see my other muscle trying to do the work.” It could also be that the limb is in an unusual position and it causes a cramp. Or it is gripping too hard. Seems to me that the most common muscle cramp I see is in the foot.
The poses that cause the cramps range from standing balance poses to sitting poses. So the pose that causes the cramp is not all that common or the same, but a foot cramp seems to be the most common.
The first thought that comes to mind when a cramp comes on is, “Are you hydrated?” Cramps tend to occur when we are dehydrated. So making sure that we have enough water especially before exercising is very important.
Then there are some nutrients that might be causing the issue if there is a deficiency. Not enough potassium, calcium or magnesium could be the cause of cramps. Perhaps having a banana before class could help.
Cramps could also be caused by lack of blood to the muscle or a compressed nerve. So sometimes just moving the foot can help relieve the muscle contraction.
Movement that might help prevent cramps in the feet would be to point and flex the foot and circle the ankle. Move the foot with the hands. Take the foot in both hands and just manipulate it. Move the foot all ways, bending and straighten out the arch, move each toe – remembering that the foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones and over 100 muscles. Try to affect them all. You want to ensure the foot is warmed up and ready to serve you.
The second thought that comes to me when someone has a cramp is: pinch your nose, the septum to be exact – really hard. Most people look at me really odd. But I learned that a long time ago when I had a cramp, someone told me to do it. Recently someone else agreed with having heard that before, too. I guess when I am having a cramp I pretty much am willing to do anything to make it stop so pinching my nose and causing pain elsewhere sounds good to me, as long as the cramp stops. And, it usually does for me, I can’t get anyone else to try that method. 🙂
So, the other alternative is to move, as I mentioned before – perhaps get the blood flowing back to the muscle or perhaps relieve the pressure. Also, massaging the foot might help. Try relaxing the foot, sometimes that painful contraction happens during a standing balance pose so there are times less gripping of the standing foot can help.
There are things that can be done to hopefully help prevent the foot cramp and to relieve it when it happens. But if it does happen know that you are not alone. If it happens ALL the time, then it might be a good idea to see a doctor to make sure there is not an underlying cause.
Do you get cramps when you exercise? Do you get cramps when doing yoga? Is there a specific pose that leads to your muscles cramp?