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Tingling in the feet when coming out of Caterpillar

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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1094
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:45 am    Post subject: Tingling in the feet when coming out of Caterpillar Reply with quote

I recently received this question:
    Hi Bernie. First of all, thank you so much for the wonderful classes you have put together on Gaia.com. I believe they have helped me so much in my path of healing. Before I ask my question, I will explain an injury which may help you assess and advise me accordingly.

    I received a wound almost 3 years ago which severed part of my Iliotibial band. The osteopath reckons there is scar tissue which is "fusing" onto my muscles around the area. The scar is about 6 inches above the top of my kneecap on the lateral side of my right leg. I was experiencing a "deadness" deep in my R buttock 4-7 months after the initial injury which then stopped. Looking back, I think it was my fascia maybe adjusting to my new physical form. I attended a yin yoga class by chance about 1.5 years after sustaining the injury and felt like it was targeting "candy floss" in many areas of my body. From reading Anatomy Trains, I believe the candy floss are the areas which my body receive more strain as a result of the altered tensegrity of my body. since following your class and practising at home from Gaia, literally 4 hours a week, much of the candy floss areas have finished.

    I do however have a concern and I believe you may be able to help me. When I do caterpillar pose, I do not feel any pain, sharp or dull. But after a number of minutes in the pose (4 or more), I will notice my feet feel numb (it feels like a slight coldness). When I come out of the pose, my feet and legs feel "normal" (apart from the numb feet) and then they go all tingly. Not painful. Not very intense. But both my legs and feet go tingly for a few minutes.

    Because I feel no pain, I am wondering if it's ok for me to be in this pose or if the post-pose tingling is a sign i should not do this pose.

    Any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated and again, thank you so much. One day I will do Yin yoga teacher training as I wish to spread the healing and comfort it has helped me achieve in my own body. Inspired by you.


Hi L… thanks for writing. I am sorry to hear about your health challenge. I am not a therapist or doctor, so I can’t diagnoses what is causing the sensations you are experiencing in Caterpillar, plus I am not with you to try out various options, so please take all that I am about to suggest with many grains of salt! You have to be the one to decide what works or doesn’t.

I suspect that in Caterpillar pose you are either stressing a nerve or cutting off blood flow to the legs. The main nerve to be worried about is the sciatic nerve. You can read about ideas for working with sciatica in this article. If this is a problem, you would need to determine the cause of the sciatica: discogenic or piriformis syndrome. Depending upon the diagnosis, you would try different things. Another possibility is that you are reducing or blocking blood flow to your legs. Sometimes, for some people, flexion at the hips can compress the femoral artery, which you may not notice until you come out of the pose. When the blood starts flowing again, the tissues “wake up” and create that pins and needles feeling.

From your description, I suspect you are blocking blood flow. (This happens quite often to meditators who sit crossed-legs for long periods of time.) If so, you may want to try some subtle changes in your position. Try doing the Caterpillar with the legs slightly abducted (apart) or rolling the feet outward (externally rotated). Or try having the knees bent slightly with a bolster or folded blanket underneath. Another option is to reduce the amount of time you are lingering in the posture: try only 3 minutes, but maybe come back a second time and do the pose again, but again only for 3 minutes.

We do not really want to feel pain while in the poses or when coming out of the postures, so it would be good for you to find a way to do the pose without these sensations. If none of these suggestions work, skip the pose for now and do something that will work the area you want to target (maybe Straddle will work or legs up the wall), and then in a few months try Caterpillar again.

Good luck!
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