Give your feet a little attention on International Yoga Day and your whole body will feel happier

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Elaine_Kelly
Give your feet a little attention on International Yoga Day and your whole body will feel happier

There’s a reason why your yoga teacher is always telling you to spread your toes creating a stable base.  We cram them into tight shoes, pound on them all day, and generally ignore until they hurt.  According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, eight out of 10 American adults will suffer from some kind of foot problem in their lives —and yogis are no exception.

Keeping this in mind, we can begin to see how an imbalance between stability and flexibility in the feet can create problems elsewhere in the body. The anatomy of the feet is closely connected to the health of our lower back. Conversely, excess tension is linked to inflammation in the soft tissues of the arch, a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis.  

So, how to have feet happy and healthy?  Besides a monthly pedicure, start by taking a good look at the bottom of your shoes. Yes, that’s right. Stop reading and take a look!  This is a great place to start to observe your feet.  What did you notice?  If the inside edges are worn down, then you probably turn your feet out as you walk, if the outside is worn, you probably walk with your toes pointing more inwards pigeon toed, as we call it.  If the front and back heel are equally worn, then you are doing well!  All the muscles that control our feet, are in our calves, so start with a good massage to release them. 

Warm up Exercises

  1. Toe sitting – just sit on your toes and see how long you can stay.  Put a pad down for your knees and lift your buttocks off your heals if it is too much.  Try to spread your toes apart so they have lots of room
  2. Ankle Sitting – sit on the front of your feet and stretch your ankles
  3. Ball rolling – take a tennis ball and roll the arches of your feet several times. Then find the spot just above the heel, and press up and down a few times.  Next, move the ball to the middle of the foot and repeat. This is a very tender place but helps bring more flexibility to your arches. 
  4. Finger toe threading – sit and bend your knee and place your foot over your opposite leg.  Take your fingers and thread them between each toe then start to massage the pad of your foot and you circle your ankle around. Repeat the other side.  If you can’t get in the first time, keep trying, the toes will start to separate.
  5. Now sit down and extend your legs out, feet hip distance apart and begin to flex and point your feet, noticing if they move the same amount.  Then circle them slowly in one direction and then the other.  Finish with trying to turn the toes in towards each other and then turn the baby toes out towards you – not so easy. Just feel the muscles in your legs contracting to assist you. 

Yoga Poses

Prasarita Paddotasana

Yoga in DubaiThis pose strengthens the posterior tibialis muscles by putting pressure on the outside edge of the foot. Stand with your feet wide apart then lean forward with bent knees and place your hands on the floor. Make sure your feet are parallel to each other. Slowly begin to straighten the legs.  If you feel alot of sensation on the edges of the feet, this is ok as it is strengthening and lengthening this muscle. 

Malasana

This pose will stretch the achilles tendon at the back of the foot and your hips. Stand with your feet more than hip distance apart and then turn your feet away from each other.  Place your hands on your thighs, and begin to lower your hips down toward the floor.  If your heels lift up, put a rolled-up blanket underneath them, or sit on a block.  Rest here for 5 long breaths and then stand and shake your legs.

Vrksasana

This pose where we press the heal of one foot into the thigh of the other, works on our balance and strength. Press firmly through one foot into the ground, without gripping the toes, and then lift your other leg and turn the heal into the soft part of your inner thigh.  Start with hands on your hips and then try to bring them up overhead once you feel steady. You guessed it, you are in tree pose.

I always start my yoga classes with foot exercises.  As we age, balance is the main reason people fall and injure themselves. As we keep our feet flexible, we are able to balance better, so start now and show off your happy feet next time you go to a yoga class with or without the pedicure.

Drop me a note via my Expert page on Enritsch.com to find out more about my yoga classes and global yoga retreats. 

Namaste

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Elaine_Kelly

Elaine_Kelly says:

4 months 5 days ago
I could not find any on foot yoga so I made one. I tried to send it to enritsch to load but it didnt transfer. Will try another way today. Stand by for 24 hours.
@Mary

@Mary says:

4 months 6 days ago
Hello Elaine, can you recommend any good do-it-yourself yoga videos so that these poses can be practiced from the comfort of my own home, please? Mary S.
Tony

Tony says:

4 months 1 week ago
Yaheeey for foot yoga, which is arrrrrmaaaazing! T.x
Jumeirah Jane

Jumeirah Jane says:

4 months 3 weeks ago
Yes please to videos! JJ
Mikeherolds_351

Mikeherolds_351 says:

4 months 3 weeks ago
Cheers Elaine. I live in Dubai. Mike
Sarah

Sarah says:

4 months 4 weeks ago
I look forward to seeing the video with exercises, thanks Elaine. In gratitude, Sarah
Mikeherolds_351

Mikeherolds_351 says:

5 months 3 weeks ago
Can you post a list of your feet yoga class timings here? Which countries do you teach in? Mike
Elaine_Kelly

Elaine_Kelly says:

5 months 4 days ago
Hello Mike, Sadly I am away for the summer in Canada. I will return to Dubai in September. I am happy to post a video with some exercises for you on this blog. Will do this today and you can let me know what you think. Where do you live? Namaste, Elaine

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