Taking care of our feet with yoga

feet

These days I am rarely shove my feet into high heels or “stupid” but pretty shoes. I am more about the comfort and my feet are thanking me for it.

As a yoga teacher I teach and practice the same sequence for a week (as many of my yoga teachers do).

The sequence I teach my students is the sequence I practice at home over the same week.

And I usually like to have a theme each week, whether it is an anatomical focus or types of poses, such as twists, low back, balancing poses, feet …

This week my focus is feet. Feet are the roots of our body.

As one of my yoga teachers says, you have to go down to go up. To me that means we have to feel strong and grounded in our feet and legs to grow in our standing poses, such as Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

We treat our feet so badly. We shove them into shoes that are too small, too narrow, too high, too flat, too pointy … We stand on them too long and not properly. We wear the wrong shoes while exercising. We wear shoes that don’t give us enough support or the right support.

About 77% of Americans have experienced some sort of foot pain, according to a survey done by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

In a Yoga Journal article, Robert Kornfeld, a holistic podiatrist, says “I recommend that all my patients start yoga immediately. When you treat foot problems with yoga, you end up treating back pain, hip pain, all kinds of structural problems. …”

In another Yoga Journal article, Sherry Brourman, a physical therapist and yoga therapist, says yoga can help you develop balanced alignment in your feet, which can pay off with better alignment throughout your body. It can also prevent and heal foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and shin splints.

My sequence this week has us really focusing on grounding the four corners of our feet into the mat, stretching the feet and muscles, flexing and scrunching the toes.

Years ago I did what I called Feet Week on Go Fit Girl! In October 2011 I did a few posts all about feet.

The first post was an introduction to Feet Week and talked briefly about how we treat out feet: So many of us abuse our feet. We wear bad, unsafe, uncomfortable shoes. We stand for too long with bad or good shoes. We don’t wear the right shoes when we exercise. We don’t realize the care we really need to give our feet, which I think includes pedicures and massages.

The second post during Feet Week talked about shoes: Heels definitely create an unnatural position for your foot. Think Barbie feet. Stress and hairline fractures … Ouch! … Lower heels are better for your feet. This article states that going no higher than 2 inches is best and even that should be in moderation.

The conclusion of Feet Week posted a picture of an X-Ray of a foot in a high heel showing the physical stress of having your foot in this awkward and unnatural position.

In my yoga teacher training we focused on standing poses and feet for part of a Saturday session. This post really focused on feeling grounded and what can happen in our yoga practice and life when we aren’t.

Being grounded in our feet also helps us feel balanced (physically and mentally).

As we age (and we are all aging) we want to focus on feeling balanced in our core and feet to help us not fall. As we get older we start falling and then we are in jeopardy of breaking bones. And then life really sucks. We don’t want life to suck.

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