This week I was teaching a Yoga Tune Up® class and was inspired to focus on the feet. I started the class by having everyone move to a wall and stand against it to evaluate our natural posture. We then tested our forward folds. I had the students work through a variety of exercises focused on the feet and hamstrings. My students moaned and groaned as they experienced totally new sensations. As I stood on my Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls scrubbing across the metatarsal of my right foot in total bliss it occurred to me that not long ago I also found these exercises uncomfortable and even painful. This inspired me to write a blog post about our wonderful, magical, oh so important feet!!
They take us everywhere we go, they help us move forward, jump for joy, reach for kisses and are literally the foundation on which we are built. The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and over one hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is unbelievably complex and shockingly overlooked.
Just spending 5-10 minutes per day checking in with your feet can make a huge difference. It can help with your balance, help reverse damage done by footwear(HIGH HEELS!!), relax you immensely and improve circulation.
You can quickly loosen your feet up by interlacing your fingers and toes while drawing your ankle in circles. By separating the toes you break down restrictions and increase mobility.
You can also come seated on your knees (sitting seiza) with the toes curled under. Start to sit back onto the heels bringing a stretch into the toes. This can be really intense; you can back off a bit by moving your upper body forward and placing some of the weight on your hands. Hold this for 1-2 minutes and then release. I usually come forward into table top position and tap the tops of my feet to get the blood flowing. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
If you have Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls you can use them to give yourself a foot massage. This one is my absolute favorite!! I love love LOVE a good foot rub and this is even better because you are in control!
Come to standing with the original size Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls on the floor in front of your feet. You can do both feet at once or one after the other. I like to do both feet at once forcing me to put my full weight on the balls and work my balance as well. Start with the balls just in front of your heels, scrubbing side to side moving your weight from one foot to the other. Spend about a minute here and then move the ball forward about two inches. Continue the whole length of your foot all the way to the toes. When you finish scrubbing the foot try picking the balls up with the toes.
These are a few quick and easy exercises to get you started. Spend a few minutes each day stretching and moving your feet; the results will be huge! Don’t forget to test and retest! Start by spending some time in forward fold taking note of how it feels. When you have finished check in once again with your fold and see if it feels any different.