Doesn’t that look like heaven for feet?
The average person takes about 10,000 steps a day. Although we perhaps don’t give them much thought, our feet work quite hard throughout the day and they form our physical foundation. If there are problems in the foundation, for example, if we are not mindful of the way we stand or with the way we set our feet in yoga postures, we may begin to notice aches and pains in other areas of the body.
Focus on the Feet with Asana:
The position of the feet is especially important in standing postures. They are the part of the body that touches the ground and form the foundation for the pose. If the feet are not aligned correctly or if the body weight is off center, it becomes difficult to create a strong, centered and spacious pose.
The intention in standing postures is to distribute the weight of the body evenly between the outer and the inner edges of the feet and also between the heel and the ball of the foot. Try to cultivate an awareness of the four corners of the feet: the base of the big toe, the base of the little toe, the inner heel and the outer heel.
Practice Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with a focus on exploring how to build your foundation. Spread the toes and feel the soles of your feet grounding into the earth. Allow your weight to sink downwards while at the same time feeling the crown of your head lift towards the sky. As the body weight sinks down, draw the energy up and in.
Virabhadrasana I and II
In Virabhadrasana I and II (Warrior I and Warrior II), take a few moments to notice the position of the feet. Feel the earth’s energy coming in through the soles. Pay attention to the distribution of your body weight. Notice if you are favoring any particular area of the foot by putting more weight in that area. Gently, with tiny shifts, redistribute your weight in the feet to find an even balance.
According to ancient teachings, the feet represent humility and peace and are sometimes recognized as a point of divine contact between human beings and the earth. In both Christianity and Buddhism, washing the feet is a symbol of purification.
Practice Bhadda Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) with a forward fold, bringing the forehead towards the feet as a gesture of humility and introspection.
Stimulating Energy and Circulation in Your Feet
According to reflexology, energy meridians that culminate in the feet and hands connect all of the organs and glands in the body. Massaging the feet can send healing energy to the corresponding area of the body.
As soon as my kids walk in the door, off come the socks and shoes. I think we can probably take a cue from this and walk barefoot whenever possible. Spread your toes on the ground beneath you. When you can’t walk barefoot, make sure you take care of your feet by wearing comfortable shoes.
Another way to massage the feet is with a tennis ball. Place a tennis ball on the floor and while standing, roll the ball under the soles of your feet to stimulate circulation. This feels amazing for tired feet.
In yoga we traditionally we practice in bare feet. This is for safety reasons and to avoid slipping while in the poses. It also connects us to the energy of the earth and brings stimulates the many energy points in our feet.