Updated: Aug 23, 2022
Did you know that touching the others' person's feet in India is a sign of respect?
In Yoga, our feet are part of the Karmendriyas - or the organs of action - how beautiful to give our feet such deserved importance! Why not then touch our own feet as a sign of respect for all the weight they carry from our bodies and emotions.
"Emotions?! Are we talking about feet"?!
Yes! If we are on a "less good" day, we might be "stomping" more, causing more tension. When our emotions are low, we know our body suffers too. Research points out that even our immune system is affected. Not surprisingly, our joints pay the most - just one foot has 30 joints, 26 bones and around 100 tiny muscles! I know!...
In our classes, we "bang" about the feet. Those lovely arches - our fault- tend to be weak, flatter than pancakes! But there are things we can do.
First thing, first. YOUR BIG TOE IS YOUR IMPORTANT ONE!! Stop this nonsense of bringing the small toe to the floor first- that just makes it worse.
Remember, Yoga is all about going up, up, up! So, lift, lift, lift those arches, with your big, big, big toe first, first, first!!
Watch the video on finding your ideal standing posture - one of the most important postures in Yoga!
We learn how to stand, then we learn how to move/walk, and after we learn to run - this learning doesn't stop after our first steps! You shouldn't run before you know how to stand correctly. And, like everything in our lives, this learning is a daily (reeducation) practice - I mean standing; please do not run every day, for your joint's sake!
"I give up! I'll just get insoles".
Sure!... great!... But why not actually occupy yourself with the best pass-time around? The activity which loves your feet? No, not reflexology! No, not Thai Foot Massage! - Yoga! Hurrah! You got it!
When I hear saying that one is getting insoles, I reply wonderful. Still, that is not an excuse not to exercise. And let's be honest, when do we exercise the muscles in the feet?
The fault in our body's "tensegrity" only happened because we didn't exercise enough or walked on our tiny toes... like a duck! Sorry, I couldn't stop myself! BIG TOE FIRST!!
So, let us stop this shame of doing the simpler stuff and let's start doing something important for ourselves. Here is an exercise to lift your arches and improve your overall balance.
In our tradition we have a say:
Vidya (or the correct knowledge) is power, and avidya (or ignorance) is not an excuse!
When we talk of a flat foot, it is not the Pes Calvus but the pronation of the foot. And consequent over-stretching (especially) of the medial arch or the arch from your heel (calcaneus) to your big toe.
It is distinguished in the following picture. In Yoga, we work on (re-) acquiring and maintaining the right strength so we keep the optimal alignment visible when we look at our Aquiles (calcaneal) tendon.
But enough of A&P! What I want us to understand is that our optimal foot position requires us to exercise our lower leg muscles. The Gastronomes and Soleus (the Tricep Suree or your calf muscles) and your tibialis anterior or the shin muscle. Sorry! I did say no more A&P!
In our Yoga classes, we always check your standing posture. We sometimes walk on our mat in our Yoga Kriya class (our Movement-based class). That right! We make people move on your mat!
During my previous Yoga Teacher Training, we go repeatedly through this straightforward exercise which is excellent for the lower legs, promoting a conscious upright position of the body. We also loved it because it breaks the ice, making us look in each other's eyes and greet each other, building on confidence and social skills and ultimately a big giggle. So simple, so lovely, so Yoga!
No need for expensive self-help coaches! Just get doing Yoga, and you get the triple whammy - physical, emotional & mental benefits! Pow!
In a more serious note, we are so pressured to do the most difficult things with our bodies that we ignore the benefits of the simpler and most "cost-effective" and efficient exercises. So, let's get standing and walking properly!
Thank you to all my teachers for the excellent and helpful knowledge they offered and keep offering me. I hope you are as proud of me as I am proud of being part of our yoga family.
And, dear reader, I hope this will just get you curious about your one self, your body and the simpler things which work just fine!
Now, let us walk! And with confidence!
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Marcio has recently finished his Thai Foot Massage module, part of the Thai Yoga Massage course he finished last year. He is now offering this service.
Love your feet.