Think more about your feet

Published: Sep 30, 2016 by Lucy Tennyson

Last week we focussed on the autumn equinox, when night and day are equal in length, marking the change in seasons from summer into autumn. Reflecting on that in our yoga practice, we explored balance, and how we can become more grounded to prepare for the winter months. Where better to start than with our feet?

The feet are easily overlooked until the time comes when they stiffen up and make themselves known by refusing to cooperate when we want to balance,  kneel, walk or run, for example. They are a good indicator of how well balanced we are in life.

If you practise at home this week, start with some warm ups – lying down first if your back is tired and bringing the knees into the chest, gently stretching and moving the feet and ankles. You could do bridge, pushing down firmly into your feet as you inhale up. Then turn over and add any of child, cat and downward dog, and a prone backbend, before coming to standing. See if you can remember the standing breath sequences, working with the inhale and exhale. 

Now do some work for the feet – moving and stretching the toes, lifting the heels, and balancing on one leg in a balance such as a knee hug, tree, or Warrior 3.

A well known writer on yoga Leslie Kaminoff from the US (I went to his workshop in Cambridge recently – more on that in our next class) also has plenty to say on the subject. Watch the yoga practitioner’s feet in this dynamic moving sequence. Watch the yoga practitioner’s feet in this dynamic sequence on the Yoga Journal website.

She’s certainly working all of her 66 joints in her feet. Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. The 52 bones in your feet make up about a quarter of all the bones in your body.  

Leslie Kaminoff says that foot injuries haven’t declined despite the advent of hugely expensive trainers. “Nature has given us these all-terrain vehicles” he says  - so perhaps walking barefoot is something we can all try to do more often.


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