“When the will is ready, the feet are light.” ~ proverbs
I am not ashamed to say that I have a bit of a foot fetish. Maybe it’s because, being a yoga teacher, I look at feet all day long. Our feet carry an enormous burden. Supporting the weight of our bodies and gravity, we often cramp them into uncomfortable shoes (ladies, we all know those Jimmy Choo’s don’t give a whole lot of wiggle room), and neglect them of the support they need (summer is flip-flop weather). And unless you are a foot model (or a yoga teacher), most likely you aren’t giving your feet the love they deserve.
Well I’m here to tell you that when you take care of your feet, your entire body will be very grateful for it……..and here’s why.
As we get older, gravity begins to take its toll on our entire body, and that includes the bottoms of the feet. If you were to take a closer look, chances are you would see that the arches of your feet are collapsing, causing either a completely flat foot, over-pronating foot (more weight on the inner foot) or over-supinating foot (more weight on the outer edge of the foot). These types of weight-bearing abnormalities can cause extreme pain, often leading to plantar fasciitis, knee pain, weak and painful lower back and even shoulder and neck pain. Sound familiar? Well, here’s the good news; Yoga can help!!!
Yoga teachers often call feet the “roots” of the body. Unless you’re standing on your head or your hands or lying down, your feet are what support you, rooting you to the earth. A solid yoga practice can help you become more aware of your feet. When done correctly, standing postures like mountain pose, downward facing dog and tree pose encourage you to lift your arches and even out the weight of your foot, thus creating more balance. Using straps around the ball of your foot in forward folds and spreading your toes as often as possible can also help strengthen the feet. Strong healthy feet can ultimately lead to a stronger core and less pain not only in the feet themselves but throughout the entire body.
And while we’re on the subject, when was the last time you got a nice foot rub or treated yourself to a real pedicure (you too boys)? It’s time to treat your feet with the respect they deserve. Consider investing in good supportive shoes year around. At the very least, purchase sole inserts for your shoes, boots and sandals to give your arches more support. Take your shoes off when you get home. Use a tennis ball (or my favorite, a yoga Tune-Up ball) and massage the bottom of your foot with it. While sitting on the couch, work your foot muscles by picking objects off the floor with your toes. With so many wonderful organic, earth friendly lotions, oils, gels and scrubs out there, your feet can look and feel amazing in no time.
So remember, the next time you are at the salon and the nail technician asks if you want a ten minute foot rub for $10 bucks, say YES! You’re entire body will thank you. And if you don’t think you have enough time…..it’s time to seriously consider re-evaluating your priorities.
And now some inspiration for all things feet & toes……..