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Yoga and Your Feet: Sole Mates
Your Feet Love Yoga, and Yoga Helps You Love Your Feet

Admit it - you rarely give any attention to your feet. Perhaps the only time you think about them is after they've spent several hours squeezed into ill-fitting shoes. Even during Yoga practice, when the instructor is telling you to spread your toes in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), or you're checking the position of your feet in Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), you probably just do what's necessary and move on to other aspects of the pose. But you may be missing out on one of Yoga's most blissful physical aspects - healthy feet and toes.

(Article continued below.)

A Yoga pose starts from the ground and works up, which means that every single standing pose requires work with your feet and toes. The feet are your foundation and if you spend a little time working with them, you'll be amazed at how much better your Yoga sessions flow. In fact, depending on the present condition of your feet, it may add a whole new dimension to your life.

What kind of shape are your feet in? Try Mountain - one of the most basic Asanas - and really concentrate on your feet. What are they doing? Is your weight spread evenly between both feet, or are you favoring one side because of discomfort in one of your soles? Are your arches lifting or not? How about your toes? Your toes should be stretched out wide, with spaces between each toe. Can your toes do that? Can they move independently of each other, or do some toes seem hopelessly stuck together? Do you have bunions or hammer toes? Are there other indications that your feet have been sorely neglected or abused? If this is starting to make you feel badly about the way you've treated your feet over the years - don't. You can start making up for that right now. For serious problems, get your feet to a podiatrist. For feet that are merely stiff and neglected, read on.

Sit down and give yourself a gentle foot massage. But don't just rub your feet mindlessly - use this time to really explore your feet and toes. Your feet contain 26 bones apiece - grasp each foot, squeeze the sides, pull the toes back and forth, side to side. See how all the bones, joints and connective tissues work together. Examine how one heel differs from the other. How does it feel when you rub your thumb firmly along your arch? Spend a lot of time with your toes - is your big toe numb? Does it need to be squeezed back to life? Can you interlace your fingers with your toes? Are there certain toes where this is difficult? If there are, then very carefully try to separate them. Never, ever be rough with your toes - honor them like the delicate but hardworking entities they are. If you keep working with your feet and toes on a regular basis, massaging some mobility into them, you will be rewarded with better foot health, and better standing poses too! And if you've heard about Reflexology, you probably also know that there are pressure points on the feet that correspond to certain parts of your body - doesn't your whole body feel better after a good foot massage?

Next page >> The Barefoot Asana >> Page 1, 2

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