We see a lot of bare feet in Yoga classes. Panning the room, I can see swollen and discolored feet, toes that jam together, ankles that turn outward, flat feet, corns and calluses. And then I see these same feet hold a body up in Warrior and Tree Poses and I am amazed at the resilience of our feet!
But, if I were to ask these students about their feet, I’d hear quite a few complaints and ailments. Special orthotics are common for our demographic, which got me doing a little research on why that is.
We’ve lost touch with our feet!
Lifting the arch, rotating the ankle and bending the toes forward and back are quite challenging tasks for many of our students. All of these natural movement patterns are necessary to keep our feet healthy. We need our feet for walking, balancing, stair stepping, driving, tiptoeing, and so many other daily functions. For that reason, I consciously incorporate more foot work into both my Gentle and Chair Yoga classes. I also learn and share some fancy footwork facts from other teachers.
Here’s something Carin, a Chair Yoga Teacher, thinks is worth sharing with EVERYONE! It is from The Book of Exercise and Yoga for Those with Parkinson’s Disease: Using Movement and Meditation to Manage Symptoms by Lori A. Newell.
“Before standing it is good to warm up the feet and ankles, especially if you have been sitting for a long time. Many falls happen while transitioning from sitting to standing. Sitting for long periods can reduce the circulation in the legs, impairing balance. Toe lifts will restore circulation to the legs.”
In these videos, I share some ideas and reasons why we need to keep our feet moving and staying healthy!
Foot Yoga: Movements to Power your Brain and Strengthen your Feet – with Sherry Zak Morris, E-RYT
Increase your coordination, circulation and mind/body connection while strengthening your feet and hands with this progressive, asymmetrical movement pattern. It starts easy and gets more challenging. The more your practice, the better you’ll get! Give it a try right now!
Can’t stand on your feet to do balancing postures? Try these Seated Foot Health Sequences
We often have students in our Chair Yoga classes who cannot stand for a variety of reasons. That is why offering up feet strengthening movements are important to keep their feet, ankles and legs strong for when they do stand and walk. These movements will also help relieve pain and swelling for those who cannot put a lot of weight on their feet.
Take some time each day to appreciate all that your feet do for you throughout the day. And maybe do some Foot Yoga to keep your feet happy too!
Let’s keep moving!
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CREDITS: Author, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist
Editor, Maria Perez, Certified Yoga & Group Fitness Instructor