The feet are pretty amazing when you think about it. The whole weight of our body passes through them, they literally carry us through our lives. However unfortunately many of us stuff them into shoes for a large portion of time. This cramps the bones and muscles which can result in a loss of mobility which in turn has a knock on effect on the rest of the body. If the feet are imbalanced then so is the distribution of our weight which puts pressure on our joints. The good news is that through daily mobilisation of the joints (in our feet) and activities such as yoga we can open them out and positively influence the whole body.
A simple exercise to mobilise the feet: Sitting with legs in front of you, use left hand to pick right foot up onto left thigh (place a block or cushions under right knee if this feels like a strain). Take fingers of left hand inbeween toes of right foot. Hold for twenty deep breaths, then switch sides, do this everyday.
In Forrest yoga one of the key basic moves is ‘Active feet’, this involves pressing through the ball and heel of the foot with the toes flexing back towards the shins. This is not only great for the feet but also for the knees, hips and joints-the leg bones connected to the foot bones and all that!
In addition to supporting the anatomical structure of the body, having active feet also has a positive effect on the nervous system and makes us much more present and switched on in our bodies. By grounding ourselves through our feet we become better connected to the ground and earth but also better connected to ourselves. In Forrest yoga active feet is practiced in every pose apart from Savasana.
Some self care tips for happy feet:
*Massage your feet on a daily basis, focus on the inner arches and wiggling the bones which are next to the toes. Pay attention to areas which feel crunchy or sore. Be mindful not to compress the inner ankle as you do this. Standing on a foam roller or tennis ball is a nice way of massaging out the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot.
*Give your feet some naked time whenever possible, without shoes so that they can be free, if its chilly wear some toasty socks.
*If you run or are on your feet a lot (most people then!) get your trainers properly fitted.
*Don’t wear shoes that scrunch your feet up, avoid wearing heels.
*Book a foot massage or reflexology treatment-they are amazing and have a positive effect on the whole body.
*Pumice the bottoms of your feet regularly to avoid calusses building up
*If you suffer from pain in your foot, see a podiatrist about it as the knock on effects can influence your whole body
*Do yoga-I know I’m biased but it truly is amazing for your physical and mental wellbeing! Try a few classes and work out the style that suits you