Kick off your shoes and relax. It’s time to meet your feet. Have you ever thought about what a big job your feet have in your everyday activity? Your feet are your foundation. Therefore, your feet have a very big job and it’s important that you take care of them. Does this mean to run out and get a pedicure? Sure, why not. With summer around the corner it’s likely we’ll be wearing more open-toed shoes or flip-flops. Often times, flip-flops and other casual footwear do not lend much support. Therefore, the summer time will be a good excuse to give your feet a little extra TLC.
The human foot makes up 25 percent of all the bones in your body. True! The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons in each foot. Sherry Brourman, author of “Walk Yourself Well,” suggests we should give as much attention to our feet as we do our hips and back. Yoga can help you develop balanced alignment in your feet. As a result you can also have better alignment throughout your body. Having proper alignment stemming from your foundation (your feet) can prevent or heal foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and shin splits. As a Yoga instructor I gently remind my students to firmly root down through the four corners of their feet. Firmly press through the big toe (the ball of the foot) as well as through the pinky toe and the outsides of your heels. Exercising your feet may sound absurd but will certainly pay off in the long run. Here are four simple moves to help heal your heels, toes, and arches.
Weaving helps relieve symptoms of bunions. Weave your fingers of one hand between each of the toes of your opposite foot. With a firm grip, stretch and massage your toes and the ball of your foot. This will encourage mobility and help create openness between the toes.
Towel scrunches strengthens the arches and eases plantar fasciitis. Sit with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent at 90 degrees, with a towel spread under your feet. Scrunch your toes to grab a small amount of the towel and pull it toward you. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Palm Tree strengthens ankles and calves. Stand in Mountain Pose (standing straight) and lightly touch a wall for balance. Inhaling, lift your heels as high as possible: exhaling, bring your heels back to the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Squeeze and flex is good for restoring flexibility, relieving bunions and hammertoes. Sit in a chair with your heels on the floor. Inhale and flex your toes so there is space between all of them. Exhaling, squeeze your toes in to form a toe fist. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Our feet take a lot of abuse and often crammed into shoes, high heels, or shoes without much support. When our foundation is compromised our entire body feels the outcome. Having stability (from toe to head) will improve your posture and overall health. Go ahead and give your feet a break today!