When I was a little girl I was very interested in reflexology. I don't remember how I became interested in it, but I do remember I had a chart that showed how the different parts of the feet correlate with the different parts of the body. If one of my parents had a headache, I knew to massage the toes. For tense neck and shoulders I rubbed the "toe necks." For back pain I massaged the arch of the foot.
Now that I'm an adult and a yoga teacher, I understand a different kind of correlation between the feet and the body: The strength and flexibility of the feet affect the strength, alignment, flexibility, and ease of your whole body.
I've had clients reduce or eliminate knee, hip, and back pain with exercises for the feet. Here's a quick and easy 6 step series you can do at home.
- Start with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing forward.
- Slowly elevate up onto your toes and lower gently back down for 3 repetitions. Work up to comfortably holding in the up position for a 3-5 breaths.
- Take 12-14 small steps on your heals, with toes raised.
- Take 12-14 small steps on the outer edges of your feet, with the inner edges raised.
- Take 12-14 small steps on the inner edges of your feet, with outer edges raised.
- From a normal standing position, raise and separate your toes out as wide as possible.
After your feet practice take a break by slowly bending and straightening your knees, then rotate each ankle around a few times in each direction. This practice will help you build strength and flexibility in your feet and increase ease throughout your body.
For more information and advice about the health of your feet, please check out this recent video Angela and I recorded about her Yoga for Healthy Feet workshop that ran back in March (and again this Saturday, July 12th).
Angela's Yoga for Healthy Feet Workshop is always a big hit, and we've had a couple of last-minute cancellations for Saturday's workshop, so please visit our Workshops page or call us if you'd like to register.
If you've read this far into the newsletter, you're in for a Feet Treat! We're running a little contest from now through end of day tomorrow (Friday). Post a quick picture of your feet yoga practice on Instagram or Facebook (tag it with #rryogaroom) for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
P.S. We have just a few spots left for Renewing Your Spirit, our beach yoga retreat that's coming up July 23-27. Join Angela and me for Gentle & Hatha Yoga, workshops, and lot of fun beach activities with a really wonderful group of retreat participants. We're so looking forward to it!
For details visit our Renewing Your Spirit Beach Retreat page.