Happy Feet

haha! I wish!

I’ll be the first to admit that my feet take a lot of abuse. I walk everywhere in cheap flip flops, I run in old sneakers, and when I’m at work I wear at least 2 inches of very cute heel, and then proceed to lift boxes, climb ladders and stand on my feet at least 3+ hours a day.  My feet are a mess, but thanks to yoga, they are slowly starting to recover from 30 years of neglect and abuse.

It’s not surprising that the foot is a much more delicate instrument then we realize. A single human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 tendons and 20 muscles (if you consider the extensor hallucis brevis to be an individual muscle and not a part of the extensor digitorum brevis … and who doesn’t?! ::wink::).  That’s A LOT of mechanics for something we rarely stop to think about.

What’s the  best way to make cranky, sore, overworked, neglected feet feel happy and free again?

YOGA! duh 🙂

Yoga helps strengthen and stretch the muscles of the feet in ways you can’t get anywhere else.  Most yoga teachers will, at one time or another, talk about the feet and the important of even weight distribution.

Standing tall in Mountain Pose, spreading the feet wide to support Warrior II, and any balance pose you can think of all strengthen each muscle, ligament and tendon in the foot.

Toes pose and pressing the top of the opposite foot into the sole of the other are great ways to stretch and lengthen tight feet.

Here’s a short yoga sequence designed to make happy feet — something we can all use now that we’re midway through a summer of cute heels, cheap flip flops and long summer runs!

Have fun, enjoy and breathe into your feet 🙂

Yoga for Happy Feet
mountain pose
mountain pose with toes lifted towards knees
starting with pinkie toes, rest one toe down on the mat at a time
forward fold
half-way lift
plank (pressing heels back)
low plank
upward facing dog (press tops of feet down)
downward facing dog

three-legged dog (pressing standing ankle down towards mat)
step forward to runner’s lunge
hover torso with airplane arms
crescent lunge (focus on lift of back foot and pressing down of front foot)

hero pose
child’s pose

close your mini practice with this double self-foot massage:
– from child’s pose, sit up on knees (padding if needed)
– behind you, bring top of one foot to rest on the sole of the other
– sit back on your heels like in toes pose
– press the top of the foot into the sole of the other
– you can slide you foot down, heel to toes, slowly or gently rock side to side
– repeat on the other side
(this lovely exercise came to me via Lauren Saraiva who learned it from Jacqui Bonwell.)

Here’s to happy, healthy, strong feet!!


2 responses to “Happy Feet

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