Feet are the unsung heros that I am celebrating this month. The cavalier way I assume they will always take me where I need to go is no longer acceptable. I am going to consciously try and honor the work they do to make my presence felt at work, at home and at play.
The feat of engineering known as the human foot is made up of 26 bones (including the ankle), 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The ability to stand is dependent on our feet and balancing on our big toes.
Our feet function as shock absorbers and move us through our world. The amazing construction of the foot distributes our weight from heel to toe as we step slowly or quickly, and our metatarsals defy gravity, pushing away the ground beneath us to move us onto the next step. In a yoga practice we may flex our toes in order to increase our balance and root them in our mats to ground ourselves.
Paying attention to our feet by doing exercises that help strengthen muscles, release taught ligaments and tendons and support the foot through its full range of motion can increase our overall comfort in our bodies as a whole and decrease the pressures and instability that can occur when our feet are out of alignment.
Lift and lower your toes. You want your pinkie toe to rise to the same level as your big toe. Repeat 4 times. Then, on the lift, spread your toes as wide as you can 4 times.
Great Toe Down
Leave all 10 toes up. Press just the big toes down and up. Repeat 8 times. Then do the same with the pinkie toes 8 times. Then alternate big toes and pinky toes 8 times.
Rock onto the outer edge of your foot and then the inner edge a few times loosening up the ankles.
Lift just the heel of your right foot so you’re on the ball of that foot. Slowly drop it down to the floor. Repeat 8 times. Then, with the heel lifted, roll the ball of the foot from side to side. Repeat on the other side.
In addition to developing flexibility in the forefoot, this exercise helps to stimulate the reflexology points in your feet that correspond to the heart and lungs—a great exercise to do prior to a cardio workout
Grip the ground with your toes and release. (Grip it rather than curl the toes under.) Repeat 4 times
Position your fingers between each toe and press downward and away from the center of the foot. Hold for five to 10 breaths.Take a few minutes to do these moves each day.
These exercises, courtesy of Stacey Lei Krauss/The willPower Method® , develop smart neuromuscular connections (reconnecting) with your feet. Smart feet are the base of a strong, healthy kinetic chain, and can lead to greater function all the way up the body.
And last but not least – Walking is the number one exercise you can do for your feet, and if you can manage to do it barefoot in the sand so much the better. By exerting a little effort and putting your gratitude into action you will improve your balance, flexibility and alignment.