Do you like your feet? Do you think they are too crooked, too big, too misshapen or too ugly? Many people have an antipathy toward their feet and assume that their feet are best “out of sight, out of mind”. Yet, it is only by strengthening, stretching, balancing and yes…loving your feet that the body can align. For the feet set the stage for the hip joints,low back, neck, and skull.
If the feet leak energy then the knees and hips will not stay afloat. A key bone in the foot is called the navicular, located between your heel and big toe. It provides buoyancy for the inner arch of your foot. By learning to elevate your navicular bone, you can “float the boat” of your inner arch. Paradoxically, the feet suggest both grounding (earth) and buoyancy (water). One of the largest ligaments of the foot is called the deltoid ligament. It is near your inner ankle and like the river delta where the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the “river” of your shin flows into your foot though the deltoid ligament. We encourage activating the feet in as many creative ways as possible: breaking out against a yoga strap, squeezing a block, lifting and spreading the webbing of your toes (think amphibious), standing on a tennis ball, pumping the arches and inverting the legs and feet into the air. When your feet are vital, you have more energy, endurance and balance.
For many people late in life, the feet become wooden, the toes like pegs and the arches stiff like planks. As people age, the fear of falling becomes the #1angst and people fall because their feet are not adaptable. Through standing poses, kneeling and seated poses we make the feet both flexible and resilient. We know that in the architecture of the body, the foundation of the feet is most important. When we build the temple of our body, we must always start from our essential footprint and build from the ground up.
Prajna Yoga offers The Path of Practice, a 200-Hour Training Program starting next month. This program begins at the feet and travels upward to the crown of the head.