It is all about our feet. Starting from the roots, the ground up, and building a strong foundation. Our feet couldn't be more important to our overall health but are often forgotten. We don't usually pay our feet any attention, that is until they start to ache and swell and it hurts to stand or walk or participate in your favorite activities. If any of you have ever suffered from Plantar Facititis, you know what I'm talking about. Your feet change more than any other part of your body because of age, posture, weight and injuries.
In yoga we talk about finding our foundations, the four corners of our feet and spreading our yogi toes. Our balance and our strength begins with our feet. They support us when working on balancing poses like Tree or Warrier III and help us to feel strong and grounded in standing postures, such as Warrior II or Mountain Pose. To find the four corners of your feet connect the ball of your foot under your big toe to the mat, then connect the inside edge of the heel, then the ball of your foot under your baby toe and finally the outside edge of the heel. Spread the toes and then connect each toe to your mat. Notice how that connection to the earth and your mat feels under your foot. Do you feel grounded and supported?
Thai Yoga Massage and Reflexology are holistic healing techniques that assist in relieving tension and improving health by massaging and stretching reflexes and energy (Sen) lines in the legs and feet. Thai Yoga Massage and Reflexology can be performed on any one, of any age, with modifications made for specific conditions such as pregnancy, pre or post surgery, children or heart conditions. Reflexes in the feet correspond to every gland, organ and part of the body, applying pressure to these reflexes can provide the following benefits:
1. Improved circulation
2. Reduce stiffness
3. Boost the immune system
4. Improve lymphatic drainage
5. Relieve stress
6. Increase range of motion
7. Improve sleep and
8. Elevate mood
Here are some simple self care techinques that can help you maintain the health of your feet and allow to you continue to feel healthy and strong:
1. Moisturize daily
2. Trim nails after a bath or shower
3. Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly
4. Elevate your feet
5. Keep your feet clean and dry
Maintaining mobility and strength in your feet and ankles is essential. Neglect of the feet, ankles and calves can lead to decreased mobility, weakness and sometimes pain. Here are a few exercises you can do at home to help maintain mobility in the feet and ankles:
1. Massage the bottom of your foot with a massage ball, racket ball or tennis ball. Start by rolling the ball under the foot, massaging into the arch, heel and balls of the foot.
2. Spread and squeeze your fingers between your toes. Start by putting a finger in between each toe then alternate by squeezing the fingers with your toes and spreading the toes apart with your fingers.
3. Circle the ankles, spread the toes wides, point and flex the foot. Find any movement in the feet and ankles that get them moving.
4. Gently massage your foot any chance you get. :) It only takes a few moments to give your whole foot a gentle massage. Starting with your toes, your arch, the heel and even the top of the foot. Get the blood flowing and encourage mobility in the feet.
I would love to hear what you do to look after your legs and feet and or if you'd like to learn more about the techniques I've mentioned above.