I went to a lovely yoga workshop this weekend where we were invited to rediscover the spring in our feet, ankles and knees.
As someone who has struggled with dodgy knees in the past, and who works hard to keep my knees and legs strong to avoid the pain that creeps in if I don't, I was particularly interested in what the teacher said... that if your feet aren't animated and vibrant, your ankles and knees and the whole rest of your posture can suffer.
I looked down at my feet, trained from years of yoga to be more alive than many I see, to notice that they are rather less than the vibrant source of life that they could be.
We were invited to try this...
stand up tall, but without locking out any part of the body, you should still be able to move through the shoulders, knees and ankles. Then bend the knees just a little, and try lifting the heels of the ground. Perhaps one, then the other, and then both if your balance permits. Try springing a bit, staying on the balls of the feet, sort of bouncing, feeling the feet come alive.
The strength and activity required will soon become obvious, you might find you tire quickly, or if you are strong, you might start to feel more alive and springy after doing this for a few minutes. Allow the spring to move up through the body, the legs, hips, spine, and shoulders and neck responding and working with the springy balance.
Our foot foundation
The feet are the foundation for most of us. They are the basis for standing and for supporting the whole rest of our posture. They are the source of our balance and connection to the rest of our bodies. They are packed full of nerves, alert to many sensations once we pay attention. Our focus and awareness can be heightened by developing our attention back into our feet. To neglect them is tantamount to letting the garden get rather weedy so you can't see the ground anymore.
For those with disengaged or even flat feet, there are a few postures that will be great for bringing them to life. You could try...
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose, arms and heels lifted)
- Utkatasana (Squatting)
- or Vrksasana (Tree Posture, one legged balance) to reenergise yourself from the feet up and reinvigorate them back into focus.
See this link for a few more ideas:
(although some of the more advanced postures I would avoid without supervision)
Guess what my classes will be exploring this week...
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There are many inspiring stories of how practicing yoga has helped to support people with serious health problems back to full health. Here is a wonderful account of an NBA basketball player struck down with a serious kidney condition which resulted in a kidney transplant, and how his dedicated practice of yoga helped save his life and his career as a professional athlete...
Read more in this inspiring post by Trevor Kearney...
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