When was the last time that you thanked your feet for carrying you to your destination – day after day, year after year?
As long as we are healthy, we take it for granted that our body functions as it should do.
I used to bush-walk and we often talked about boots, orthotics, dome under the ball of the foot, corns and bunions. No-one of these topics are sexy but as we age the shape of the feet change and we cannot ignore this.
To keep the small muscles in foot to stay active we need to exercise our toes which are closed in shoes most of the year.
Let’s start with the easiest form of exercise: walking barefoot.
You can do it on the beach or walk on the grass. Both options are emotionally grounding activities and allow the small muscles in your feet to stretch and strengthen and joints to move.
Be mindful when you walk barefoot. Notice how you roll onto the ball of the foot and then you push away from the ground. Progressively increase the time you walk, do not overdo it as you might end up with sore feet. The sand will dry your feet so use a moisturiser after walking!
Daily routine to maintain flexibility and strength in the toes:
I practice the above poses sitting on a folded blanket.
Sit towards the rounded edge so your hips roll a bit forward, legs extending forward and keep your feet hip width apart. Aim to keep your spine upright.
- Observe your feet in a relaxed state. Notice the difference between right foot and the left!
- Flex your toes towards you. Feel that you stretch the back of the legs. If you are an experienced yogi, pull up your knee caps and quadriceps – just as if you were standing on your feet. Move your toes away from you. Repeat this cycle 5 times – 2 or 3 times a day.
- 2. Spread your toes. Observe if there is an asymmetry between the right and left foot. If you have a bunion like me the joint stiffens and the gap between the big toe and second toe decreases.
- Make a fist with your toes. Repeat this cycle 5 times – 2 or 3 times a day.
For a bit of challenge and fund try the following:
Bend the legs and bring the soles of the feet together. Align your heels. This is the cobblers’ pose (or badhakonasana). Now move your toes away from each other.
Visualise interlacing your fingers. Now try to interlace your toes, starting with the little toes. Try the other side.
You can do these poses with your hands too. They will help with the management of arthritis, will keep to keep the joints more mobile.
Crunching the tissue paper:
Once you finished the sitting poses come up to standing and get a tissue.
Place it on the ground with one corner facing one foot (hard surface is better than soft). The aim is to crunch the issue until it disappears under your toes! Try with the other foot with a new tissue!
Yoga can be done anywhere and you do not need the latest leotard!
Try a new colour of nail polish – maybe to match or contrast your yoga mat 😊!
Enjoy the practice!