Yesterday I had the privilege of teaching yoga to a spirited group of seniors in La Jolla, CA. It was our first class together so I started with the foundation, our feet.
I teach my students that all postures and life in general, start with a wide and steady foundation. And after years of practice, my feet now a half size bigger, reflect that.
My students were not surprised when I told them that according to the NIH (National Institute of Health) falling is the leading cause of injury death for seniors over the age of 65. But they were surprised that a short yoga practice might reduce falls by helping them stay steady and connected to their feet.
Relaxing with tea after class, the students were excited about the “foot work” we did. One said, “I think you are on to something. I thought losing balance was all in my head but after that practice, I know keeping vitality and energy in my feet is important. Right now my feet feel happy.” She smiled. “And I can do this while watching TV.”
If you would like to increase the happiness in your feet here are six simple steps to practice at home:
- Imagine you could breathe with your feet. Take a deep breath in and bring attention to your feet, lift your toes, spread them wide, and as you exhale relax your feet. Repeat 4X
- Hold hands with your feet! Spread your toes wide and wiggle your fingers in between your toes. Gently side your fingers up to the webbing of your toes. Take a deep breath in as you encourage your toes to gently stretch apart. While holding hands with your feet, circle your ankle in one direction, then the other.
- Slide your fingers over the top of toes and moving with your breath, gently curl your towards your heel. Take 3 deep breaths as you stretch the top of your feet.
- With your fingers under your toes, take a full breathe in as you curl your toes up and open the soles of your feet.
- Tap or slap the sole of your foot starting from the ball of your foot all the way down to the heel and back.
- Take a moment to notice any vitality or aliveness you may feel in that foot. Now bring the same love and attention to your other foot.
Ginger and I celebrate Halloween and Yoga with a Happy Heart and Happy feet!