3 Top Tips For Preparing Your Feet & Lower Limbs
Everything you hear about yoga starting from the ground up is truer than you think. The tissues in your feet are connected by a full body web of fascia and have a profound effect on your bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, nervous system and internal organs.
Your feet are not only the foundation to all yoga asana but key in supporting your whole body to move with graceful ease.
In preparation for Susan Church and Orla Crosse’s Advanced Yoga for Lower Limbs and Pelvis module of our 300 Hour Advanced Teacher Training Course, we have put together 3 top tips for preparing your feet and lower limbs to help create a more sublime practice.
Tip 1 – Learn to disassociate your big toe
Your big toe has a lot of work to do in yoga and helping it move with strength and independence will benefit you. On it starts one of the facial meridians in your body and can have a profound effect on how your asana practice develops and grows.
Starting in infancy the big toe is associated with the Babinsky reflex which helps with rolling and movement and later turns into a postural reflex assisting in walking, movement and balance.
- With your feet hip-width apart and toes spread
- Sit back towards your heels and feel the balls of your feet and toes stretch comfortably
- Rock backwards and forwards over your feet to release the tissues across the bottom of your feet and toes,
- Now widen your feet by 3 inches and repeat
- Keep repeating until your feet are about 1 ½ feet apart
Tip 2 – Learn to disassociate your leg from your pelvis
It is imperative for both stable and fluid movement that our lower and upper bodies can move independently. Tight tissues and fascia that traverse these two parts of your body can inhibit and restrict your asana and cause unnecessary tensions and lead to loss of fluidity leading to pain and injury.
- Lie on your back in savasana with your pelvis in neutral
- Imagine your pelvis is fixed in this position and keep it here
- Taking your right knee bend it at about 90 degrees and rotate your bent leg in the largest circle you can manage without your pelvis moving. Let your knee out to the right side AND over your left knee where possible
- Rotate your leg in the opposite direction
- Repeat with your left leg
Tip 3 – Notice what your feet are doing when you walk – look for repeated pronation
While walking both your feet pronate and supinate in a natural movement. Those who have weakened arches or restrictions in their body (from feet to neck) may walk with a continuous pronation or supination. This can often lead to knee and hip problems just for starters. If this is the case we recommend some movements to help correct this.
- Walk slowly in bare feet and look down
- As you place your front heel down the weight should start on the little toe side of your heel with the big to side slightly lifted
- Then as the weight moves onto the centre and the heel starts to lift the weight shifts into the centre line of the foot and the big toe in planted to help you lift off for the next step
- If you find your feet rolling onto the big toe side instead then you need to rebalance your feet
- Try doing the sun salutation a few times on the balls of your feet – this will be a great start