Outdoor Yogalovers already know that being outdoors is bringing you closer to nature and if practised on bare feet it is a complete experience. The connection with the earth and your body helps you to ground more.
Focussing on the feet is also a perfect way to deepen your yoga practise; because you will focus on subtle movements and small sensations. A littlle movement or shift in dividing your weight over the feet could influence your full yoga practise. Bij pressing the balls of the feet strongly into the ground, you will activate the quadriceps (the muscles on the front of your thighs) which also changes the full use of your legs in the practise.
A fourth of the bones of the body are in the feet and a mis-alignment in one of these bones could influence the rest of the body. Problems originating in the feet could end up in pain in knees, hips or lower back.
Good "yoga-feet" with active and mobile toes will bring every pose alive. In standing poses the feet will help you to connect to the earth and in inverted poses the feet will pull the energy up. Make space for your feet and toes: stretch your toes regularly and check during your yoga practise where and how you divide your weight over your feet.
Crucial for every standing pose and balancing pose is the building of a strong (foot)foundation:
Make sure you are pressing both feet equally. Place your feet flat on the ground and lift up your toes, spread all your toes as far as possible and press the four corners of your feet active into the ground: the ball of the big toe and little toe and the inside- and outside of the heels. Try to lift up your inner arches of the feet and press more with the outer line of your feet. Place your toes spreaded back down to the ground. Feel your feet alive and active :)
Add these three exercises regularly to your yoga practise:
- Stretch your toes: sit on your hands and knees, bring your weigh into the the balls of the feet and make sure that every toe is touching the ground. Move your hips to your heels slowly and see where you are able to stay. Upright is pretty intense, so it could be that you feel like holding your hands to the ground (or 2 yogablocks) for some less pressure to your feet and toes. Start with one minute and slowly work towards holding 2-3 minutes of this exercise. Getting out of the pose is done slowly by going back to hands and knees and removing the toes. You could tap the toes gently to the floor. The more often you stretch your toes, the easier it gets :)
- Practise with spreading the toes: Stand up straight, press the ball of the foot in the ground and lift your toes. See if you are able to start first by only bringing the big toe down, while the others stay up. Then bring the rest of the toes down. After this, repeat the other way around. Lift up all the toes with exeption of the big toes. Finally: try to lift up the big toe and the smallest toe only, while the middle three stay down. Also fun to try those with your eyes closed for some extra challenge!
- Bring your hands and feet together in yogaposes: for example in Badhakonasana (Butterfly pose) or Gomukhasana (Cow face pose / Shoelace legs) you could bring every finger in the spaces between the toes. Or give yourself a nice footmassage! Another exercise is to interlace the toes of both feet, which stretches the muscles of the toes.