Have any of you seen BBC Four’s The Incredible Human Hand and Foot series? Really amazing!
It got me thinking about how fundamental our feet are in daily life — and in Bikram yoga. The ability to balance is fundamental to yoga practice. Feet connect our bodies to the earth. An incredibly complex array of bones, muscles, nerves and tendons works hard to keep us standing.
This is most evident in the balancing series. Poses like standing head to knee actually depend on the connection between the sole of the foot and the gripping hands. We spend a lot of time thinking about major muscle groups, e.g. locking the knee and tightening the abs, but we should give more consideration to the humble foot!
During your next Bikram class take the time to concentrate on and appreciate what your feet are doing. When you think about it every posture calls for your feet in some form — even in savansana you bring the heels together to relax the feet. In the standing series focus on planting your foot and distributing your weight. During the floor series pay attention to flexion: point your toes in bow pose, relax your feet in pavanamuktasana.
Our feet spend most of their time confined in shoes, which may or may not be comfortable or anatomically supportive. Use your barefoot time in hot yoga to work build strength and flexibility in your feet, just like you are doing in the other parts of your body. After all, they are the foundation!
For more tips on working your feet read ‘Feet First’ in Yoga Journal.