Bringing some attention and intention to our daily practices can help us have a better relationship with our feet. After all, for many of us, our feet are our point of contact with the earth. These 5 practices strengthen our ability to maintain balance in our feet—and in all areas of our lives. Healthy feet are happy feet and they keep us connected in all areas of our lives.
Daily Foot Massage for Healthy Feet
For self-massage with oils, Ayurveda recommends sesame oil combined with your essential oil of choice. You can also choose a nurturing herb-infused option such as Bhajan Body and Face Oil from Yogi Bath and Beauty.
How to Give Yourself a Foot Massage
Wiggle each toe. Massage with oil across the ball of the foot. Then massage down the arch of your foot from the ball of big toe to the heel. Next massage down the arch of the foot from the ball of the pinky toe to the heel. Then, massage the heel itself. After this sequence, interlace your fingers with your toes and wiggle the toes back and forth a few times. With the fingers still interlaced between the toes, rotate the ankle about 10 times in each direction. Switch feet and repeat.
Note: Use just enough oil to nourish the skin and make it easy to give yourself a massage. You can put socks on after the massage or do this in bed before you go to sleep. Be careful of slipping and sliding if you walk around after the massage. You can also towel off your feet with a warm damp towel (think at-home spa treatment).
Increase Awareness of Your Feet
Stand in mountain pose with your eyes closed and observe where the effort of your feet is felt. Shift all the effort into the balls of the feet, then back into the heels, then over to the left side of your feet, and over to the right side of your feet. Shift from the inside edges of your feet to the outside edges of the feet and back again. Then, bring your awareness and effort so that it evenly distributed from front to back and side to side of each foot and both feet.
Build Ankle Strength for Healthy Feet
While you are sitting in staff pose (dandasana) or even in a chair, dorsiflex the feet by pulling your toes toward your knees. Then plantarflex the feet by pointing your toes away from the body. Invert the feet by drawing the soles of the feet toward each other. Then evert the feet by pressing the soles of feet away from each other. Do three to five rounds of this practice to build ankle strength for healthy feet.
Boost Your Balance
Any standing balance will do here, but I prefer to stick with a simple tree pose. Shift the effort of the body onto one foot, and create a kickstand with the opposite foot. (Like a tree pose with the toes on the ground). Create a strong foundation by distributing the effort evenly from front to back and side to side in the standing foot. And then begin to lift the opposite foot to a comfortable place on the standing leg (above or below the knee). During this pose, embrace the wobble and the movement from side to side in the ankle! This movement in the joint is actually strengthening the muscles and creating a supple responsiveness. Switch sides.
Increase Your Dexterity
While in mountain pose, establish a strong foundation in your feet. Press your toes strongly into the floor. Then lift all the toes away from the floor, creating a strong arch in the feet. Relax the toes. Press the big toe and pinky toe into the floor simultaneously while lifting the middle three toes. Switch feet.
Jenn Tarrant is a Phoenix-based C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, Senior Master Trainer for YogaFit Training Systems, and an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coach. She enjoys guiding students through deeply transformative experiences with the simplicity and ease of yoga. Jenn is available for private consultations locally and virtually. You can contact her directly: [email protected] or visit her website: jenntarrant.com for more information.