Your feet are such an important part of your body, yet they are often overlooked or even forgotten, unless they hurt. And if your feet hurt, it can have ripple effects on the entire body, affecting your mood, your gait pattern as you walk, and even how the knees and hips are functioning. When our feet are healthy and strong, they really create a solid base and foundation for our fitness practice and movement through life. Stacey Lei Krauss, creator of Cardio Yoga and a pioneer of foot fitness, once said a little metaphor that has stuck with me ever since: We treat our bodies as temples, and if your body is a temple, then your feet are that temple’s foundation. In a yoga practice we often refer to our feet as our roots in Vriksasana (Tree Pose) and the base of our mountain in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). If you’ve ever participated in any energy healing or simply walked barefoot along the beach, you know that the soles of the feet are a gateway to balancing our emotions. Yet despite knowing all of this, as fitness instructors and as avid movers and participants in fitness classes, how often do you really spend time focusing attention solely (pun totally intended) on your feet?? If you were like me, probably not much.
Under the guidance of Stacey Lei Krauss I learned several techniques for improving foot fitness and then went on to further study anatomy, myofascial massage, and trigger point techniques to learn more about how I can strengthen my feet like any other area of my body.
At least once a month I try to offer a Foot Fitness class open to anyone who would like to learn more about self care techniques you can use to help alleviate foot pain, reduce cramping, and overall improve your relationship with their feet. This class is open to instructors and students alike, and focuses on self massage, rolling out myofascial tissue in the sole of the foot, and sequencing an active warm up for the feet and ankles before beginning any physical activity like running, hiking, yoga, or barre.
If you’re curious about how you can start working on your own foot fitness, try incorporating the massage techniques in the video below into your day. You don’t have to do all of them at once (but if you can spare 20 minutes it does feel ahhh-mazing!). Pick and choose a few to do in the morning or before bed. If you experience cramping in the feet, you might find it especially yummy to practice some of these massage techniques before standing if you’ve been sitting or laying down for awhile.
If you are a fitness instructor, want to review techniques you learned in a class with me, or perhaps you’re curious exactly what I go over in my Foot Fitness classes, you may find this class plan helpful in reviewing some basics of foot fitness.
You can keep an eye out for my next Foot Fitness class and view my schedule by clicking here.
Here’s to movin’ and groovin’ with happy feet!