Yoga For Writers #7
* HEALTH FOR WRITERS series
By JEANAN GLAZIER
Happy feet. Are they too much to ask for? They take a lot of abuse, but they don’t get much reprieve. Yes, there are foot massages and pedicures, and they feel wonderful. However, these are occasional luxuries for many people, and aren’t affordable on a regular basis. So how do we show some love to our feet? Fortunately, yoga provides an answer.
Warning: To do the following pose, you must be able to kneel on the floor and sit back on your heels. For now, let’s assume you can.
Take off your shoes. While you can do this pose with socks or hose, it is better to be barefoot.
You must kneel on a carpet, a rug, or a mat. Don’t try this pose on a hard floor.
Kneel down and sit back on your heels. Probably, the tops of your feet are on the floor. Place your palms on the tops of your thighs, close your eyes, and just breathe for a little while.
When you feel ready, lift your rear off your heels so you can curl your toes under. When you lower your rear and sit on your heels again, the pads of your toes and the balls of your feet will be taking your weight, not the tops of your feet.
Here’s another way to go about getting into this pose: From a standing position, squat down until you are balancing on the pads of your toes and the balls of your feet. Lower your knees to the floor, and sit back on your heels. Place your palms on the tops of your thighs, close your eyes, and just breathe for a little while.
Put your mind’s eye in the soles of your feet. Focus on the soles of your feet as you inhale and exhale as smoothly as you can.
This pose stretches the muscles in the soles of your feet, and encourages greater flexibility in the toes. Yes, you are going to feel it. You want to remain in the pose for as long as you comfortably can. However, the length of time depends on the flexibility of your feet and toes, and this varies greatly from person to person.
This is a deep stretch.
Do not be surprised or concerned if you need to come out of the pose almost as soon as you got into the pose.
To come out of the pose, place your fists or hands on the floor for support if you need it. Raise your rear and take the weight off your feet and toes. Slowly, uncurl your toes, and lay the tops of your feet on the floor again. Alternatively, place your fists or hands on the floor for support if you need it, and then slowly rise to a standing position.
If you can remain in the pose for a longer period of time, then do so. When you’ve had enough of the stretch, come out of the pose using one of the two methods described above.
Lots of people can’t get into this pose at all. Sometimes it’s because their knees can’t tolerate the deep bend, or because they can’t lower their rears to their heels. However, all is not lost. Yoga provides a couple of options, and many of you have heard of this first one: Get a can of vegetables or fruit. Sit down, place the can under a foot, and roll the can back and forth under the sole of your foot. Do the same thing for the other foot.
If you can comfortably sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, then try this option: Flex your right foot so your toes are aimed at the ceiling. Then try to separate your toes. Some people can stretch their toes apart easily, and for other people, it takes more practice. Whether or not you incorporate the toe stretch with the flexed foot, keep your foot firmly flexed for several seconds. Then do the opposite: Drop your foot down and point your foot and toes as firmly as you can. (Like a ballerina.)
Now, some people find it is easier to stretch their toes apart from the pointed foot and toe position. Try it. You’ll find out quickly whether or not this works for you.
If you find that you cannot stretch your toes apart in either the flexed foot or the pointed foot position, then do not worry. There is still great value in flexing and pointing the foot several times in a row. Just don’t forget to work the left foot too.
These exercises provide a counter-effect for women who frequently wear high heels, but the best part of all is they give everyone happy feet!
DISCLAIMER: These exercises are not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before attempting these or any other exercise program. Romance Divas and Jeanan Glazier disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercises herein.
JEANAN GLAZIER attended her first yoga class when she was fifteen. (This was 1974 for anyone who is counting!) As a student of jazz dance and the only teenager in a class of women aged 30-45, Jeanan began observing how yoga poses fit different bodies and individual levels of ability. Jeanan received teacher certification in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in 2001. She has taught classes and provided private yoga instruction in Ohio and Florida. Jeanan has enjoyed many fitness activities from running and rock climbing to her current challenge: aqua aerobics. However, yoga continues to be her one constant activity.
As a writer of contemporary and young adult fiction, Jeanan not only knows where the body feels the hours spent in front of a computer or hunched over a desk, but also the yoga poses which can bring relief to the stiffness and soreness. Jeanan believes wholeheartedly that a more flexible body creates a more flexible mind. Yoga can give the imagination a tweak, maybe even a tune-up. What writer wouldn’t appreciate this benefit?!