Short and sweet today – as will be many of your lovely feet; whilst mine are somewhat longish and not so sweet!! Aware of this, I ty to improve, but why is it so hard for us to give feet the attention that they truly deserve? Pedicures, yes, easy; but moving toes apart and by themselves as much as we can? This is difficult, and it shouldn’t be.
There are 206 bones in the adult human body and 52 of these are in the feet. Feet comprise a quarter of the entire skeleton, they hold us up and yet we seem to lose touch with them. We certainly seem to lose flexibiliy in them. Why can I move the little toe of my right foot fairly well but not of my left foot? Ok I have injured my left foot in the past but still I walk a lot and it supports my gait, so what’s the problem? In my case, it is because I practice moving the toes of my right foot more often than those of my left foot, because I can move them more easily and thus “avoidance” becomes the habit. If something is difficult, most of us “drag our feet” – excuse the pun.
A student shared experience of avoidance strategy in relation to child’s pose – ” I found (it) uncomfortable – nobody is making me, so why would I? Now, by going in and out of the pose during the practice, discomfort is lessening for that student. As discomfort lessens, the brain relaxes a little and the emergency “alarm” – “get me out of this!” – is sounded less.
In and out of a pose; little and often; back off if tension creeps in but keep everything moving – all good tips. Helpful and healthy repetition.
Apply this mantra to your feet. The following videos are worth a look :
Be careful with the balance ones – support from a wall may help at first. Any moderate -severe pain, then stop. My fears around on-line learning of yoga centers around this. The absence of a teacher who can keep an eye on movements, who knows the students well and who can advise “on the spot” and “in the moment”. However, we live in strange times in which safety is essential, not just a good idea; so be sensible with all practice led online. I include this blog also.
Having said that, I liked the seated demonstration in the first link. I liked the use of toe separators in the second link. We know about Pete’s “toe yoga” and how helpful it is but also how challenging it is!!!
I wrote about the planning and organization required to establish a regular yoga home practice. Practising unfamiliar movements, such as “toe yoga” produces changes in the brain which alter the information that the brain sends out to muscles, thereby changing the movements themselves. Namely, we get better at moving our toes and, hopefully, we practice them more often because we can now see improvement.
It seems that real improvements in these fine motor skills may be made in 240 – 600 hours (10 – 41 days) I’m going to give myself lee-way by setting a 41 day challenge for myself. If you join me, consider the following:
- begin practice immediately after viewing a demonstration.
- be patient: you may need to practice one component of the skill at a time, rather than all the toe move. If your motor memory is a bit rusty, you may beed to work on just lifting the big toes for a while.
Let’s see how it goes
This week is all about feet