As spring waves “hello”, the days get longer, hats and gloves are stored away, and we slowly start exposing more skin. This means open toe shoes and sandals, and we pay more attention to our feet. How many of us, though, acknowledge the hard work our feet are doing every day? I mean, we do practice yoga barefoot, but should we just forget about that part of our body outside of the studio (and the spa)?
For most of us, feet are just…feet. Unless you are a dancer or have a weird fetish with feet, most people don’t really care about them. The thoughts around feet usually differ amongst men and women.
Guys are thinking:
- Do my feet smell bad enough to kill the neighbour’s dog?
- Damn, I need to cut my toe nails...
Women are thinking:
- My feet are killing me! These heels are killing me...they’re soo worth it though..
- Hmmm better go get a pedi…summer is coming.
Ok...you get my drift. Feet are generally a neglected part of our body.
Does Paying Attention To Feet Make Me Weird?
What we don’t realize is that we literally carry all of our weight on those feet. They too get tired and we need to be aware of how we use them. Standing or walking is a task that we don’t think about because we’ve been doing it since we were babies. You would be surprised, though, how many people do not use their feet correctly.
As a weirdo that I am, watching “details” that most people would never notice is my thing. Watching people’s feet as they walk is one of them….and no, I don’t have a foot fetish. Some walk with their toes facing out resembling ducks. Others place all their weight on the inside. Many support all the weight with their heels.
You can tell from the deformation of a shoe shape that something is wrong. I have even come across women where you can see half of their foot placed outside of the sole and on the soft part of the boot (yes, those Ugg style boots that don’t even protect from the rain).
Apart from me going crazy every time I see someone walking or standing the wrong way, there are deeper reasons we need to pay more attention to our base. The knees, hips, back and even neck and shoulders can be affected. As the body adjusts to the bad posture, the balances shift and in many cases we end up with pain or even injuries.
Six Tips for Happy Feet
Now that we got how important it is to keep our feet happy, let’s take a look at six simple ways to always stand strong and happy.
- Use the whole sole of the foot when standing. Stand on an imaginary triangle with the corners spread under the big toe, pinkie toe and the middle of your heel. The same goes when you do standing balance poses in your yoga practice.
- Walk on sand. It takes more effort to walk on sand than any other surface. It is a fantastic way to use your whole foot and build the strength of your ankle.
- Walk barefoot. Reflexology is based around the notion that every part of the foot is connected to a part of our body. We don’t need to be reflexologists to understand that walking barefoot massages the different organs and of course gives us the feeling of freedom!
- Choose the right shoes. This should be simple enough yet we still tend to choose with the wrong criteria. We all have different feet and what might look cool could be uncomfortable or even painful. Bear in mind that even flat shoes need to have a bit of heel to avoid the Achilles tendon from being in tension constantly.
- Exercise them. Wiggle your toes. Stand on the ball of your feet. Flex and point them. Try to move your toes individually (yes, it’s possible). Get them moving!
- And finally…give them a break. Our feet need some rest too! Sit on the floor or bed facing the wall, as close as possible, then lie on your back, do the Legs Up the Wall pose. The blood will move away from your feet and will make them feel light like feathers.
There you have it, those are just some of the really simple things you can do to take better care of your feet. How do YOU keep your feet happy?