Let’s switch gears a bit in this week’s Yin series. Summer is a time of simple shoes; flip flops, sandals, and cute wedges for the ladies. As comfy as those shoes are, chances are they’re not so good for your tootsies. The lack of arch support not only puts a lot of stress on the arch itself, but also on your poor toes that have to grip and hold onto those flip flops or heels.
As a culture, we focus largely on the health of areas of our bodies that affect appearance. For example, we emphasize things like cardio and weight lifting for weight loss and vanity instead of focusing on those for their health benefits such as maintaining bone density and increasing cardiovascular output. Because of this, you can imagine how largely neglected areas like ankles, feet, wrists, and hands. This toe squat will address both the soles of your feet (which affects your toes) and your ankles. Bonus: this time of year –because of those flip flops- makes this pose especially beneficial. Coming into this pose is simple; start by sitting on your heels with the feet together and tops of the feet against the floor. If you feel discomfort in the knees simply pad them with a blanket. Lean forward just a bit as you tuck the toes under coming to the balls of your feet, but remaining in the same sitting position. The soles of your feet will start “talking to you” within about 30 seconds of being here. Toe Squat is the exception to the rule; if you feel pain (more of a matter of when…) come out and let the feet come back to their original position. After the sensation subsides, come back and repeat the process 3-4 more times. Ideally, you spend about 3-5 minutes total in the squat. Rest in any position when you’re done. Grunts and moans are okay J.
I know, I know, it hurts! Can you tell now that we totally neglect the health and function of our feet? Not only did you just give them a nice a stretch, but because some meridians end in the feet, you get another added bonus of stimulating all six of these! Not sure what meridians are? This is a good explanation.