Consider your feet. It’s not often we do unless they are aching after a long day or from flaring bunions in too tight shoes. Yet these small appendages act as the base of support for our body. They are our connection to the earth and in yoga the first foundation we build upon to create stability and balance. As a yoga instructor I have seen all shapes and sizes of feet, and one thing I’ve witnessed is how disconnected people are from their foundation. With age comes a curling of the toes, a narrowing along the width of the instep, the inevitable inward collapse of the ankles or one foot turning right as if intending to move the body away from where it is headed. All of this makes the process of standing, walking, or even sitting on ones heels more and more of a challenge.
We cushion our feet in padded shoes with thick soles and special inserts. When asked to stand barefoot on the yoga mat the beginning student feels exposed and uncomfortable as if revealing a hidden part of his or herself. Without a fancy pedicure our feet may not look pretty, until a glance around the room shows one foot pretty much looks like another. Stability is the key to a safe yoga practice and this comes from how our feet are grounded in the postures. But stability in a yoga practice is only preparation for creating stability in one’s life. By learning to ground ones feet properly you can stand erect with confidence and maintain your balance, even when challenged.