When we are in a complicated pose, a nice vinyasa flow, or even a restorative class, our feet normally have an equal or lesser importance than the rest of our body. What if the reason you weren’t progressing in your yoga practice was in your feet?!
I am here to make a case that your feet hold the answers to the “issues in your tissues” that may be hampering your yoga practice. My clients call me “The Foot Whisperer” and I find that our feet tell us a lot about our bodies.
Reflexology is a unique bodywork practice that says, just like in the Yoga Sutras, that the whole is represented in the part. Our feet are a literal map of our body and this can help us uncover pain patterns that may interfere with our yogic experience of Samadi, or at least help us not cringe in pigeon pose.
The next time a weird foot pain arises during your practice or throughout your day, search for a ‘reflexology map’ on Google, and then see what area of the body corresponds to your foot pain. My clients always find that if they listen to the signals their body is giving them, the pain will disappear on its own or they will gain tremendous insight into what their body really needs.
Taking this theory one step further, you can apply a firm massage pressure to the areas of the foot you need the most help with in that moment. If you know your right hip is an issue, working the right hip reflex (around the right outside ankle bone) can help loosen that area prior to class. This can help to activate a dialogue with your body instead of just pushing through the lesson with your discomfort.
Likewise, see if you are getting any odd or reoccurring callusing, leaning toes, or cramping in the feet. Callusing indicates the body’s need to protect that area, leaning toes are a symptom of a pain in the neck lingering somewhere, and cramping notes that an area of the body is prone to spasm.
“The feet are powerful, and can help with your yoga, we just have to listen.” – Pratyahara, Limb 5 of the Eight Limbs of Yoga
By Sam Belyea, Reflexologist, RYT-200