Strengthening our Foundation
Walking on the streets of some of my favorite European cities, I took note of how tired the muscles of my feet and lower legs were. Although I consider myself to be a rather in shape human being, during the winter months I can fall into periods of inactivity – having to spend more time indoors, on my computer, and focusing less on my body than I’d like. Despite my dedication to my yoga practice, and even playing recreational sports like Ice Hockey, the reality is I am just not walking, running, and jumping around barefoot on multiple surfaces throughout the entire year. So I decided to get back in shape, but from the ground up!
Consider this: How much preparation and attention goes into setting the foundation of a home? While many of us want to skip straight to the appliances and decorations, none of that matters if the structure isn’t sound. Builders spend a great deal of time making sure that the foundation is solid so that the rest of the home lasts for a long time. When it comes to the human body, we also tend to want to focus on the “appliances” rather than on our foundation. In my 11+ years of practicing yoga, I have encountered hundreds of ab exercises, alignment techniques for the hips, shoulders, and core, and so on. When I try to think about a class that focused on the feet and ankles, I can think of only two (aside from my own “Hips” and “Root Down” workshops.) But for real, the feet…I remember two classes. I am not saying they don’t exist, I am sure you have one or two teachers that focus on the feet too, but I think we can agree that it’s a rarity. Could you imagine deciding to build a home and the majority of builders didn’t mention a foundation?
While I offer many practical techniques to apply to your standing poses in my Hips: Rock & Unlock ‘Em workshop, I wanted to provide some additional exercises that are completely free so you have the opportunity to practice them and focus on your foundation.
I have been focusing on these exercises lately to rebuild strength and awareness of my feet, and it’s amazing how much better my hips and low back are feeling when I’m walking around, standing, and even doing handstands.
So let’s get you up to speed with the ankle joint, what joint actions are available to you, and how to strengthen these actions.
Commonly referred to as “flexing the feet,” Dorsiflexion is when the tops of your feet and fronts of your shins move toward each other.
When the outer ankle lengthens, like a “sickled foot.” I don’t use that term often because it implies that this action is not good, but it is an important action to walking and also maintaining an arch in the foot in the asana practice.
“Pointing the feet,” Plantar Flexion is the opposite of dorsiflexion – Tops of feet and shins move away from each other.
Hips: Rock & Unlock 'Em
Get 2 full hours with Matt Giordano focusing on the techniques that increase the range of motion in your hips and provide long-lasting freedom. You will have immediate, unlimited access, and can enjoy the benefits today!
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Hips: Rock & Unlock 'Em
Get 2 full hours with Matt Giordano focusing on the techniques that increase the range of motion in your hips and provide long lasting freedom. You will have immediate, unlimited access, and can enjoy the benefits today!
The Elements of Mastery
Are you looking to go deeper in your study of yoga and want an online resource to support you in your journey? This training packed with content to advance your practice and teaching! You can take your time or immerse yourself in the training.