Medicine Yoga

Health, Fitness and Wellness

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Free Your Feet, and the Rest Will Follow

Back in March, I promised I would post a beginning foot sequence, and several people have since written to request such a routine.  So, this week we took a few minutes to film a sitting and standing foot and ankle warmup and conditioning sequence to help develop mobility, flexibility and strength in the feet, ankles and legs.  The sitting sequence also incorporates an opening pelvic tuck and arch that leads to a spinal wave from the pelvis to the neck.  As you begin to practice these movements regularly, you will notice that you feel the connections go from the feet and ankles, up through the knees, and into the upper legs and lower back.

Either or both of these sequences are a great way to warm up before yoga, running, hiking, martial arts, dance, skiing, basketball…you get the idea.  In addition to working with the muscles, connective tissues, and bones of the feet and ankles, this work also activates the stretch receptors in the muscles and joint-supporting ligaments to update your proprioceptive map and improve balance and coordination.

These two sequences are quick and easy, and hopefully will provide a good basis for you to develop your own variations to best serve your needs.  The “melting over a tennis ball” that I demonstrate at the end of the standing routine has proven to be very useful for helping to heal all kinds of foot issues including plantar fasciitis.  It is especially effective when done regularly in combination with the other exercises.

Special thanks to Richard for videography and cat wrangling.  You will notice Merry the Cat licking her chops as she makes a cameo appearance during the sitting sequence.  The goat butter treat kept her occupied for just long enough.

Yours in healthy feet,




Standing on our own two feet – a tale of two bunions


I am inspired every day by the commitment and accomplishments of my students. So, I thought it would be fun to share a few things that I heard from students this week in a couple of blog posts. This one is about bunions, but also about establishing a strong foundation for practice and life, and about standing on our own two feet to be who we are meant to be in the worl

“Look, Barb, my big toes are touching!”
When we come into Tadasana (Mountain Pose), I tell the students to stand with feet together, big toes touching, feeling rooted into the ground. When I first met Heather, she had bunions which prevented her from bringing her toes together. After almost two years of practice, she suddenly noticed that her big toes touched. “I thought I was doomed to have feet like my mother’s, especially after all the dancing I have done. You said that bunions can get better, and now look!”

The feet are the “pad” or foundation of our standing body, upon which we build our alignment, balance, and movement. All of the work that we do to build strength, mobility and flexibility in the feet and ankles provides a strong foundation for our practice and our lives.

I remember when I first started working in the business world, wearing high heels all day, and soon noticing aches and pains in not just my feet but also my low back. I began to notice how many women had that “my feet hurt but I feel like to have to wear these shoes” look. And then we all started wearing exercise shoes while walking and taking the bus, and only donning out high heels when we absolutely positively had to.

Even if you are still wearing heels (hopefully just occasionally and hopefully not too high), foot exercises can help keep them healthy and pain free. I will post a video of a good beginning foot sequence soon. Yours in health and happy feet.