By Meghan Cass
Do you practice yoga?
According to a Yoga Journal study from 2008, more than 15 million Americans regularly take to the mat, and 72 percent of American yogis are women!
For this Comfortista, the local yoga studio is my home away from home. It’s where I go to care for my body, mind and spirit amidst the craziness of New York City. For the month of September – which was National Yoga Month – I decided to spend four weeks dedicating my practice to my toes, heels, soles, ankles and insteps. And boy did I need it. My exercise routine, combined with pavement pounding in high heels and the strain left over from summer’s flimsy flip-flops had my feet begging for mercy. It was time for some serious tootsie TLC.
I began reconnecting with my feet in Tadasana (or Mountain Pose) to establish a grounded, balanced stance. I focused on rooting my feet into the earth while simultaneously feeling my body lift up all the way up through to the crown of my head.
I spent serene moments in Virasana (Hero Pose) stretching the tops of my feet and pushed back into Downward-Facing Dog to elongate my arches, while drawing in deep fluid breathes to relax into the sometimes strong sensations.
In standing poses like the Warrior I and Warrior II I focused on grounding through all four corners of my feet, finding space between each of my toes and feeling their unique touch points on the mat (not as easy as it sounds!).
The result? After a few weeks of attention and intention, my soles are feeling stronger and more flexible and less crampy and stiff. Even during everyday walking, it feels as if my feet are actually operating smarter. Or maybe I’m just more mindful of the 26 bones, 33 joints, and 100+ muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up a single human foot. There’s a lot of potential in our barking dogs!
And so it’s no surprise that many wellness-focused brands are tapping into the wisdom of yoga to create smart, therapeutic footwear and holistic accessories that encourage similar foot health benefits off the mat.
The super comfortable Toe Sox Yoga/Pilates Socks has a five-toe construction for freedom of movement and a slip-resistant raised tread for easy gripping, resulting in improved posture and alignment (I love these for padding around at home – especially in chic pink and grey).
Happy Feet’s Original Foot Alignment Socks help harshed feet recover with plush cushioned toe dividers that feel luxuriously supportive.
And just like the yoga studio props that help to relax the body in restorative poses or achieve alignment in challenging postures, Gel Flex Toe Stretchers gently manipulate your feet into a therapeutic stretched state while you chill out and breathe. (Try them during a warm bath for an especially soothing experience.)
Finally, Beech’s Yoga Sandals features comfortable toe separators that increase mobility in the entire foot and evenly distribute body weight while you walk, leading to improved posture and balance.
Consider me converted. But what about you? What do you do to make your feet feel OM-azing? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts and ideas!