Learn To Love Your Feet

love your feetAs a yoga teacher I just love my life and truly love all of the students that study with me. People come and offer themselves up in a genuinely vulnerable way and I feel honored to be given that space and work very hard not to betray the trust someone puts in me. I am consistently amazed by the stories of transformation that people have to share. Here is an apropos one for today’s post about learning to love your feet.

Sometimes when I wax on about my love of feet I think I sound like a fetishist rather than a walking teacher. It’s not like I had any particular relationship with my feet growing up though my grandmother always wanted me to massage her feet which I was never into. I have what would be considered “good feet”, normal arches and the like. It wasn’t until I began doing and teaching yoga that I began to realize that everyone paid different attention to their appendages.

When I began doing ashtanga yoga in the east village I had a teacher whose feet were in the most terrible condition. Ashtanga is a practice where you spend a good amount of time low to the ground and your teachers feet are often in your face as they walk around. My writing lacks the poetic flourish to describe the horribly dry cracked salt flat like consistency of this teachers feet.

A little later I had a friend who was ready to walk in the door of a yoga center with me until he found out he would have to take off his sock and practice in bare feet. We turned around and left, and another friend later mentioned, “Yeah, I’ve never seen his feet.”

Then there was the client who wouldn’t touch her own feet, or let her husband touch her feet. She had good reason—I thought that a surgery in infancy was traumatic enough to turn her off to her own feet. I could be wrong but I like the theory. My prescription for her was to learn to touch her feet and get a foot massage from her husband every night.

Everyone has a different story but everyone would be well served to fall in love with their feet or at least go steady. Treat your feet like they were a new girl/boyfriend and be on your best behavior. Learn to love your feet and they will thank you for it.

Saturday Morning Musical: Donald O'Connor
Foot Work: Heels Up
  1. Your story reminds me of one of mine. I was associated for awhile with a Chinese Buddhist group which met in the San Gabriel Valley. This was a good group…one that did chanting, as well as a lot of physical exercises designed to stimulate the “chi.” All well and good. But one of their requirements was that one doff one’s shoes as one entered the temple. The trouble was that I happen to have a short leg (not at all uncommon), and when I go about in bare feet (sans a left shoe lift, and orthotics on both feet), my back very quickly goes into subluxation—particularly the sacroiliac and cervical spine–and before I know it, I am in pain, and thoroughly stressed out. These people did not comprehend this (or refused to), and this was one reason that we soon parted company, regrettably. This was a good reminder that doctors, teachers and other “helpers” must of necessity be sensitive to the particular needs of patients, clients and students. ; )

  2. PLease deleted my last submission….omitted some material!!!

    Like with diet, we cannot safely assume that “People are all the same!!”..or that one technique will be effective with everyone who walks in the door. Metabolisms vary, body structure may vary to some extent, certainly psyches will vary. One size (or one method) will NOT NECESSARILY fit all. It is my understanding that many of the great Masters keenly grasped this principle, and did what they could to tailor the method to the needs of the aspirate. In parallel to this, in the mystery religions (and Gnosticism) there were various levels of achievement or understanding–initiatory levels, let us say. Once again, one size DOES NOT fit all!!

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