We know that a house needs a solid, even foundation for it to stand straight and strong. The same goes for our practice of asanas. Regardless of the position we place our body in, we must be grounded and secure.
In yoga’s many standing poses our feet are our foundation. So it’s important to make sure that this foundation is a solid one. How do we do this? First of all, by bringing our awareness to our feet.
When you first stand up straight in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), you may find that you stand with more weight over the balls of your feet or you might tend to lean back on your heels. Also, you may place your weight more on the inner or outer edges of your feet. This affects the rest of your body, just as it would affect a house if its foundations were uneven—the house might lean to one side or at least not be as strong on one side as on the other.
When you stand in Mountain Pose, balance your weight evenly over the entire surface of each foot. Notice how that affects the muscles in your legs, the position of your pelvis, and your posture in general. In other poses, try to do the same—even if the pose is not symmetrical. In Triangle, for example, there is more weight on the front foot because you’re bending to that side. Even so, if you press firmly and evenly into the floor with the entire sole of your back foot, your pose will be much more stable.
When your feet press down firmly and evenly, supported by the earth, you have a solid base that you can lift and stretch away from, making your poses stronger and more graceful. It’s kind of like trying to smooth the wrinkles out of a skirt. Unless you’re holding the skirt firmly at one end, your attempts won’t be very successful.
So in every standing pose, bring your attention to your feet first. Your feet should be firmly grounded so you can lift, lengthen, bend, twist—whatever the pose calls for—with a solid base.
You can bring more energy and flexibility into your feet with this week’s easy exercises.