As the temperatures drop in many regions of the US, many chilly toes and feet can be found walking into studios and stepping onto yoga mats. If you’re like me, there is a real conflict between bearing my feet for traction in yoga practice and keeping my feet warm for comfort.
Here’s a trick I learned from one of our Mind Body Dancer collaborators, Rebecca Dietzel: slap your feet!
Take a moment to sit down, rub your hands together to create heat, and then slap or smack the soles of your feet with your hands. You can follow this with a foot massage, spreading the surfaces of your heels and arches and each toe. The benefit of this preparation is two-fold, as it warms the feet and also prepares them neurologically for your practice. Waking up the feet in such a way sends signals to the proprioceptors, or “sensors” in your feet. These signals trigger the brain to locate your feet in space and invite them into the larger grid of your whole body.
Instead of struggling through my practice with hard-edged ice cubes for feet, I find my feet actually seal to the mat from my very first mountain pose after this practice, as if they were covered in a soft putty-like spread.
Another fun tip I learned from an acupuncturist years ago was that your heart health is directly linked to the warmth of your feet. I think the colder months and upcoming holiday season make for the perfect time to seek some heart warming, don’t you?