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Yoga and Your Feet: Sole Mates
Page 2: Healthy Feet Equal Inner Peace

And don't undo all the good you are doing your feet by stuffing them into shoes that don't fit! Many women try to shove their poor feet into the same size shoes they wore 20 years ago. Sorry, but if your feet have grown larger, you'll just have to buy a bigger shoe. There should be a thumb's width of space between your toes and the front of the shoe, and you should be able to spread your toes freely inside the shoe (that goes for men, too!). If this eliminates some stylish shoes from your wardrobe, too bad. These days there are a lot of good looking shoes around that don't ruin your feet, so why bother with the others? And nix the high heels as much as possible - completely, if you can. High heels crowd your toes and force your feet into unnatural positions. They also play havoc with your ankles, calves and shins. In fact, ditch the shoes as much as possible and go barefoot. It may take some getting used to if your tender feet haven't spent much time out in the open, but once you become acclimated to going shoe-less, it feels great.

(Article continued below.)

Yoga's benefits for the feet begin with the fact that it's done barefoot. For the length of a session, your feet have room to breathe. But there's so much more - if you are engaging every part of your foot in an Asana, not only are you doing the pose correctly, you are doing a world of good for your feet. You should even be aware of your little toes. In many of the standing poses, you must keep your weight distributed evenly along the outer side of your foot. Take Triangle (Trikonasana), for example - if you're leaning towards the right, you need to be pressing down on the outer edge of your left foot. If you're not, the pose won't be correct.

Think about it - your feet and toes have to be pretty strong to get the most out of an Asana. And the more you practice, the stronger your feet will become. And your posture will improve, and so will your disposition. Nothing makes a person grouchy faster than sore feet. Take care of your feet both during Yoga practice and away from it, and it's a lot easier to find inner peace. Talk about a mind-body experience! Be good to your feet and the benefits will go straight you your head.

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