by Emily Anderson
It's part of the routine right? You've had a hard day. You're stressed. You're really hanging out for a yoga sesh (only slightly intended semi-rhyming). You pull off your shoes, your socks too, and gawk at your unimpressive bare-feet. Shrug it off, grab your mat, and ta-da! You're ready to go. This time though, you catch yourself curiously thinking "bare feet - I wonder why?".
You soon realise, those pretty (definitely not mine) little babies, are actually quite useful for lots of yoga stuff. They're a strong foundation. You can be more bendy with bare feet too (no shoes to cramp your style or hinder your foot bones). And as for some of the corporate ladies, that arch which has been cooped up in tight stiletto heels all day, gets to lengthen and uncurl. Ahh...
Shoes are a little bit clunky (and really don't let your foot stretch out to its fullest potential), and socks are a little bit slippery. Neither of them allow you to do one of the most important things on your mat either - BALANCE! Yep, those wriggly little piggies on the end of your feet allow you to counteract and correct any movement or shifting of weight. They grip the floor, when your hands aren't quite enough, and when you're standing on one leg. The balls of your feet, heels, arches and toes, are stronger when they're all together, working as one.
Think about it. Did you learn how to walk wearing shoes or socks? I doubt you'll remember (and if you do, wow!), but babies practice their first steps with barefeet - spreading their toes, rocking their feet from side to side and slowly but surely feeling it out! Practicing yoga naked (on your feet) gives you and your body its best chance to nail those new poses that you're learning in just the same way. So don't feel self-conscious about your unpedicured toes. They're there for a reason! Make them stronger, and your yoga practice will get stronger too.