Chair Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Light and Spacious Feet

25 min - Practice


A little foot love goes a long way. Karen shares a delicious practice designed to open and stretch the soft tissue of the feet. Your feet and toes will feet more spacious, energized, and alive.
What You'll Need: Mat, Tennis Ball, Chair, Block

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back. Today we are going to work on our feet, our lovely feet that hold us up all day long. So we're going to have a couple of props today. One of them will be a tennis ball. We'll have a block and also a washcloth, which I'll explain about in a few minutes. So we're going to find our tennis ball and we're going to place it underneath our left foot. So I'd like for you to keep the tennis ball on your mat, otherwise it runs away. So we want to have a little bit of friction. So we're just going to place it on the mat and we're going to find the ball of the left foot on top of the tennis ball. So we're going to do this tennis ball exercise seated. However, if you'd like a little more pressure on the feet, you can do it standing and then you have this full body gravity helping. It means you might go into a little bit of a deeper tissue. Right now we're just working on the soft tissue of the feet. So we're going to find the heel raised and the toes raised from the floor. And we're just leaning in a little bit, the ball of the foot into the tennis ball. And we're actually just going to hold it there for a little bit and just maneuver. We're not really rolling through right now. We're just finding weight into the ball and you'll feel the spreading of the ball of the foot draping over the actual tennis ball. So just a couple of moments there, a couple of breaths and you can lean into it with the body a little bit. And then we're just going to roll through to the arch and we're going to even out the toes and the heels. So it's parallel to the floor. And again, we're just finding that gentle pressure where we lean into the ball of the arch of the foot into the ball. So gently feel it. This is very subtle work. So you just want to kind of pay attention and give a little bit of time to feeling through, allowing for that spreading to happen. And you may feel a little tingling, just this energy moving, the fascia opening, little circulation happening. It feels ever so nice. And then when you're ready, you're just going to roll through over the ball, the heel on top of the ball. And here we go again. So again, lightly pressing down, enough pressure to where you feel the spreading of the heel. And you can feel that full tennis ball right there. Again, we're not letting the toes tip to the floor. Just gently leaning into the heel of the foot. There we go. Nice. And then ever so carefully, we're going to bring the ball of the foot to the big toe mound, underneath the big toe mound. This is a little tricky, but we're going to roll from the big toe, toe mound over to the little one. And we're going to just stay in that direction. So you'll lift up off of it and then you'll roll right through. Again, like I said, it's a little tricky. So you do have to lean in a little bit. Very nice. And then coming back with the ball underneath the big toe mound, we're going to press all the way along the foot back to the heel. So past the arch and then bring it back, go underneath the next toe, the second toe. So you feel that pressure down and it's a little gripping as well. You press down and then roll all the way through the arch and out to the heel. So you start at the mound each time. We're here now on to the third toe, pressing down, leaning in and rolling right through. Steady if you can make it. If you can make that happen, that's really, really great. Okay. We're in the fourth toe and it gets a little harder as you go out to the sides. Oh, but that feels so good. And you're underneath all of the toes, but the concentration is underneath each toe mound and rolling through the bone, the muscles, the tendons, all the way to the end. And of course we have that little toe. Again, a little tricky. Press down and roll on through. Beautiful. Okay. And then the next thing we're going to do is just really roll the foot over the ball from the top of the ball of the foot through the arch and down to the heel. And this can be in any direction really. You can roll it out. It feels so, so nice. And then I want you to come to a still point, relax, lift the foot off the ball, and then just notice that foot. It just feels so light and spread and open. And it just feels like there's a lot of circulation. There's no heaviness or weight in it and there's no restriction.

It's ever so beautiful. And then we're just going to go to the other side. So pick up the ball, come over to the right foot, and we're going to land the ball of the foot on top of the ball. So pressing gently, again, the heel and toe are not touching the floor. And it's just this easing into pressure. Couple of moments, couple of breaths, and then rolling over into the arch, releasing down a little bit of pressure into the arch, feel the spreading through the foot, and then moving towards the heel. Pressing down into the heel. Remember to keep the toes lifted. So I don't want the toes touching down to the floor or you release the pressure off the heel. So you want to feel that nice, deep spreading through the heel. Beautiful. And then remove it to the tennis ball, to the mound of the big toe, and we're rolling across to the little toe. This is tricky. And this might take several times to play with, but I just want you to feel that ball, that tennis ball, going all the way from one side to the other. And start at the same side each time. It just can feel really yummy and it's stabilizing if you start at the big toe. Then we're going to have the tennis ball be under the big toe mound and we're rolling all the way through the arch, the heel, and then bring it again under the second toe mound, rolling through. Now I'm talking you through this, but when you're doing it at home, you'll feel that pressure down into the ball and that beautiful massage and spreading through the feet, through each bone. It feels so nice, the connection from the toe all the way to the heel. We're coming on over to the last couple of toes. Take your time with it. And if you lose the grip of the ball, that's okay. Just start from where you finished. Oh, it feels so nice. Beautiful. And then we just give it a nice massage, rolling up and down, maybe a circular motion on top of the ball. And that can be in the ball of the foot, the arch of the foot, the heel of the foot. Very nice. And then just release it, land the second foot and just take a moment to feel. Notice it's almost weightless. It's just so pleasurable. Just enjoy it. Take a moment and relax. So I want us to go into the top of the foot now. So we're going to find a block. Excuse me while I find the block. And we're going to keep it on its half second side. We're going to place the left foot on top. This is just bringing the floor to you so you don't have to bend over so much. And we're going to find the tennis ball in the right hand as we land the tennis ball right in front of the ankles. It's almost like there's a little shelf for it. And we're going to start here each time as we roll through each bone out to each toe. So starting here at the ankle bone, we're going to roll the ball down through the bone and out to the toe. Pick it up, back to the little shelf there and roll it through. And you'll decide what pressure you want. And we're going to the third toe and to the fourth toe and to the fifth toe. And then just you can roll through the feet, a little hand massage as well. But this can feel very, very nice. It can feel very stimulating. You might feel a little vibration of energy coming through to the fingers. You might even feel a little heat, but just enjoy it. All right. And then we'll move to the other side. Before you do that, land the foot and just feel the energy front to back, the tips of the toes to the heel and the arch. It's very, very nice. Okay. And over to the right foot, we raise the right foot, we find our ball, put it in that little shelf in front of the right ankle and roll through the bone out to the big toe. Come on back and roll it through to the second toe. Come on back. We have the third one and the fourth and the fifth. And as you go to the fifth one, you can even get underneath that ankle bone and go around the sides there. Beautiful. And then just roll it out. You'll feel all this little, it's almost like crackling. Even if you don't hear it, you feel it in the foot and it's just breaking up that fascia. Oh, it feels so yummy. All right. Okay. So I'm just going to put this block off to the side as well as my ball and we're going to reach for a face cloth. And as you can see, I have our nice little washcloth and we're going to place the washcloth on the floor, not on the mat because we want to have a little slippery action as we put our foot on the washcloth. So starting off here on the left, I'm going to open up the washcloth and I'm just going to place the foot directly in the center and we're going to lift up the toes and open the toes as wide as we can, some yoga toes here. And then we're going to work towards the arch. So the heel and the arch and the toes are going to bend and we're going to see if we can scrunch up the cloth. And it doesn't matter how many times you do this, just do both sides, left and right foot. And it's just this pulling with the toes and you can rotate through the ankle and just pull the cloth underneath the arch, just making some creases, just working the arch, working the toes, rotating through the ankle, just a handful of times. And then we'll move it over to the other side. And again, you need that slippery surface. So make sure you're on a wooden floor or tiled floor. So right foot is down, toes are up initially and widening through the feet. And then we're just going to claw through the cloth, just picking it up, rotating, pulling, arching, squeezing, all this action happening here in the foot, a handful of times. All right. Okay. And now we're going to just pick that up and put that away for a moment. And we'll work through a couple more feet exercises. Okay, so we're just going to put our washcloth off to the side. And because we were arching the toes a minute ago, arching the foot, arching the toes, clawing, we're just going to get into our yoga toes a little bit. So we're going to lift up the toes and press through the heels and the feet, nice erect spine here, relax through the shoulders and just an even flow of breath. And we're going to go through each toe, we're going to land each toe one at a time if we can. And if we can't, that's our homework. So we'll start with the little toe to the outside. And we're going to drop the little toe first, let's do one foot at a time. So we'll start with the left foot, lift up the toes, the left little toe is descending, and the next one and the next one and the next one and the big toe. See if we can make that happen with the right foot, starting with the little toe spreading through the toes. You can look down at your toes and going one at a time, seeing if you can pick the other ones up and then release. Okay, we're going to see if we can do that from the big toe out to the little toe. So lift up the toes. And let's reach down through the big toe. I know what my homework is. And then go through the other toes. Oh my goodness, that's my work. So we're going to the work of the feet and the work through the toes is going from the outside in and then the inside out. Very nice. Okay, so let's have a nice little stretch in the ankles and the feet. So hold on to your chair and fully extend the legs out. We're going to point the toes towards the floor. So inhale nice and tall. Be up on those sit bones. Release the hands to the chair. Feel nice and sturdy and safe in your chair. And then just drop the toes towards the floor. Oh, that feels so nice.

And then not so much gripping in the toes. So release it a little bit. And then flex, exhale and bring those toes towards the shins. Get a deep stretch. See if you can feel the Achilles, the calf, the back of the knee. And then dip down, finding the front of the foot. Oh, feels so nice in the front ankle there. So we're going to do that one or two more times. And each time dipping down a little lower, flexing a little deeper, but be careful. And then very slowly and carefully, let's open the legs a little wider and take the feet in a rotation deep into the ankles. Oh, feels so good. And then all over to the other side. Yeah, very nice. Beautiful. And then just come back to center, bend through the knees, land the feet and just notice again, delicious in the feet. Just feels so light. So the next thing we're going to do is pick up a foot. So we're going to bring up the left ankle to the right knee. We're going to do this as slowly as you need to. And coming to the edge of the chair feels, feels very nice. And we're going to interlace our fingers through our toes. So we're going to find the right hand coming through the backs of the toes. So let's just do that and take your time. And some of our toes are a little tighter than others. So you will take your time and you might actually be screeching as you do this, but I want you to find space in the toes. Very nice. And then just gently bend the toes behind, bend them in front, just very gently. And then maybe rotate through the ankle. Oh, there we go. A little release. And we're going to release that hand very slowly. And then we're going to take the left hand and feed through the toes in the front. Oh my goodness. So get your fingers in as much as you can. So you feel like you have a nice little grip and just allow for you to feel through that opening. It can be a little tricky for some of us. And again, we're just going to roll the foot out and let the ankle move. And all the while you're squeezing through the fingers, squeezing through the toes, you're holding the ball of the foot and you're just allowing this to organically happen. It doesn't feel like it's very natural, but you can make it big. Very nice. Okay. And then you're just going to release the fingers through there. Oh, and then pick that up, release it to the floor. Take a look at your toes and open them wide and just relax into the buttocks. Come out of the feet, inhale nice and tall. And it's just like you have the most incredibly light feet. And it's just so much space in there. Okay. We're going to move to the other side, picking up the right foot. Oops. And taking the, the left hand, excuse me. And we're coming in the backside, the backside of the toes. And again, you're going to take as much time as you need to separate the toes and manipulate those fingers, maneuver them through the, through the toes. And just taking a moment just to find that and to feel that and to release any tension that might have risen, arisen through that movement. And then we're just going to bend backwards and forwards through the feet, through the toes, very carefully, very slowly. Nice. And then you might take an ankle twist and you can make that be as deep as you'd like. And then very slowly bring it to a steady and then release the fingers. Take a moment. Then you're going to take the right hand through the front of those toes. And even though you've had to set a fingers through there, you think this might be easy, but it could take a little time, a little maneuvering and just breathe right through anything that shows up. Okay. This too is part of our yoga. Just finding what the body is asking of us and then responding appropriately. Okay. So we're holding through the fingers here, breathing, finding space through that foot, through the fingers. And then here we go. We're going to find that rotation in the ankle. Nice. Breathe through it. Just find that evenness of breath, that evenness of effort, that evenness of ease.

And when you're ready, just slide the fingers out. Here comes the space. Lift up the foot, the knee, and land. Release the foot to the floor. Inhale nice and tall. Exhale. Feel the sit bones on the chair and land the feet. There's wonderful grounding in the feet, but there's a lightness downwards and upwards. It's very invigorating. So one last thing we'll do to give some deep love to our feet is we'll give our foot a massage. So go ahead and pick up the left foot one more time. And we're going to find the hand and the thumbs, spreading through the ball of the foot, just opening it up and work your way from the center to the outsides and then press the thumb through the heel. So go around the whole outer part of the heel one way and in the other direction and just pull the foot open, pull through the feet. Yeah. And we're going to go to the other side and do the same thing. So picking it up, spreading the thumbs across the ball of the foot. You can really press into the feet quite a bit here. The thumbs are in the center of the sole of the foot and working its way out. Same to the heel. And then press a little pressure there from the thumb all the way around the edge of the foot. Beautiful. And then just pick that up and land it. So we have a lot of weight in our feet all the time. I mean, we're standing most of the day, a lot of pressure, a lot of weight, a lot of gravity. And we want to find this evenness through the feet, from the tips of the toes to the heel, through the inside of the foot, the outside of the foot. And I really encourage you to take regular foot baths and you can decide on what you might like to have in your foot bath. It could be lavender, it could be Epsom salt, it could be chamomile, whatever feels good for you. But really take the time to moisturize the feet, soothe the feet, rejuvenate the feet. It's amazing when the feet are rejuvenated, how rejuvenated you will feel. Okay, let's land for a moment. Inhale, nice and tall. Exhale, release the shoulders. Feel grounding through the sit bones, down through the feet. And let's bring the hands to the heart in Anjali Mudra. We'll take a moment here to bow to the hands and just feel a little gratitude for those beautiful feet that keep us upright all day long. Thank you and Namaste. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.


1 person likes this.
Aaah so juicy and nice! Amazing what a little foot love can do for your whole sense of being...
1 person likes this.
My feet are grateful 

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial