Ever got something that you just can’t shake?
On a superficial level, I’m sure you can think of one thing. But if you dive deeper, you likely have many things that no longer serve you.
This week, I’ve got something to shake off…fairly superficial and not life shattering but…
...a stomach bug.
It crept into my house early last week and has worked its way through each member of my family. Even revisiting my youngest’s GI system twice! In my head I’m saying to myself, begone you annoying stomach flu! I’m done with you and leave my family alone!
With that in mind, I picked the video aptly named, “I Release” this week. I wanted to rid my body of illness and get back to my healthy, energetic, and lively self.
Sidebar: interestingly enough, I got some not so good news via text RIGHT before I pressed play on my weekly yoga session. It too was a surface grievance that I would be bettered served to let go…so I release.
What I love about Yoga with Adriene’s recent endeavour, Yoga Camp, is she is merging the physical body and mind through affirmations and mantras for 2016. Check out the full 30 day Yoga Camp in its entirety.
The “I Release” practice was was a nourishing sequence of asanas and fun, playful movements all wrapped up on the mat. What I enjoyed the most was the invitation to focus on the feet and toes. What better way to release things that are no longer serving you but through the feet.
Yoga toes…what’s that?
Well, maybe not that exactly.
It is spreading the toes apart (otherwise known as abduction) . How often do you actually work your toes let alone awaken the muscles of the feet? Adriene cued to raise the legs up while lying on the back (read: like legs up the wall without the legs on a wall). This provided an opportunity to watch the feet in a position that did not put any strain or tension on the feet.
By releasing the toes, it helps awaken and challenges the small muscles of the feet who may have not seen movement in a long time. Maybe not since childhood?!? As Adriene said, “see the feet that you had as a kid”. Interestingly, I find substantial movement in my left toes but struggle with abducting my right pinkie toe. To the point that I had to just release and not push the movement too far.
Yoga Journal had some great insights on releasing the toes:
Of all the new experiences beginning students encounter when they start yoga, moving their toes is arguably the most challenging. After a lifetime of being stuffed into shoes and ignored, their toes feel as inert and dull as the calluses on their heels and elbows. Spreading their toes seems just about as accessible as crossing their ankles behind their heads, and clumsy toes are right up there with tight hamstrings and weak shoulders as a source of frustration for beginners—and for those long past the beginning stage.
This is not my first rodeo with yoga toes. Judy regularly had us practice yoga toes before any balance poses such as tree pose. Makes sense - stretching the toes would increase the surface area of the foot and thus, provide a better platform for balance work. She even had us thread our fingers through our toes to aid in the stretch. Love it!
So by releasing my toes and feet, I was able to let go of many things that are no longer serving me…
Bye, bye Mr. stomach bug,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.