One of the things I have found about a regular yoga practice is that it allows you to really be able to feel your feet. Now you might say, “What the heck does that mean? Of course I can feel my feet!” Well, you’d be surprised how disconnected people are to their feet. In any yoga class I teach, there’s always one or two students that despite how many times you suggest “bring your feet together” they just have no sense of how to do that. Now, there may be other things at work here, but the idea is to be able to sense the ground beneath you and to be able to feel your foundation.
I remember when I spoke to a yoga teacher who many years ago, when the Chicago Bulls were at their height and Michael Jordan was on the team, Phil Jackson asked her to teach them yoga once a week. She said just the aspect of being barefoot was foreign to these guys. They were so used to having their feet taped up and stuffed in heavy shoes and then wrapped again, it was at if they lacked any mobility from the ankle down. Once they were on their mats and barefoot, it was an amazing experience for them.
Running requires a sense of being grounded and the ability to step lightly but with consistency. It requires you have a sense of dexterity even when in shoes and often this only comes through developing that sense when you’re not in shoes. Yoga is great for developing this physical intelligence as is walking on the beach or even just doing some exercises for your toes. One of my first private yoga teachers used to have me wear toe spreaders. You can buy them at Whole foods. They will give you wonderful flexiblity in your feet and toes.
One of the reasons I really enjoy running in my Newton Running shoes is they allow you to really feel your feet. They are lighter, so you step lighter. They have less fabric and are more breathable, so your toes can move. They allow you to feel the road beneath you and step with more consistency. I am really enjoying them. So much so, that I wrote to the company. They will be posting my testimonial and my blog URL on their site. I’ll post the link here as soon as it’s available.
Tonight was a five miler. Slow and steady as I have the pleasure of having develop a shin splint on my right shin. No, not my left leg. Just the right! Lovely. I am decreasing to every-other-day running and no, the Newtons have not caused this. It has been brewing for about a week. I am doing a cold treatment as we speak.
Have a great night.