There are days when I don’t do a vigorous asana practice. I might have a full teaching schedule, might be menstruating, I might feel kind of sore, or just might not able to convince myself to strong work that day (we might just call that one a lazy day, probably?)
Still, on these days I like to get onto the mat and connect and feel that I am doing something for myself. These are the perfect days for a foot massage.
Done in the morning, vigorously rubbing the soles of the feet, thus stimulating all the nerves, a bit like in Reflexology, it can be refreshing and awakening.
If done at night, with gentle, slow strokes and calming fragrant oil, it can be very soothing and relaxing, just before bedtime is a great time to do that.
I feel that massaging my own feet is a generous gesture of acceptance, nurturing and self-care, I feel that it is much needed, especially on these low-days.
I would make sure that the room is warm enough, sit down on my mat and start at my right big toe. Of course this can be done sitting on a chair, a couch or anywhere else.
I like to begin with the big toe and working towards the little toe, taking each toe individually, rolling the toe between thumb and forefinger, gently squeezing the end of each toe, wriggling, bending back and forth, circling, any movement that I can think of and that feels good.
I am then working up each single toe, top and sole of the foot, Kneading the sole by holding the foot with one hand and making a fist with the other, using quite some pressure into the sole and the instep. I continue stroking on the top of the foot along the lines/ridges of tendons that run along the foot from toes to mid-foot.
Holding the foot with one hand, using the other hand to rotate the limp, passive foot, first at the ankle, and then near the ball of the foot, gently. I repeat a few times in each direction. Then I do the other foot.
Is this really part of my yoga practice? Yes, to me yoga is more than downward facing dog. Anything that is done with great care, in an attempt to heal body, mind and spirit, aiming to connect to god, to the world around me and to my true deep self, I call that yoga.