In yoga our goal is to practice from the root to the crown, or in normal speech, from the bottom up. Starting with your very precious yet strong feet. We abuse our feet without even knowing it, I can say this from experience as a professional dancer, marathoner and stiletto afficiando. But what I have learned is that there is nothing more important...second to the breath, in yoga asana practice than the feet with the hands in a close 3rd position.
What is Pada Bandha?
I have to admit, I am not fluent in Sanskrit, which is equivalent to the lost language of Latin. Pada = foot and Bandha = lock (to lock, to close off, to stop). It apart of the energy lock system in yoga.
Have you ever heard of the pelvic floor? Well, in yoga and even Pilates, this can be seen as an internal lock, called Mula = root and Bandha. Basically, it is an awareness you bring to these areas in the body that allows you to get "more" out of your yoga asana and pranayama practices. Your body will naturally engage Mula Bandha when you practice Pada Bandha. It allows the body to balance during those challenging poses in class, such as the Warrior Postures (P.S. I will be breaking down these poses step-by-step on The Love Breezy Bree Podcast, please subscribe). It can be a bit complicated and shouldn't be overwhelming or something to focus on or obtain. It is one of the many reasons why yoga is so fascinating. There are a ton of elements that make up a practice and overtime it begins to click organically.
Back to your feet...
Our feet were made for the Earth's terrain, not tile and carpet, but dirt and worse. They are made up of over 100 moving parts, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments - 28 of those parts are bones and 30 are joints (according to the Arthritis Foundation). They literally hold up our entire body's weight. They are also especially prone to injury and other chronic conditions. Further more, we rarely go barefoot and we are not designed to wear most of the shoes on the market. Trust me I know...see above stiletto reference.
This is THE reason why practicing yoga barefoot is essential to your practice. Not only to connect or re-connect to the Earth <insert your yoga studio's flooring>, it allows us to spread our toes, flex our toes and massage our feet.
Ultimately, your practice of yoga may be your only chance to reconnect to your Pada Bandha and include your feet into your practice on and off the mat.
I recently published a podcast episode all about this in greater detail, it is a quick episode but offers some cool tips on how to do yoga for your feet. Check it out on The Love Breezy Bree Yoga Podcast available on Spotify, Stitcher and your favorite media outlet. I hope you start doing more yoga for your feet! Namaste!
CLICK HERE ----> YOGA TIP: YOGA FEET - PADA BANDHA