I've decided to start a theme of the month! And yes, I know we are more than half way through November...
There are a lot of words we come across in yoga. Love, compassion, community, strength, balance, flexibility, the list goes on (and on and on!)... I hear some of these words so often they begin to lose their meaning. The word gratitude is so ubiquitous I can barely even say it anymore! This is why, despite gratitude being a somewhat obvious theme for November, it is not the theme this month. And it probably won't be a theme for awhile...
Because these words so often begin to lose their meaning, I enjoy looking up the origin of the word. This allows me to get back to the basics and to clear my mind of any other meanings I've attached to the word. Also, etymology is cool!
I asked a friend to give me a theme this week and the first thing she thought of was support. I love it because I wouldn't have thought of it and because it's actually a pretty obvious theme for a yoga class! The word support comes from the Latin words sub, meaning "from below," and portare, meaning "carry." Some of the definitions, according to Google, are: "to bear all or part of the weight of; hold up," "give a approval, comfort, or encouragement to," and my favorite "endure, tolerate."
Focusing on the first definition, I immediately start to think of my feet. You know, the part of the body that bears all of our weight! I love giving the feet extra attention in yoga class, especially the toes. We shove our feet into shoes all day long and often don't show them any love. I personally really enjoy kicking off my shoes when I get home and wiggling my toes around, so here are a few nice stretches and poses you can do awaken and stretch the feet. Your support needs support too!
1. Lace your fingers through your toes in your paschimottanasana, or seated forward fold.
2. Before your start your sun salutations, awaken your feet by using a block like so.
3. Do varjasana, or diamond pose, with toes tucked
4. Be aware of toe clenching! If you scrunch your toes or dig them into the ground in standing poses, try to root down through your heel and wiggle the toes to release the tension.
5. Give yourself a mini foot massage. As an Ayurvedic Health Educator, I highly recommend oiling the whole body (read more about abhyanga here), but applying oil to your feet and giving yourself a little massage is a great way to show your feet some love!