Wednesday Workout: Bare Footin’

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Ever seen an infant stick their toes in their mouth? Later, those same infants are adults who are challenged to bend over and touch their toes, and they certainly would never stick their toes in their mouths even if they could reach them. Ick. These facts are a sad statement on how little we tend to care for our feet once we are adults. Yoga is a Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) word loosely translated to mean “union” or “yoke”. It’s a program of bringing into balance the body, mind, and spirit including the feet. But the bare feet principle is a turn-off for many people who would otherwise glean benefits from yoga if they would only take off their socks and shoes and try it.

There is mythology and science surrounding the practice of yoga in bare feet. It’s the oldest known practice of organized physical exercise dating back to the days when shoes weren’t as popular or as readily accessible as they are today. Maybe just because the originators of yoga didn’t have shoes that’s why it’s still done without them today. Many, many yoga poses require balance, even with both feet on the ground, and it is better with bare feet because the student can equally press down with all parts of the foot thereby increasing stability. Perhaps the reason is balance.

Advancement in yoga calls for attention to the feet in all poses and learning to arch the feet, point the feet, and/or spread the toes is important to succeeding in certain levels of poses. Perhaps shoes get in the way when moving from yoga pose to yoga pose as smoothly as possible. Maybe shoes and socks represent a shroud, a curtain separating the student from a part of the body that is important to every pose, even if the feet are in the air! Is going barefoot in yoga a lesson in awareness of all factors when practicing? Is it just simpler, lighter, and more economical not to require special footwear for this form of exercise? Are there yoga poses where the student is required to grab their toes (eventually!!) Do bare feet send a natural, wholistic message?

All of these factors are important on some level to the need to practice yoga bare footed. It’s been part of the practice for thousands of years but it remains the one thing that’s a deal-breaker for many would be yoga students. “I am not taking off my socks.” So I wait. Sometimes years for some students to remove their socks and practice yoga. If the student practices for a long time with the socks still on, I am quiet, but I don’t change the lesson plan to accomodate their socks. I still insist they grab their toes through their socks for Reclined Head to Big Toe Pose. It isn’t easy with socks on and neither is balancing or holding Warrior I pose because their knees are out of alignment because their feet are slipping because they still have on their socks. But I wait.

And if they continue to attend class, one day, quite without fanfare, they sit on their mat at the start of practice and quietly slip off their socks. They (the socks) are always rolled into a neat little ball and placed right next to the yoga mat…never far away. But once they try a yoga class barefooted one time, they never go back to the dark place of unenlightened feet.


Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 Be well, write well.