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Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

Photo by K Vernon

Feet are a big deal. They help us stand, walk, climb and dance. They keep us steady and balanced. They help us reach for something beyond our grasp. They are the solid foundations for so many Yoga postures. Heck, they even help us pick socks up off the floor! But how often do we really pay them any mind? Unless they’re giving us grief, do we consider looking after them as diligently as we do, say, our backs or our hair styles?

When was the last time you actively stretched your toes? I mean stretched them in order to maintain their suppleness and ability to spread wide? I have the great honour of working with people who have matured in years. It means I get to see firsthand what happens when we ignore our feet and our toes over long periods of time.

~ bunions ~ hammer toes ~ plantar faciitis ~ pronation ~flat feet ~ decreased balance ~ diminished circulation ~ toe adhesions ~ PAIN

The list goes on.

There is so much we can do to take care of our feet – pedicures; chiropodists; foot massage.

Have you considered toe spacers to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the feet supple and flexible?

Photo by K Vernon

Toe spacers come in various shapes, sizes and compositions. The ones above happen to be made of silicone. They’re my personal favourites because they’re easy to keep clean. These were purchased at a life-assisting devices store; ie, the place where they sell walkers, ice packs, canes…..and toe spacers. They may also be purchased at pharmacies or online. According to my student, however, they don’t seem to be easy to find at this time of writing. If that is the case, foam pedicure spacers can work, or anything that fits easily between your toes – like your fingers. No kidding. If your toes have very little space between them, start with the smallest knuckle. You can progress down your fingers as your flexibility improves. Thread your fingers between your toes and voila! Instant space. You can keep whatever spacer you’re using in place for as long as is comfortable, but please stop if there’s any pain. As a frame of reference, I keep mine in for about 10 minutes. Ideally, work with them every day, or as often as you can.

Over time you may notice an increase in flexilibility and toe mobility, improved balance due to a broader foot base, decreased pain, and the prevention of further bunion development. Plus, it feels pretty nice. 🙂

Consider looking after your foundation, your feet and toes, so it can look after you for many years to come.

Yours in space(rs),

Tabitha

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Photo by D Barnes-Boniface

As a Yoga teacher, one of the questions I get asked the most is, “How did you get into this?” When I hear that question, I smile, I take a deep breath…

AND I LIE.

I start to tell the story how, when I was in my 20s, my neck went out. In search of relief, I found a Yoga video and VOILA, here I am today. It’s not entirely a lie. It is the truth in that it really happened. But it is not “how I got into this”. More accurately, it is not why I am here. What I conveniently forget to mention every time is the mysterious-looking purple and pink book that still sits on my shelf that talks of Kundalini Yoga. That book, more than any neck spasm, is what catapulted me into this vast Yogic world. That book, when I first laid eyes on it, sent shivers down my spine (or up my spine if we are to speak of Kundalini). Even today as I write about it, it takes my breath away. I had to touch that book. I had to hold it. And when I cracked the spine on it, I began to cry. All very mysterious for a woman who had grown up in a Catholic household.

Within the pages of the book were photos of a man dressed all in white, contorting himself in the strangest ways. There were odd (to me) poems speaking of the powers of the postures. Certain breathing patterns, chants and lifestyle habits, when put into play consistently, could bring about a spiritual awakening and transform a life. It was the word “spiritual” that ignited a spark deep inside of me.

HERE IS THE TRUTH

I came to Yoga to find God.

I did not honestly arrive at the mat to become limber or to fix my crooked neck. Those were glorious byproducts of what I was genuinely seeking. What I really wanted was a way out of the icky, dark experiences I was having as a human, and a way back to the experiences I had had since I was a child, experiences where I knew, unmistakably, that something larger than the everyday had just taken place. And please don’t think those moments involved parting clouds, angels singing, and ethereal symphonies. No. They were split second moments in time as I peered into the eyes of an animal or really saw the vulnerable insides of a flower. Those moments sparked, and re-sparked, a longing that I could not describe. I still can’t. And the longing is still there. I feel every day like I’m reaching out for something that is just beyond my grasp. Whatever it is, I know in my heart of hearts, that it is there and it is possible to touch. No one and nothing can convince me otherwise.

Stepping onto the mat, I feel closest to this “thing” for which I ache. I return again and again and again so that I may feel that closeness. I want to feel that closeness every…single…day. That is what truly sustains my practice.

So, I came to Yoga looking for God. And it all began with a purple and pink book. There, finally, is the truth.

Namaste.

Tabitha

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My teacher, Ante, would speak a lot about “the drip effect”, about how one drop of water falling on stone consistently, and over time, will completely transform that stone; ie, it will bore a hole right through. That is how we see the impact of consistent practice. So often I hear, “I go to Yoga once a week but nothing happens.” Indeed. Just like doing one bicep curl a week will do nothing to change the shape and functionality of the arm.

Transformation occurs when we come to steady, consistent practice. Very few want to hear this but it’s true. Better to do 15 or 20 minutes of something most days of the week than to power through 75 minutes only once. That 15 or 20 minutes, or even 20 minutes split into two 10 minute practices, will act as the drop of water that, over time, has the potential to change everything.

Desikachar writes,

There will always be a tendency to start practice with enthusiasm and energy, and a desire for sudden results. But the continuing pressures of everyday life and the enormous resistance of the mind encourages us to succumb to human weaknesses. All this is understandable, we all have these tendencies. (Yoga Sutra 1.14) emphasizes the need to approach practice soberly with a positive, self-disciplined attitude and with a long-term view toward eventual success.

Success, however you define it, is possible. My hope is that you allow the “drip” of the practice into your life. May you be transformed in ways you never thought possible. May potential you never even knew you had come to the surface and manifest in this world.

And if you need some support getting there, I am always here. Please feel free to touch base through the Contact page.

Wishing you all the best in Life and Practice,

Tabitha

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