I just started a course called Feetness. It’s an online course created by a Romana certified instructor in NYC. It’s incredibly thorough yet really easy to navigate and apply. I’ve only completed 1/3 of the program but I’ve been doing the exercises regularly and amazed at the results. My favorite stretch is placing one finger between each toe so that your clasping one hand to one foot and then use your hand to stretch your toes back and forth. Really pull and press. At first I couldn’t wedge a finger in between my 3rd and 4th toe or my 4th toe and pinky. Which tells me I pretty much just walk around on that one little part of my foot all day. Poor foot.
Not only do the stretches feel good and relax my whole body but I’m also experiencing a shift in awareness when I do Pilates. If stretch my feet before I do Pilates it’s a completely different experience. My seat kicks on right away, my quads don’t blow up, and my low back is grounded. Wow, just from spending about 2 minutes on my feet.
Pilates is a full body workout and the feet are a part of every exercise. I am always aware of my feet and I keep an eye on them and try to make them look the way they are supposed to; but since the program I’m feeling my feet. When I pull my toes Up and Back I’m feeling the reach through my heels all the way from my seat, instead of just a shin knife. I’m also feeling my arches and feeling that I’m able to pull them up to my stomach. Crazy.
The apparatus do so much to help us stretch our feet and connect our feet to our bodies. The foot corrector, toe corrector, and 2x4 are invaluable. But what I’m realizing is that I was making my foot tightness worse with some of these things. User Error, big time. I’m a hard worker by nature and when it comes to exercise I’m no different. I would work, work, work, and push, push, push. I would end up tightening my feet as a result. It’s pretty much impossible to mess up a manual stretch, however. Now when I go to use the foot corrector, toe stretcher, or 2x4 I can now differentiate when I’m working from tension because I’m more connected. I can back off and work a little less but get more results.
And, a nice side benefit is that my feet look much nicer. Plump feet are way prettier than flat feet.
Before teaching or taking a class of any kind, try doing the above mentioned stretch. Worth it.