Four Corners of Your Foot



#CueTheCues, number 3

One of the many reasons yoga makes sense to me… it’s practiced barefoot. This former desert rat spent her youth barefoot in the Arizona sands. My childhood defiance of shoes gifted me with some significant grounding or earthing benefits as it turns out. Earthing (standing on the Earth barefoot) appears to reduce chronic inflammation through the transfer of negatively-charged electrons from the surface of the Earth into the body where they neutralize the positively-charged destructive free radicals involved in chronic inflammation. Who knew? More vitality, health, and healing from this thing called yoga.

So when a teacher instructs you to “Ground down into the four corners of your feet (or foot)” he or she could really be helping you fight free radicals. And just in case you never saw your feet as having corners (neither did I), this Cue the Cues episode is here to help clarify this cue heard in yoga classes.

Getting your feet situated is the foundation of all standing poses. So let’s look at your foot in terms of this cue. From the bottom of your foot, you have the heel portion and the ball of the foot, or the mound just below the toes. The four corners of the feet are:

  1. the outer ball of the foot, just below the pinkie toe
  2. the inner ball of the foot, just below the big toe
  3. the outer heel
  4. the inner heel

In all of the standing postures you want to get grounded through these four corners and distribute your weight evenly across the four points. This gives you a very strong, stable foundation to work from, as most of the standing postures require some degree of balance and coordination.

Related Article: Yoga is Good for Your Sole

In order to feel and work with the four corners of the feet, stand in Mountain Pose with your feet hip distance apart and your feet parallel. Lift your toes and spread your toes, while you note how your arches lift. Press down through the inner ball of the foot, just below the big toe. Lengthen back through the inner edge of the foot and press down through the inner heel. Press down through the outer heel. And finally press down through the outer ball of the foot as you lower your toes from your pinkie toe down to your big toe. As you lower the toes gently press the pads of the toes (the part below the nails) down into the floor as you keep the toes spread. Your arches will still be lifting. Notice the quality of your attention as well as how grounded, centered and present you feel just from attending to your feet this way.

Many professions require people to be on their feet. Especially dancers. So I sought the help of Consuming Kinetics Dance Company for demonstrating this cue for us. May you enjoy this fun clip of these dancers and their gifted feet.

Thank you Consuming Kinetics Dance Company for your space and for modeling for YoGoGirls. Thank you Arica Brown for all you do for St. Louis.

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