Did you know flip flops are bad for your feet? In my classes I spend a lot of time trying to get students to be aware of their feet and the effect they have on the body.
Have a look at this picture. Some of us supinate The ankle rolling out), some of us pronate (the ankle rolling in), and some of us can do both.
The ideal in most Yoga poses (and when we walk) is to have a neutral ankle with the each ankle bone the same height.
Why? The placement of the foot on the ground is the foundation for our legs, then our hips.
If we have uneven support our hips cannot grip the thigh bone into the hip socket correctly. Then our pelvis is not stabilised. Then our spine has uneven support. So from the ground up, things start to go wrong.
If our knee and hip joints have unstable support they will complain.
When we wear shoes without support it is really hard to keep the ankle neutral. That is why flip flops are bad for your feet!
Shoes like ballet pumps and flip flops also make the wearer tense their toes very slightly every step they take. This can cause the toes to ‘claw’. Sandals are fine, but they need to have an ankle strap of some kind to prevent this.
This tension then runs up the calves and into other muscles. In Iyengar yoga classes we teach specific poses to spread the toes, stretch the calves and strengthen the ankles. Improvements can often be felt immediately.
It is frustrating to see people work on their feet and improve their posture during class, only to shuffle out in badly fitting shoes that exaggerate their problems.
So if you want to see even more improvements in your Yoga practice, please take a look at your shoes!