Whenever you step inside a yoga class, the first thing you do is taking your shoes and socks off before hitting the mat. This is the way yoga teacher training in India is practiced by people across the world and that’s how it was practiced by yogis thousands of years ago. There are several reasons and significance of performing yoga barefoot. Unlike the other forms of exercises or workouts such as running, skipping, jogging or cardio that are performed with shoes on, most of the yoga instructors recommend doing yoga completely barefoot. Barefoot yoga is not just a tradition or relevant yoga dharma but has many advantages associated to it.
Here’s a look at some of the advantages:
Balance and stability
Feet are the crucial part of our body involved while performing any yoga asana. Most of the asanas require us to hold our feet firmly in contact with the ground. It helps in maintaining steadiness and balance of the body while practicing yoga. Absence of required grip can lead to injuries. Shoes not only confine the movement of our feet but also interfere with the correct alignment of the feet. Correct alignment is essential to get the pose right. Improper alignment will result in the wrong posture of body which can cause external or internal injury.
Flow of energy
Yoga is not just about mastering the poses, but an amalgamation of body, soul and, mind with the universe and earth. We often hear about people feeling energized as they remain barefoot for many hours in a day. They feel energized as they absorb the energy from earth. This is one of the significant reasons why yoga leaves us energized while other forms of exercise/ workout leave us exhausted. It becomes a lot easier to balance with barefoot. Also, some yoga asanas require you to grab the toe which is possible only if you are barefoot.
Treats several diseases
The benefits of doing yoga barefoot not just confines to our feet, but also impacts our overall health. It has been observed that barefoot yoga helps in relieving muscle pain, curing insomnia, boosts metabolism, reduces headache and makes your immune system strong. It also helps women with PMS and other menstrual issues. Connecting with earth not only energizes the body but also offers a calming effect.
Barefoot yoga also helps people with knee issues and injuries. Most of the leg issues especially the knee ones happen due to excessive pressure on legs which make it important to strengthen the feet. Barefoot yoga helps with knee issues since the pressure begins from the feet and then elevates to the knees. Varicose veins can also be treated with barefoot yoga.
Strengthening the feet
Doing barefoot yoga not only increases the strength of our feet but also improves the efficiency and movement of feet, legs, and knees. Shoes restrict free movement of the feet preventing them from expanding, stretching, and flexing. The cushioning effect offered by shoes restricts the stability, flexibility, and mobility. Wearing shoes all the time can lead to weaker feet. The feet consist of a wide network of acupuncture points and nerve endings. Barefoot yoga connects various parts, nerve endings and points with the floor.
Massages your feet
When you feel the surface of earth bare feet, the nerve endings in the sole of your feet get stimulates. The nerve endings further send signals to your brain and enable the body to maintain joint position and proper balance. Being barefoot is also said to reduce the inflammation felt in sole. It also provides free reflexology and toe stretching.
Our earth’s surface consists of free electrons. When our bare feet come in contact with earth, they absorb the electrons which react with the free radicals in our body. As a result, the free radicals present in our body are pacified which calms the fire storm in our body. Several studies prove that the electron flow in the body detoxifies our blood.
Considering the amazing benefits of barefoot yoga, no wonder you are planning to hit the yoga mat immediately. However, if you are looking for a more disciplined and in-depth approach to yoga, the yoga teacher training at Dharamsala at Chinmay Yoga is the place for you!