Strengthen your feet and the whole body will benefit!
In a previous blog Being aware of the soles of the feet I was talking about the role that our feet has in a correct body alignment and how this influences our physical health and our body’s energy system. The purpose of exercise presented in this blog is to connect with our feet which are, in Qigong, the basics to start building our energy roots. At the same time the exercise improves feet alignment and consecutively the posture of the whole body.
The importance of strong muscles, ligaments and tendons of the feet
If we want that our feet maintain a correct shape it is necessary that muscles, ligaments and tendons of our feet are strong. Weak feet muscles, ligaments and tendons are often a cause for various feet deformations. When for example a transversal or longitudinal arch of the feet drop, the foundation of our “building”, our body, is damaged and the whole structure starts to decay.
Many excellent Qigong exercises for feet and ankles
In Qigong there are many excellent exercises for developing flexibility and increasing strength of the feet and ankles. In this blog I will present you a really simple exercise which is incredibly effective. I will talk about simple raise up on the toes and then lowering your feet again on the floor while you have to pay attention to a few things.
We have tried effectiveness of this simple exercise
Me and Petar have tested this exercise doing a Qigong set Eight Pieces of Brocade. We practiced Eight Pieces of Brocade every day for about six months. First we have planned a three months training but thrilled with results we have proceeded with the practice. In Eight Pieces of Brocade there is plenty of raising up and lowering down on your toes. In the first exercise there are 24 repetitions and in the last one there are 72 continuous repetitions.
In the description of the following exercise we are focused on the feet. If you are already practicing Eight Pieces of Brocade, the explanation below might help you to improve your practice.
Exercise: Raise up on your toes and then lower your feet to the floor
The benefits of this exercise:
Doing this exercise regularly and correctly you strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons of your feet. In time this also improves feet alignment and body alignment in general. But this is not all. This exercise strengths also tendons and muscles of the legs and pelvic floor. By raising up on the toes we also stimulate six primary energy channels (meridians) which run through the legs and are connected with our internal organs. At the same time the exercise also helps qi to flow more smoothly from the top of the head to the soles of the feet.
How to do the exercise:
- I recommend you to do this exercise without shoes until you really understand and feel the exercise.
- Stand in a shoulder width apart.
- Feet are parallel or slightly inward (the second toe is pointing forward).
- Feet are flat on the floor (be aware of all nine points where your feet should stick with the floor).
- The weight is transmitted from your center of gravity downward to the legs to Yongquan points (K-1) on the feet. (See the picture below.)
- Your knees are slightly bent.
- Raise up on your toes and then go slowly back down.
- When you are rising up on the toes you exhale and when you are going down toward the floor you inhale.
- Each time your feet touch the floor try for a moment feel the connection with all nine points of the soles of the feet. (See the picture below.)
- It is important that after you have finished with repetitions you relax your legs. Stand still for few breaths, breathe slowly and observe the energy flowing downward your legs. After start to swing on your soles of the feet, then few times raise up alternately your legs with knees bent or do a few steps.
Other important notes:
- It is important that during the exercise you are present with your mind. In this way you start to lead the qi into your feet.
- When you go up and down try not to swing your body forward and backward. Try to keep your center.
- At the beginning it is not important how high on your toes you raise up but it is important that you try to stand on ALL five toes. And when you let yourself down try not to lift up some of the toes. When you are capable to do this, you can try to raise higher up on your toes.
- Each time when you let yourself down, flex slightly your knees. In this way your legs will not become tense.
Number of repetitions:
- Start with 10 or 20 repetitions. Gradually increase the number of repetitions.
- Each time you increase the number of repetitions practice them until you feel comfortable (it doesn’t matter how long it takes, only a week or a month…).
- Your final goal is to reach 50-70 repetitions in a row and still feel comfortable.
- Depending on the condition of your feet this could take you a month or even few months of everyday practice.
- When you feel that your feet are stronger go to the next level and try to stay for 2-3 seconds in a raised position and then slowly sink back down.
Compare your feeling in the feet, ankles and legs before and after you have done this exercise.
May the Qi be with You!
Photo: Pixabay, PetarSmiljana Qigong
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