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Beyond Flip Flops: Feet and Fertility

 by Beth Heller, MS RYT

Chicago has had an amazing winter and a very early spring.  This past week has found us meditating on flip-flops…in March!

 While it’s super fun to slip on a pair of summery wedges and paint our toenails pink, open toed shoes and flip-flops aren’t the only reason to pay attention to our piggies.  When it comes to the holistic view of fertility  feet occupy a place of honor.  If you’ve ever had fertility acupuncture you know that many of the points that support the reproductive system are located in the feet and ankles.  Reflexologists assert that the feet literally provide a map of the body and that we can use foot manipulation to impact different physical organs.  Yoga, too, teaches that healthy feet are important for better menstrual function, dispelling toxins and improving immunity.

So what’s so special about our feet?  In yoga, the feet are seen as the foundation of our being that is connected with the earth.  The most basic of yoga poses, mountain pose, challenges us to simply stand and find balance from our feet to the top of our head.  If we close our eyes in mountain pose, we can visualize the outlines of our feet on our yoga mat…literally our footprint in the world.  One of the strangest things for the new yoga practitioner is exercising in bare feet rather than sneakers.   Postures are practiced barefoot to maximize our awareness of our feet.  Yoga postures also stretch and stimulate different points on the feet that are associated with different organ systems in the body.

Symbolically, the challenges of fertility lead us away from our feet into our head as we spin our mental wheels searching for the silver bullet that will blast us past “trying” time into mommy time.  Our feet, particularly when we practice yoga asana, bring us home from our imaginings and projections to the here and now.

On an energetic level, the feet are associated with our first chakra.  Chakras are energy wheels located along our spine and each chakra is associated with both physiological functions and spiritual life-lessons.  On a psycho-spiritual level the first chakra is associated with security, trust and our sense of belonging.  Physically, the first chakra governs our immune system, gut health and lower back.  The feet are also very important for the flow of apana energy, the energy current in our body that moves downward from the pelvis to the soles of the feet, governs the menstrual cycle and the ability for our body to dispel toxins.

So, be kind to your feet.   Try not to cram them into uncomfortable shoes and make sure they  are frequently touched or nurtured.   Here are some tips for fertility-friendly feet:

  1.  Shake hands with your feet once a day.  To do this, take your fingers and thread them between your toes (pinky finger between pinky and second toe, ring finger between second and middle toe, etc.).  Once your fingers are threaded, gently squeeze and massage the ball of the foot.   Repeat on the other side.
  2. Keep your feet warm.  Cold feet mean decreased circulation.  With summer coming we face “air conditioner freeze syndrome.”  Keep a pair of fuzzy socks in your bag or desk for the days when you feel like you work in a refrigerator!
  3. Experiment with reflexology, the science of foot massage.  Either see a professional reflexologist or try out “reflexology socks,” that actually outline the different areas of the foot and their associated organ system.
  4. Try yoga.  If you’re a runner or walker, your feet may need a good stretch.  Time spent in yoga class in bare feet can help feet become more flexible and improve circulation to these important fertility “organs.”   Click here to view our upcoming Yoga for Fertility schedule for DC Metro and Chicagoland.