If you’ve ever done a classical reformer workout you know you start with footwork. Usually Pilates V, Bird on a Perch, Heels, and Lower Lift. The different foot positions help open your feet, create flexibility, and even prepare you for more difficult exercises. But we can end up doing footwork using our larger more developed muscles and leave the smaller muscle groups behind and weak.
Each foot position can be found in another exercise throughout your workout whether it’s mat, reformer, chair, tower, etc. Pilates V is often used with the chair when doing Standing Push Down Front or Upside Down Push Up. You can use Bird on a Perch during horseback or Rowing #4 to connect you into your center and lower belly muscles. The Heels position is flexed ankles which you’ll find in Rowing #4 or Roll Up on the mat and Swan on the long box and ladder barrel.
How often do you take care of your feet? As in massage, move, appreciate? Think about how often your feet are confined to shoes and what type of shoes: steel toe, tennis shoe, flats with no arch support, four inch high heels. Having worked in an office I was accustomed to flats or high heels. They look great but they don’t help your feet or your muscles or your back. Before that I was a dancer and wore pointe shoes, thankfully for just a year or two and those squish your toes into a tiny box.
Have you ever had a foot massage? Did you know there are 26 bones in your feet? The massage feels amazing and not just for your feet. Massaging your feet can help increase flexibility in your shoulders and hips and back. Building the connection between your feet and your center will help strengthen your Pilates exercises. One foot position can give you a different feeling than another one and it’ll be different from person to person because of our bodies.
A lot of the Pilates exercises feel like a spinal or stomach massage for the body. Why not massage your feet as well? The next opportunity you have to walk outside in the grass do it barefoot or take a walk along the beach and on the broken sea shells. At first you might scrunch your toes or avoid but your feet will thank for it and you’ll strengthen the connections within your body.